Hi and welcome back! Last week we began working on some exercises for cervicogenic headache or upper, particularly tension, headache coming from the upper neck.
So last week we focused on two very, very small basic movements with very little motion included. They were mostly isometric relaxation exercises.
So today what we’re going to do is, we’re going to now start moving a little bit more. We’re going to again be focused on the upper cervical spine and for this series, you’re going to need a handy towel. Doesn’t have to be anything complicated.
For our very first exercise, we’re going to take the towel, roll it up. I’m going to hold it in my left hand and loop it around my neck.
All right. So now my left hand is going to be pulling the towel down. So again, my left hand is pulling the towel down. My other hand is going to bring the towel around my neck, aiming to get it up toward the skull.
All right, now from here what we’re going to do. We’re going to get nice and tall and we’re going to begin turning to the left.
So my right hand is pulling to the left and then pulling the towel across my face. I’ll do that again, pull down with this, the left hand, pull the right hand across the face as you rotate. Now we’re going to do that again.
The change is going to be that as I pull down with the left and rotate to the left. I’m now going to pull the towel up across the face. And as I pull the towel up, as I rotate, you’re going to feel a little mobilization higher up in the neck closer to the skull.
So you’re going to repeat that on both sides. And notice how that affects your range of motion. This has been around for a long time from Mulligan technique.
So, it’s been proven in a couple of studies to do a really, really good job for the upper cervical spine. So then we would just switch it to the opposite side where I’m again, pulling down. This time I would be rotating, right, using the towel to help me make that movement occur.
Again going nice and slow. Just making sure that you’re keeping this as gentle as you need to.
And then after you’ve done some horizontal pulls, we’re now going to pull up once again,
trying to get into that upper cervical spine. Now, once you’ve done that and you’ve checked your neck, we’re going to go to a slightly more intense version.
For this you’re just going to roll the towel up into a little ball. For this, you’re going to set it on your shoulder and press it into your neck. Because what we want to now create is a tilt.
So I’m going to take my left ear. I’m going to relax toward my left shoulder. And now I’m going to gently turn my head to the right. And you can see that I’m doing a very small movement. I’m looking up. Turning to the right.
What’s happening here is there’s a locking mechanism in the neck so that when I tilt my neck and then rotate the opposite direction it directs the movement into the upper cervical spine. So, again, make the ball, tilt over it, slight rotation. You can hold for that little bit of stretch and relax.
Look up, rotate and relax, and then you would switch it to the opposite side and repeat.
Once again, three to five seconds. Three to five reps on each side. Go back. Retest your range of motion. It should make your neck feel fantastic.