Get Rid of Neck and Upper Back Pain Once and for All

by Steven Wright

man-with-neck-pain

5 minutes in and I’m starting to panic. There’s 45lbs of weight wrapped around my throat and and chin. I’m becoming claustrophobic.

“Breathe,” I tell myself.

I can’t say I ever thought I’d be willing to pay someone to almost choke me with a medieval weighted torture device.

But when the pain is high enough… I’m willing to try almost anything.

My Neck and Upper Back Were Throbbing All Day Long

I’ve been sitting at a computer for significant amounts of time since I was 14. This was 10 years later. And working 80 hour weeks, all behind a screen, was destroying my neck.

Day in and day out, there was tension and pain. If you bumped into me back then, I was always rubbing the right side of my neck and shrugging my shoulders a lot.

So, I went to see a chiropractor. And a 2nd. Finally, on the 3rd I found someone who knew what he was doing.

Chiropractors are just like any medical consultant. There are great ones, good ones and lousy ones. It took me a bit to figure that out.

The first day Dr. Ryan worked on me, I was breathing so much easier and feeling energized as I walked out. My pains were gone.

The relief was like an amazing drug.

But it was short-lived as the pain came back in a few days.

Sitting is Killing The Western World

Have you seen the TIME headlines? Sitting is KILLING you.

Now of course, there are some worthwhile ideas about all this sitting fuss.

I mean we know for sure that our ancestors, even as little as 50 years ago, were NOT sitting all day long. We know that 100s of years ago they were working with their hands, bodies, walking and standing at a much higher rate than the average westerner.

We know that us modern humans are sicker than ever and that our children are the first generation expected to not live as long as we do. Maybe sitting is the cause? Unlikely, but it is part of the big conglomerate of causes that do contribute to disease.

So, to combat this we’ve created a gym culture. One where we’re told that an hour a day is needed and you’re looked down upon if you’re not working out.

The truth is… we weren’t built to sit down all day with our necks craning to watch little 20 inch screens.

And let’s be real I’m not going to give up my computer anytime soon. So, I did what any health advocate would. Several years ago, I started trying out new ideas…

Like the standing desk.

Standing Desks to the Rescue!

Standing desks are the rage! They will fix our culture issue of sitting too much…

Or not.

Not for me at least.

They do help me. I’m much more productive. My neck hurts less.

But I get tired after 3 or 4 hours. And then, after a year of usage, I noticed I was getting new pains!

What the heck?! I thought this was supposed to cure me.

So, I kept digging and talking to experts. It was obvious to some of them I needed more movement in my life.

I needed a treadmill desk to save my health and neck!

Your Desk Matters, but Not as Much as You Think

The more I looked into the research, tested and tried different things, I started to piece together the real answer.

Our bodies aren’t built to stay in one position hour after hour, day after day.

You can sit, stand, walk and lie down and STILL GET NECK PAIN.

I still love my standing desk. I just started using a treadmill desk, which is great. And every single live event, podcast and video I do sitting down.

I rotate. ADHD is a good thing for working behind computers. I saw Robb Wolf mention it many years ago when he was working on his book. He said he would rotate his position, often several times an hour. I didn’t get it till now.

There’s no doubt that you’ll expend more energy standing or walking. And, in general, I’m as guilty as most about not moving my body often enough. Our whole culture needs to play more, move more and stop freezing ourselves into one position as much.

Regardless of the desk chosen, we still have a problem.  

The problem is that I, and most everyone else, have created bad muscle patterning and done a great job misaligning our bodies.

And while chiropractors are often a necessary part of getting rid of our upper back and neck pain, in my detailed experience at best they’re not the complete answer and sometimes they are completely unnecessary.

Retraining Your Neck and Upper Back to Get Rid of Pain

The muscles and tissues that move your neck and upper back, and keep them in place, are trainable. You’ll get better and better at sitting or walking in a bad position, if you keep doing it.

The solution to the pain is the same. Get better and better at moving correctly and getting into good positions and undo all the training you did to put yourself into pain.

By far the best first step for anyone who has upper back and neck pain is to begin with movement and muscles. And that’s why I’m excited to tell you about The Sitting Solution.

This exercise is from their ebook and I’ve been doing it every day, multiple times a day. And it’s helping so much.

 

Pretty easy and awesome right? I’ve been doing the exercises above twice a day and the tension in my neck is dramatically lower.  I’m one of those people who couldn’t move my head very much prior to doing this and I’ve easily doubled the distance my neck moves.

The ebook is cheaper than one appointment with a chiropractor and I’m convinced will help save you money if you follow their plan first.

Of course you might still need massage and chiropractic help as well. But I can say that without a movement plan to correct your specific issues, most people won’t ever really “free” themselves from the pain (or from the expert bills).

The reality is that, like most things in health, this too requires daily effort. And The Sitting Solution has a fast, cheap and easy way for you to get relief.

-Steve

P.S. – It’s on sale right now, so check it out here.

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About the author

Steven Wright Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet Works

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Fel October 16, 2014 at 2:03 am

excellent blog and information, sometimes we don’t realize how much pain and suffering a person may go through with neck pain, may we keep striving to move forward

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Beatrix Willius October 16, 2014 at 8:16 am

Been there, done that.

For me it was that I couldn’t sleep because of pain in the upper chest area. Doctors, massage, remedial gymnastics, pain killers: nothing helped. Then I found a book by Thomas Hannah. I looked for a physical therapist using his methods. That guy saved my life! It took a while and was a lot of work, but it was so worth it.

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Dr Susan McLay PT, DPT, OCS October 16, 2014 at 9:44 am

Get yourself a “movement plan” from a licensed physical therapist. The amount of shearing force in the above exercise would be detrimental to most folks with arthritis and downright dangerous to elderly with vertebral or carotid artery stenosis. This also doesn’t address the regional interdependence of a shifted posture, not limited to us occipital forward bending motion, scapular and thoracic spine mobility, & posterior hip tightness. A “quick fix” that is very limited in addressing the full problem. Fixing forward head posture is really important, but as any good physical therapist or chiropractor knows the causes are multifaceted.

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Dan Shuman October 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Steve – thanks for a great website. I found you SCDL through Kris Kresser and like your content and approach. However, I’m a little disappointed in this recent post. I am a chiropractor and ART practitioner in Atlanta, GA. I’m secure in my approach to treating patients and I agree with your statement “Chiropractors are just like any medical consultant. There are great ones, good ones and lousy ones. It took me a bit to figure that out.” Chiropractic care is the second most utilized form of healthcare after traditional western medicine. Usually we are well versed and prepared to talk to our patients about musculoskeletal conditions as well as proper nutrition, importance of sleep and stress reduction. We normally encourage our patients to take an active approach in their own recovery so that they may establish and reinforce proper ergonomic and ergogenic habits. I do both in my practice. I like the cervical retraction recommendations above. I realize that you’re trying to sell something so you’re trying to attach value to the ebook by stating it’s cheaper than a visit to the chiropractor. However, your overall tone toward chiropractic feels like one of mistrust and you’re asking others to follow suit and that’s why I’m disappointed. Being skeptical about medical and chiropractic advice is prudent especially when prescription medications and lengthy treatment plans are all that’s offered. I think establishing and maintaining a professional relationship with a chiropractor or PT for that matter is vital to a person’s structure and thusly function. You’re asking people to move more which is great, but an eBook (or any ONE source for that matter) isn’t going to fix that’s person’s dysfunctions acquired over a lifetime. I hope people purchase the eBook and work on moving more, but I also hope they seek the advice of a trusted chiropractor to compliment their efforts, especially when pain persists or affects their lives negatively. Thanks again and take care.

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joe November 2, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Yes pain can be a horrible thing, we often do not realize how much a person does go through when they are suffering, I hope with new information we can help those suffering in pain

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Amy December 17, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Dear Steve,
Some of the recommendations in this video may not be wise for a lot of people.
As a certified trainer I was taught that people needed to be trained about how to do full neck extension and that full neck extension was contraindicated in some cases.
I was taught that it was not wise to force range of movement. In physical therapy school I learned more about why neck extension was a more vulnerable position. The muscles are more on the side of the neck than directly in front and the cross on diagonals. I was given and I also taught exercises to accomplish similar goals which I believe are safer and more incremental in progress. I am glad this guy is in such good shape that his body is up for what he is doing (if it is) but some people with posture issues have actually had degeneration over time, and taking the weight of the head into full extension may not be the best approach due to muscle condition and structural support. There are a number of good physical therapists and other professionals who have gentle exercises that do not have much risk. This is worth considering because there are a lot of women with conditions like osteopenia who may not be diagnosed for instance. Thank you for considering these thoughts.

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Lori Jo Berg December 17, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Hi Amy, thank you for reaching out and sharing your thoughts with us, we appreciate it. You are correct that these exercises may not be the correct fit for each individual that reads this and it is meant to be a possible tool for some.

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Traci D. May 17, 2016 at 2:52 pm

Thank you for this post. I appreciate this information and the treatment. I also suggest anyone who are suffering from back pain or lower back pain to not to go with any surgical therapy. Regular exercise is always best to get relief from pain.

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Melissa May 31, 2016 at 8:12 pm

Hello, I stumbled upon your site and was quite surprised to already feel the effectiveness of this exercise. About 12 years ago I was in a head-on car collision (wasn’t the driver), and was fortunate enough to not have had severe injuries. I went home sore that night thinking of how lucky I was to not have died. Unfortunately, at 19, I didn’t realize that my neck took the brunt of the impact (along with my brain smashing inside the back of my skull), so I went on with my life without any therapy, chiro, nothing.
Four years ago, along with 10 years of sleeping on my face nightly, I woke up in terrible pain. My neck finally screamed “help me”, and I made my way to the chiropractor.
The chiropractor did help, but the pain always came back. I am sure many of you out there can relate with that one. However, it got quite expensive, so like many other people, I stopped going and just dealt with the chronic pain.
So, enough of my story. I just performed all the exercises in this video, and felt immediate relief! I will be doing this every day from now on. I use my resistance bands for the head exercise, and it works just fine. In fact, I could go up in resistance if I do better!
Thank you for sharing this, maybe I will not have to be miserable while going to college.. 🙂

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Mariel Heiss June 1, 2016 at 8:01 pm

So happy to hear this helped you Melissa!!

You have the right attitude – curious, positive, lighthearted – to be very successful on your healing journey!!

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Harshvardhan Rathore July 3, 2016 at 10:40 am

Thanks for sharing these good exercises. The Video is amazing. I had neck pain problem 2 years ago, but after practicing yoga for six months, It had gone completely.

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