Posterior Neck Release + Spine Traction – For Reverse Whiplash, Post Fall Recovery & Sore Necks

If you’ve ever fallen face first, woke up with a sore neck or had any kind of accident that leads to posterior neck and upper back muscle soreness – you’re going to LOVE this technique!

Are you finding this immediately after a recent fall?

During the day or two immediately following a fall, what we do (and DON’T) is critical. If you fell as recently as today or yesterday, BEFORE attempting the technique in this post please figure out if you have traditional or reverse whiplash, and of course – if you have broken bones, a possible spine misalignment or neck pain (in the bones/joints), please see your preferred health care professional first.

Traditional whiplash:

Traditional whiplash occurs during car accidents and other falls where the FRONT of our body locks into contraction to protect the cervical spine from snapping and killing us. Typically with this kind of whiplash your chest and biceps and maybe the front of your neck are what contract really tightly to protect you. This can happen with or without the presence of obvious soreness in these muscles.

Are you experiencing reverse whiplash?

This is what happened to me recently, and what led me to invent today’s technique.

(Please note the term “reverse whiplash” is mine, and is simply meant to describe what’s occurring muscularly compared to traditional whiplash and is not meant to diagnose or treat anyone. As far as I know it’s not an “official” name for anything).

How does reverse whiplash happen?

I was hiking up a mountain on a snowy trail wearing microspikes when one one set of spikes got caught on the other. My feet were essentially tied together, which meant I couldn’t bend a knee or put a foot down or break my fall in any other way than falling face first into the snow. My hands broke my fall, my face inches from the cold white ground. I didn’t know it at the time, but my entire posterior chain from the base of my skull all the way to my tailbone contracted quickly and powerfully to stop me from hitting my skull, pelvis or other important joints on the hard ground. Essentially, they were attempting to “pull” me back, away from the ground, which resulted in my doing a near perfect fall to low plank without anything but my hands hitting the ground.

At the time I thought I’d gotten away with it all…

Until I woke up the next morning with the most sore neck I’ve ever had. I’ve been in car 2 pretty bad accidents and walked away with less pain than this fall! I could barely turn my head or look down or move my neck, shoulders, arms or spine without intense muscle soreness. Thankfully no broken bones or joints out of place! No pain other than the most sore muscles I’ve ever experienced.

I’ve called this reverse whiplash because it wasn’t my anterior chain that took the brunt of this fall, it was my posterior chain.

What we’re targeting:

We’re going after almost everything you see below: some lateral/peripheral SCM fascia and muscle, all the splenius muscles of the cervical spine, subocciptals, multifidi, as well as portions of levator scapulae and upper trapezius muscles and fascia.

Image from Lumen Learning. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/ap1/chapter/axial-muscles-of-the-head-neck-and-back/

We’re also targeting the entire spine from occiput to SI joint with traction; not to adjust the spine, but to gently engage it; to give it some moments of space where the brain and body can connect and get on the same page for healing. Plus, it just feels good! If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.

Before trying this technique make sure you…

  • Know WHY you’re doing it, and…
  • Make sure it feels like a safe thing to do.

WHY you should (or maybe shouldn’t) do this technique:

Anyone with a sore/stiff/achy neck can try this, even if you haven’t taken a fall recently! If you’re not in pain but sit at a desk all day or just want to give your neck some love…but all means give this a whirl 🙂

But if you have taken a fall recently it’s critical to make sure you’re targeting your body correctly.

For example, doing this technique when your body is much more in need of release on the anterior or FRONT of your body will likely set you back rather than help you find relief.

If you’re at all unsure if you should be doing this, maybe consult your chosen therapist, chiropractor or doctor first. Or consider a Skype session with me, where I can coach you through the best techniques for your body and its current challenges.

In the video I show you how to traction your spine, including your cervical spine – and if you have anything going on in your spine that might not like this (such as bulging discs, pinched nerves, vertebrae out etc) then proceed with caution or ask your doctor or chiropractor if this is a good idea for you.

You could certainly do the soft tissue part without the traction!

Do this technique if:

  • You are NOT currently experiencing traditional whiplash symptoms/pain
  • You ARE experiencing something like I’ve described above as reverse whiplash (WITHOUT the presence of structural issues)
  • Your posterior neck muscles are sore, achy, tight and you have no spine issues that would make this dangerous
  • You know traction works well for your spine, and/or
  • You’ve been cleared by a doctor to try this for whatever pain you are currently experiencing

Please watch the video for full instructions! If you need some visual reminders of what to do…

Basic sequence to love up your posterior neck:

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What to do for Whiplash and Upper Body Impact Injuries – Whether Acute or Decades Old

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If you’ve been in a car accident or experienced any kind of head or upper body impact trauma, chances are you also experienced some form of whiplash, whether mild or extreme.

What exactly is whiplash?

*Please note I am not trying to diagnose anyone! These are common experiences of people who have experienced or been diagnosed with whiplash or associated pain by a medical professional before coming to see me.

Most of the time we think of car accidents when we think of whiplash, but after 8 years of working with people in pain I think it can be applied to anything from falling while snowboarding or skiing, to contact sports like football or being dropped on your head if you’re a dancer or acro yogi.

It is my opinion that the body’s reaction to this kind of impact trauma is almost always the same, regardless of how it happened: the biceps and/or chest muscles will instinctively react with a powerful contraction to protect your neck from snapping (backwards or forwards), which has the potential to kill you instantly. This is our body’s way of protecting us from death!

I see the MAIN cause of resulting pain post-trauma coming from all the muscles and fascia AROUND the neck staying in a tightly contracted state, which will certainly cause a lot of neck pain and other issues often associated with whiplash.

The problem is NOT your neck:

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Relieve TMJD and Jaw Pain Plus Tension Headaches and Neck Pain

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Do you suffer with TMJD (jaw pain) or “text neck?”

I feel your pain! I hold a lot of tension in my jaw and have for a long time, and it is exacerbated dramatically by the fact that I look down all day for work…which makes the entire front part of my neck very, very tight. This tension pulls on my jaw (and yours, if you’re in a similar boat), making the jaw feel even tighter.

If you hold a lot of tension in your throat muscles and/or jaw, then you’re going to love the two techniques I show you today!

For the BEST result:

You will get the absolute MOST out of these two techniques if you combine them with the chest release followed by the best neck release EVER (it really IS the BEST, and if you haven’t tried it yet then you must – especially if you have any of the issues mentioned in this post).

Few pain patterns exist in isolation where you only need to target one or two areas, and this is no exception. Usually with something like TMJD, whiplash, tension headaches and neck pain, there are other factors at play. These two techniques alone will give you some good relief, but if you’re looking to eliminate the pain then be as thorough as possible by using the techniques linked to above.

Here’s what we’re targeting:

Technique #1:

For the first technique we are really targeting EVERYTHING we possibly can in the front of the neck, with special emphasis on the SCM (sternocleidomastoid). We also want to grab as much of the many hyoid muscles’ fascia as well.

I know for me sometimes even just looking up or tilting my head up like the photo on the right causes the entire front of my neck to stretch because it is so tight. The more spacious this entire front part of the neck is, the more freedom the jaw (joint) and muscles of the jaw will have. We are NOT targeting that area today. So if you grind your teeth and most of your tension is actually IN the jaw itself…this may bring your some relief but it will not eliminate the pain.

The first technique I show you is CERTAINLY the most important. If you’re pressed for time or only want to commit to doing one of these, then pick the first one.

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Eliminate Neck Pain! Best Release EVER for Stiff Necks, TMJ Pain & Tension Headaches

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Say goodbye to neck pain!

This is one of the very few self-help techniques I’ve come up with that can perfectly mimic what I do in my private practice, and that means you should get an INSTANT and very powerful result (if you do it correctly).

Before I go any further, however…

WARNING: DO THIS FIRST!

If if you have significant neck pain of any kind, I highly encourage you to use my pec and deltoid release BEFORE attempting this technique.

The majority of neck pain does not originate in the neck, it is usually in your chest and (front) shoulders. If you try to release your neck first you might make things worse. The reason is, often times our neck is getting “tight” because it is fighting the constant pull of our forward rotated shoulders; it’s engaged in an unwinnable battle to pull our necks back where they are supposed to be.

If this is the case and you release your neck WITHOUT releasing the chest FIRST, then you’ve just created a scenario in which your neck will be FAR more likely to be pulled forward from the chest tightness that is still present, the very thing the neck is attempting to counteract by pulling back and tightening up. Your neck may react by clamping down even harder after a few hours, which is not what we want!

For the BEST result no matter what your situation or goal: combine the pec and deltoid release with this one and your head will feel like it’s floating!

This technique can relieve or eliminate:

  • Neck pain of ALL kinds
  • Tension headaches and migraines (if tension related)
  • Jaw and TMJ pain
  • Grip issues related to a nerve blockage in the neck
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and/or nerve pain shooting down the arm
  • Brachial Plexus issues
  • “Text neck” or pain associated with looking down for hours every day
  • Whiplash
  • Neck pain associated with forward rotated shoulders and
  • forward head posture
  • and…I’ve even been told by 3 clients that they believe this technique (in my office, not the lacrosse ball version) improved their EYESIGHT! I’m not sure I can substantiate that claim, BUT…the area you’re releasing with this technique does block or open a blood pathway to the ocular nerve…so ya never know!
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