The Towel Roll
Hours of consistent computer use will lock the neck and shoulders into unnatural positions, putting strain and stress on back, neck, and shoulder muscles, straightening the cervical curve, and causing inflammation to impact and influence the nerves in the cervical spine. All of these anatomical anomalies can cause tension headaches, cervicogenic headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain and tightness, and more.
Here's an easy way to relax those muscles and help restore a natural curve to your neck. It's called The Towel Roll, and you can do it yourself, at home, for free.
Begin by rolling up a household towel.
Lay on your back on the floor or another hard surface (not your soft bed). Place the towel roll under your neck. Make sure that the roll is high enough so that the back of your head doesn't touch the ground. This allows gravity to work on restoring your cervical curve.
To intensify the stretch across your chest and tired shoulder muscles, spread your arms to the sides, with your hands above your head.
This is a fabulous stretch for chest muscles. However, nerves and blood vessels in your shoulders might become impinged by tight chest muscles, causing your hands or fingers to tingle or go numb. If this occurs, simply lower your arm angle slightly.
This simple stretch is best done in the 15 minutes prior to bedtime, but, as already mentioned, don't do it on the bed. This is a good time to listen to soothing music, podcasts, or books on tape. Be careful not to fall asleep on the floor, however, or you'll find yourself mighty sore in the morning.
Easy. Peaceful. Free. Does it get any better?
2/19/2011 04:46:01 am
Fantastic article, great photos, wonderful site and very useful Chiropractic information! I'm going to recommend the "towel roll" to my patients!
6/19/2013 02:03:24 pm
does the towel roll really work on your patients ,and does it eventually align your neck to your back to your normal curve.
6/21/2013 03:58:19 am
Shawn, my patients have reported wonderful success with the towel roll, though it does require some dedication. Although nothing beats active care for curvature problems, prolonged passive care like the towel roll does have a functional effect. That is, patients who do the towel roll do, over time, regain functions that they had lost, such as turning or flexing their head fully without pain. I haven't performed a study to identify if the cervical curve itself is altered by the stretch, nor how long that would take, but a multidisciplinary approach is usually required for a curve alteration to take place: ongoing exercises, active care, physical therapy, and chiropractic care.
2/15/2021 07:49:28 am
I’ve done the towel roll technique a few times, and I’ve been experiencing dull headaches. Is that a normal part of the process?
2/15/2021 09:18:55 am
Dave, if your dull headaches have begun following the usage of the towel roll technique (in other words, if they're a consequence of the towel roll as opposed to the reason you're doing the towel roll in the first place), I'd suggest discontinuing the use of the towel roll. It's not typical to get new dull headaches after the towel roll, so the likelihood is that the towel roll isn't the proper solution for you right now! You may want to contact your local chiropractor to find out if there's an arthritis problem that's complicating things. The location of your dull headache can really help your chiropractor diagnose your problem accurately, too: if it's at the forehead, or behind the eyes, or at the back of the head, for example. All the best to you!
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Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
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Although every effort has been made to provide an accurate description of our chiropractic care and its benefits, the information given on this website and blog is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, medical advice for any condition.
If you have any questions regarding your condition, you should seek the help of Dr. Johnson in person, so that he may properly assess your condition.
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