Nov. 29, 2017

A pain in the neck

How to support a healthy neck and reduce headaches

Do you get headaches? A sore neck? Achy back?

Many of our physical aches and pains are a result of the habitual ways we move. 

What's your head doing right now as you read this? 

  • Are you sitting at a desk looking at the screen with your head forward from your body? 
  • Do you walk through the world with your chin slightly up? 

Sometimes it takes a little bit of awareness and adjustment throughout the day to keep your neck happy and headache free.

Your Neck

Your neck has a vitally important job to do. It needs to hold up your beautiful head which holds those beautiful brains of yours. davinci neck

But there are only seven vertebrae to do this job, and they need to be aligned so that they can support you. Most of us tend to hold our head forward from the shoulders and the rest of the spine. This means we end up compressing the vertebrae and engaging muscles in the neck to help hold the head up against gravity. 

What does this mean for your neck and headaches?

When the neck is out of alignment then the information system from your brain to your body- your nervous system, can't do its job. This can lead to poor circulation, headaches, brain fog, sleep apnea, jaw tension and tight shoulders.

Check out this before and after example of an aligned neck:  

Forward head posture. Notice how her head is more in front of her shoulders - Brain fog, headaches, neck pain

Aligned neck and head posture. Notice how her chin is slightly tucked- More circulation, less tension, better moods!

In the first picture, this is her "relaxed" position. Notice how her ears are forward from her shoulders. Also notice on her neck below the hairline, there is a crinkle in her skin.

Look at how much happier her neck looks when it is aligned. Now try to imagine breathing and eating with the neck alignment in the first photo compared to the second. Which position will receive the most oxygen and nutrients?!

How to align your head and neck:

1. Without lifting your chin, slide your head back so that the ears stack over your shoulder.

2. Lengthen from the very base of your skull and top of your neck as if someone tied a string there and was gently pulling upwards.

The benefits of such a simple movement are huge. Try it right now as you are reading this. Try it when you drive, watch TV, work at your desk, talk on the phone. Uncover your habitual head position and remind yourself as often as you can to realign. Don't wait for pain in the neck or headache to remind you to align your head!

Yoga for your neck

We've got classes to reduce tension in your neck and shoulders in our online studio

Brea Johnson
Brea Johnson

Brea Johnson has been teaching yoga and movement since 2003 and is the founder and lead teacher of Heart + Bones Yoga. With a focus on a functional and sustainable approach to yoga, Brea is known for providing a safe foundation of healthy movement while remaining focused on the heart of the yogic teachings.