If you’ve ever suffered from neck or back pain, then you know how quickly it can stop you in your footsteps. Normal activities that you take for granted, like getting in and out of a car, take careful execution. Sports or any form of exercise are out of question.
That’s what I found this past summer when an unattended shoulder injury progressed into moderate to severe back pain and muscle spasms. Rest and alternating ice & heat provided only temporary relief. To sleep I could ease pain by propping a pillow under the knees, but I needed to fix the issue.
These natural and alternative therapies helped release my pain, and I would recommend for anyone to try at the earliest signs of unbalance.
YOGA – Take it slow and be mindful of connecting breath with movement. I like these six yoga poses which address tightness in the back and shoulders:
Forward Bend. This feels delicious first thing in the morning, but also mid-day if you’ve been sitting for a while at a desk or in the car. Let your head hang and your spine lengthen as you relax into the pose.
Downward Dog. This fires up your shoulders. Take care to practice good alignment and breathe into the pose.
Cat-Cow. Move slowly between the opposing positions; feel the full stretch from your tailbone to the base of your skull.
Child’s Pose. Actively reach your hands forward while resting your forehead on the ground and sink in.
Bridge. Let gravity do the work to release tension in your shoulders. Try turning your head slowly from side to side for an extra stretch.
Supine Twist. A nice full body stretch to wring out the kinks before resting in Savasana.
Chiropractic Adjustment— I admit to being nervous at first. I never did like the sound of cracking knuckles, but when you are in pain you are willing to try anything. I learned that the sound you hear during an adjustment is not your bone “snapping into place”. It is the sound gas releasing from the joint capsule, releasing stiffness and inflammation in your joint. Movement is key in restoring health, and I saw improvement every week. Find a trusted professional for a consultation.
Myofascial Massage & Essential Oils – This style of massage is a manual therapy that focuses on the tough membranes and connective tissue by applying pressure on trigger points to release tension and pain. It can feel intense if you are knotted, but the pressure targets pain effectively and provides relief. Blending an essential oil (EO) with a carrier (seed) oil for massage can add aromatherapy and medicinal benefits. My top three EO picks for rheumatism, muscular aches, muscle spasms and inflammation are: Eucalyptus Radiata, Copaiba (Copaifera officinalis), and Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides).
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. ~ Aristotle