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How to relieve Neck Pain, Headaches and Shoulder Pain


Hi everybody, Dr. Cobb back with you this
week. Today we’re going to talk about tension and relaxation. Now one of the things we discuss
a lot in Z-Health is this idea of mapping. That we have our eyes, our inner ear and our
body, and they’re all sending signals to the brain, and the brain has tons of different
maps of itself that live within it. One of the things that we try to discuss with regularity
is that the clearer your maps, the better your movement. Now in traditional R-Phase which is the beginning
steps of the system, we spend a lot of time on movement. Can you control your shoulder
blade, can you control your elbows, can you control your wrists, so we talk about movement
mapping. Movement, if we subdivide it down, is a complex
interplay between tension and relaxation. Which means that I need to be able to get
tense, I also need to be able to relax. This also plays a big role in strength and sports
performance. Pavel Tsatsouline probably of Russian Kettle
Bell fame, and now a company called Strong First, a brilliant teacher, is really popular
right now in teaching this idea that tension is strength. We always tell people, “Hey you
want to be strong, you need to learn how to contract stuff hard,” but the converse side
of that is if you want to be comfortable, you also need to learn to relax it well. We talk a lot about this idea of having great
tension maps and great relaxation maps, because those play a big role in the movement mapping. What we’re going to do today is an exploration
of one muscle in the body, we’re going to tense it hard and we’re going to relax it
hard. Now please go carefully. The one that we’re going to choose is one that usually
has big complaints associated with it. It’s the upper trapezius muscles. The upper
trapezius is this s big muscle that lays on top of your shoulder, it’s involved in a lot
of different things, particularly controlling your shoulder blade and your head and neck,
and when you grab someone shoulders after they’ve been at work for 8 hours, and you’re
rubbing, and it’s like, “Ah it feels like a brick wall,” it’s usually tension in the
upper trapezius. Which means that they probably are unable
to relax it. The way that we look at this is, even if I have an area that’s really tight,
I probably can’t contract it well, because if I could contract it well, I could also
relax it well. What we do is we take each muscle that we
find like that, and we explore all the movements that that muscle contributes to. The upper
trap, the upper trapezius, does a number of different things. What we’re going to work
on fast is contracting it gently. Please listen, gently, because otherwise it
may cramp and you may send me hate mail, and I don’t like getting that, so we’re going
to do it gently. Then we’re going to do the reverse of the contraction, to put it under
a light stretch. Notice again the word in there, a light stretch.
I want you to go gently with these. Upper trap does these things, and you’re going to
follow along with me. Get in a comfortable position, and you’re going to start by elevating
your shoulder blade. Lift your shoulder blade up. Now pull your
shoulder blade backwards. So far, shoulder blade up, shoulder blade back. Now you’re
probably feeling some tension in here. Now we’re going to add the head and neck into
it. For the head and neck we’re going to tilt the head backwards. We’re going to pull our
ear toward that shoulder, and then we’re going to turn our head away. If we then bring all that together, for 2
seconds that is a full contraction of the upper trapezius. Now like I said, you may
have actually started to get some cramping. If you did, you’re going too hard, so you
need to just relax. We’re going to do that one more time, we’re going to switch sides. Usually the way that I train people in this
is, you do 2 seconds of contraction, and then you reverse each of the movements. That’s
what we’re going to do on this side to get the stretch. Once again, for the contraction we’re going
to raise the shoulder blade, we’re going to pull the shoulder blade back and we’re going
to hold that position. We’re then going to tilt our head and neck back. We’re going to
tilt our ear toward that shoulder and rotate our head away. We’re going to bring it all together for 1001,
1002, relax. From here, we’re going to reverse it. I’m going to turn my head toward that
shoulder, tilt my head away from that shoulder, pull my shoulder blade down, pull my shoulder
blade forward, and bend my head forward. Once I’m in this position, I’m going to give 5
little pulses and relax. All right? Now if you compare the 2 sides, you did tension
on one side, and you did tension and relaxation on the other side. They should be noticeably
different. What we’re going to do is we’re going to go
over here and take care of the poor neglected one, but we’re going to do the same process
again. Just because I want you to know this one. We’re going to start with the tension,
we’re going to lift the shoulder blade up, we’re going to pull it back. We’re going to
tilt our head back, tilt our ear toward that side, turn our head away, bring it together
for 2 seconds, 1001, 1002, release the tension. Now we reverse it. We turn our head toward
that side. Tilt our head away. Pull the shoulder blade down, bring the shoulder blade forward,
and bend our head forward. Pulse. One, two, three, four, five. Come back up, and if you’ve
done this correctly, what probably you noticed immediately is that your shoulders went, “Whoosh.” They dropped down and started to relax. This
is again an example of how specific your nervous system is. When we talk about movement mapping;
movement again is composed of tension and relaxation, and there is a tremendous amount
to be learned by developing this body awareness of what each muscle does. If you like this and you respond really well
to it, please let me know. I will tell you, I have seen many, many shoulder problems corrected
simply from this one exercise. I have seen a lot of neck problems correct just from this
one exercise. I have seen lots of office workers go, “This
one thing made all the difference in my headaches at the end of the day.” What I encourage you
to do, like I said, is start off with 2 seconds of contraction, and then 5 little pulses of
relaxation. Try and do that 3 to 4 times each day. Over
time, you’ll be able to contract harder when you’re in the tension position, and you’ll
also be able to relax a little bit more deeply into that mobilized position or relaxation
position over time. Go carefully, don’t hurt yourself. If you
find this useful, please again send me an email, let me know. That’s one muscle out
of about 700 in the body, so if you like this, we can do it more, but you have to tell me
that you enjoy it. All right guys, thanks. Have a great week.

57 thoughts on “How to relieve Neck Pain, Headaches and Shoulder Pain

  1. Holy wow! This was amazing! I have had a lot of tension in shoulders my entire life, and as I get older it has started to ache from time to time. This is especially true when sitting at my desk for long hours. I did this simple stretch from my chair, and the difference was immediately noticeable! Thank you so much for sharing! I will cherish this tip forever.  Please share more!

  2. I tried this exercise for the past 2-3 days and I love it! By the way, I am doing also some small eyes exercises that you've suggested and the 4 times a day timer reminder. Those things work wonderfully well for me! Thank you!

    Would you mind sharing what I can do for the muscles of the calfs? Additionally, about the knees and legs in general. The thing is that I switch to working standing in front of my computer and not sitting on a chair anymore. For the past 5-6 months I am doing this, but my legs hurts sometimes if I forget to take breaks and relax. I am also kind of scared if I get varicose veins in future. Overall I feel better and I think it is better for my back, posture, mind state, sleep better and it is affecting my life in a positive way. Would you mind sharing your best thoughts on what can I do to relax my legs and muscle, and also about the topic of working standing up and sitting on a chair? Big appreciations!

  3. An aha moment! live with chronic neck and shoulder pain (early trauma to neck and back). Thank you – it feels immensely better after this simple exercise.

  4. Doc, I need More More More!!!! Wrists, pelvis, ankles, trunk, knees! Mobilizing shoulder blades!

  5. My upper traps and neck are always super tight, and I feel like I need to get them relaxed. Unfortuanetly, I didn't feel the stretch in my traps when I did this, instead I really felt it in my neck. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong? I really focused on raising the shoulder blade and pulling it back, but didn't get the same relief and/or feeling of relaxation you are mentioning. Should I just keep at it?

  6. My shoulders are a mess with arthritis, torn rotator. I'm going to do this daily and see how it works. I sure would like to get more mobility back so I'm praying this can help. 🙂

  7. This is amazing – I'm dealing with a neck issue that radiates into my arm and am very jaded by the care I've received through PT – including hurting myself more! MORE PLEASE! Been doing this for a few days and feel better!

  8. Plz help my neck hurts like crazy and it kinda hearts when I stretch u have any recommendations for me plz

  9. good job. I have a shoulder stability problem and now causing me neck problems. had a tight neck for a good week. 1st go at this didn't notice any difference. after a few goes the tightness in my upper back on turning my head to the right completely went ! I will at this to my exercise session now!!

  10. Thank you! My traps are super sore from a concert over the weekend. I tried this stretch and immediately noticed some relief. Thank you for taking the time to make this video.

  11. Hi i did this exercise it give me some cramps. It's very nice exercise.
    I hve shoulders pain,neck pain & very chronic hands pain for last 4 years plz plz help me.
    Plz suggest some exercise.
    Thanku so much

  12. thank god for you and this vid. I had serious strain with these muscles and this helped. I will continue doing it daily and let u know how it's been after a month. thank you !

  13. No wonder I got this pain and thanks doc, these magically worked Z for Zeena got fixed due to these exercises lol. I had such a major upper catch (on neck/shoulder) due to wrong sleeping position I was in burning pain. This was truly amazing. thanks heaps.

  14. I have extremely tight traps and have been through a ton of massage and physical therapy to include trigger point injections. It is extremely difficult for me to find a stretch for my traps that really has lasting effect. I followed this video and felt each shoulder drop immediately. This is gold to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  15. Do you think this would help me? I have a narrowed cervical spine and I have had constant headaches for 13 weeks

  16. I suffer from migraines and severe tension in my neck and shoulders. It's currently stuck and I've tried everything but all the stretches I know are making it worse. I've just tried this once and I can feel an immediate difference and relief. Thanks so much!!!!!!

  17. Thank you for this video. I will definitely use this exercise! For me, the levator scapulae is painful and kind of a blind spot. Would it be interesting for you to do a video like this on that muscle? I would definitely watch!

  18. love this butt work out! I have a lot of issues with my body, no muscle ( 7wow.cc/nzud ) so this work out is so easy for me to do, which is hard for me to do much, especially since I had a hip replacement months ago. this is so awesome, thank you!

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