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How To Manage Chronic Neck and Head Pain

I have been having chronic neck, face, head, and migraine pain since January 2022. I have had migraine since I was 6 but this has been completely different and has rocked my world. I already follow a migraine diet but I have added tools to help me deal with this new level of pain.

Occipital Release Tool

I have a cervical disc bulge which is causing so much muscle tension. Because of this disc issue, my occipital muscles at the base of my head feel chronically tight and throb with pain. This Davinci occipital release tool feels like it gets right to each one of my pain points. Each side brings about a different release. I’ve also used this tool to get in between my shoulder blades.

Cervical Traction Pillow

This cervical traction pillow is amazing. It gently stretches my neck and I can literally feel space opening up in my upper back. It is 2-sided and each side provides a different level of stretching. You begin with a 5 minute stretch and work up to 20 minutes. If you have disc issues in your neck or upper back you absolutely need this tool.

Cervical Neck Traction Device

This cervical traction device stretches the neck in a similar way to the cervical pillow. The main difference is that you are upright and you control the amount of stretch by how much air you pump in. When I first used it I could feel space being created between the vertebrae of my upper back.

Physical Therapy and Exercise

I could barely get out of bed until I started working with a physical therapist. It was vital to help me get moving. I went from barely being able to get out of bed to being able to move around and manage the pain somewhat. They stressed posture exercises, stretching, and walking. It is hard to be motivated when you are in pain but it is vital to keep moving so your body doesn’t become stiff. It seems counterintuitive to move around but not moving just makes the pain worse.

Pharmaceuticals

I had an MRI early January. That MRI showed the disc bulge and I was sent in for cervical epidural injections. The first injection was extremely helpful in reducing the neck pain I was having. My neck had been hurting on and off for months. I had a follow up epidural injection and two occipital nerve blocks. I wish I could say they all helped 100% but each injection only helped a little with the pain. I am currently taking migraine medication, a muscle relaxer, and NSAIDS cautiously as needed.

Chronic pain is hard. In most cases, there isn’t a magic bullet to help relieve the pain but you have to do a combination of things just to try and live well. If you deal with this kind of pain I hope you find these tools helpful.

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