If you’ve followed me on social media for a little while, you know that I talk about reversing the amount of flexion our bodies undertake on a daily basis, i.e. sitting hunched in front of a computer or staring down at the phone for long periods of time. I won’t get into ergonomics like I have in the past, but I will give you a suggestion of something you can do at home to improve your cervical spinal health.
Something you can do at home to help reverse that flexion in your cervical spine (your neck) is the following:
1.) Get a medium-sized towel like a hand towel, and fold it into thirds length-wise.
2.) Roll the folded towel into a tight roll.
3.) Lay flat on your back, either on the floor or on the bed (whichever is most comfortable), bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor or bed, and place the towel roll beneath your lower neck. This promotes the normal, natural curve that should exist in the cervical spine, as well as stretches the muscles on the front of the neck, while relaxing the muscles of the back of the neck. Bending your knees flattens out your lumbar spine, relaxing the muscles of your low back.
4.) Lay like that for a couple minutes at first. Work your way up to five minutes at a time, then 10, and once you eventually get to 15 minutes, leave it at that. Also, if you want to work your way up to a regular towel like I do, you can as well.
But one caveat: If you feel any discomfort or pain whatsoever, STOP. Less is more, so if a bigger towel hurts, don’t try to suck it up through the pain. Go back to the hand towel.
Also, if you suffer from arthritis in your cervical spine, or if you’ve ever had a spinal fusion in your cervical spine, I don’t suggest doing this until you’ve had x-rays to rule out anything that would contraindicate laying in this position.
5.) When you are done, gently remove the towel roll and let your neck acclimate to a flat laying position for a minute or two before getting up.
That’s it. If you want, you can turn this into a meditation or an afternoon power nap. No matter how you look at it, this will do nothing but help you.