This is part 2 in the story of my neck pain. See part 1.
As I was carrying my single-shoulder heavy heavy heavy laptop bag around that day, the neck pain came back about as severe (if not more so) than before. Aaaaaa.
So I went to the nearest clinic to ask for help, which happened to be a western-style doctor, and what did he suggest: drugs. Why is the western medicine solution to everything drugs (or surgery)?
I refused. I’d rather suffer than put some unknown chemicals into my body.
But I did happen to have a Chinese medicine herbal patch used for arthritis and tennis elbow (something similar to this but without the ‘magnetic field’). I stuck that on my neck.
For sleep that night one of my teachers recommended a different style pillow, one that supports the neck but doesn’t elevate the head. I tried it. Didn’t work for me. Made sleeping impossible and certainly didn’t make me feel comfortable.
So th next morning in agony again, I had to wait until lunch time to get help. At least the herbal patch provided some relief.
Then I went to see the miracle worker teacher in his clinic. He looked at me, scoffed at the patch, told me to remove it, and then looked at my neck. He scolded me, how could my neck get worse? What was wrong with my sleeping position? I said, just fix it, please.
And with the incredible simplicity and speed of the previous day, he did a simple massage on my shoulder and neck. And then found the sore spots on my arm, which after the previous day’s pressing were more than a little sore, pressed and rubbed in small circles. Then while rubbing one of them asked me to turn my head to the left. A-m-azing!! The entire morning I had to turn my whole back to look left, with his little massage I could now turn my head!
Then he said, ok slowly turn right. Nope, still couldn’t turn right. So he chose a different point (still on my left arm, corresponding to the painful side of my neck) and rubbed in a small circle. Slowly, slowly he coached me to turn right. But it felt so smooth and pain-free I wanted to just whip my head around. He told me, with acupuncture needles it would have been even faster. And then I was free to get on with my day in less pain than I’d been in for awhile.
And his parting advice: no exercises for 3 days, wear the patch if you want, get a better pillow or sleeping posture, and anytime you feel the pain coming back, press and rub the arm points slowly turning your head. And 2 warnings: the points on your arm will be sore, and you probably won’t recover for at least 3-4 more days.
So I went and bought more patches (image). And throughout the rest of the afternoon, if I felt stiffness or pain, I just found the sore spots on my arm, pressed and rubbed in small circles, then slowly turned my head to one side or the other. It totally worked! I was able to maintain a very low and decreasing level of pain throughout the day.
That night I was staying in a hotel and the pillow seemed to be the perfect height and I slept wonderfully such that the next morning I was back at 80-90% of normal and by the end of the day had forgotten about the neck pain completely. Much faster than even he predicted!
You might be a bit incredulous at the success, ease, and speed with which this worked. When I told my traveling friends, they kinda looked at me like ‘she’s gone cuckoo, but no arguments if she doesn’t feel pain any more.’ And for all you skeptics out there who think its crazy this could work, would you rather be in pain and hold onto your disbelief or would you rather try it and see if it can too relieve your pain?
Here’s the method to try at home:
Within the first 1-2 days of the neck pain, the reflective-pain spots that seem tender may show up on either arm or hand. After 3-5 days, they will probably only be on the arm corresponding to the same side of pain. Press using your thumb moving slowly down the arm towards the hand. Wherever you feel tender, sore, or a change in texture under the skin may be the point. The points will likely be on the tanned side of your arm or outer edge of your hand. There can be more than one. See the red lines on the featured image for guidance where to look.
On any and all sore spots, press (yes I know it hurts, but it should hurt less than the neck pain itself), and rub in small circles. While rubbing, slowly turn your head first one direction and then the other. If, on a given point, you only feel relief in one direction, you may need to find another point, and repeat the process.
If you’re going to ask someone to do a shoulder and neck massage for you to loosen it up, make sure its a gentle massage, smooth, and slow. You don’t want them to make it worse.
Anything unclear? Need more direction? Ask me in the comments below.