Hello friends! As many of you know if you read my story, I have a history of cervical spine surgery, which is great when it solves the problem at hand; BUT, long term can leave you with overly tight neck and upper back muscles IF you don’t get on a daily stretching routine.
These EVIL neck muscles can give me a migraine in a hot minute if I do NOT keep them under control. So I have compiled my TOP 5 stretches that I do to try to keep these muscles under control. I spent MANY years in physical therapy, so some of the stretches come from that, others are from Yoga (my other FAVORITE way to stretch).
- Foam Roller- If you have back/neck issues, foam rollers are a great way to work out the knots and kinks that can happen on a daily basis. My favorite foam roller is this one, it’s the one I purchased while I was doing Physical Therapy after my first cervical spine surgery several years ago (it is also linked in my favorite products list on my IG profile). It was purchased on the recommendation of my PT. I really like this because it allows me to work different areas of my body not just my upper back, neck area. To actually perform the stretches on the foam roller, I found this great video, that shows several different ways you can stretch your upper back if you get the pesky cervogenic migraine like I do.
- Cat/Cow yoga pose- After three cervical spine surgeries, yoga has become my best friend! This simple pose is something I can do while my son plays or any time during the day that I begin feeling super tight and achy in my upper back and neck. I discovered Yoga with Adriene when I had to completely change my exercise routine after all my surgeries. She’s AMAZING. Here is Adriene showing this pose. She has LOTS of other great stuff on her Youtube channel, you should definitely check her out!
- Neck stretches- my PT showed me similar stretches and I can do theses ANYWHERE I start to feel the pain climbing. Here is a great video.
- Countertop stretch for upper back- This stretch is WONDERFUL for when the pain train has left the station and you are REALLY feeling those muscles starting to clamp down and induce a migraine. I do this EVERYDAY. The image I found the woman is using a chair, but I was taught using a countertop, basically any surface you can use to do this stretch, as long as it is sturdy!
- Yoga for Neck and Shoulders- Again, my girl Yoga with Adriene has a great flow series that feels amazing when you start to feel really tight.
When my neck is REALLY bad, I also have found using a topical cream such as salonpas or a Hemp derived CBD lotion like Lord Jones.
If you have any questions please send them my way! I hope this helps!