Tips To Hold Your Alignment
Holding an atlas correction may be pretty easy for some patients, but for others it may be quite frustrating. Not every single musculoskeletal system is built the same. We all have different genetics, muscle tone, and ligament strength, as well as trauma or injury we may experience in our lifetime. All of these factors pay a role in how well our body responds to an adjustment. I have put together a few tips on how to hold your alignment better.
- Following an atlas adjustment, it is really important to take physical activities lightly. This includes avoiding lifting heavy, applying any stress to the neck and shoulder region and avoid working out within the first week. Do NOT try to crack, pop, or twist you neck. Keep neck movement within a 45° range of motion within the next 24 hours. Do NOT overextend the neck such as getting your hair washed at the salon. Avoid reaching above your head and carrying heavy objects for the next 48 hours.
- Wearing a neck brace after an atlas adjustment for 3 hours helps to avoid any extreme movement of the neck and allows the muscles to settle and the nerves to heal.
- Get proper rest. Do NOT sleep on your stomach. Lie on your side or back while sleeping. When sleeping on your side, keep legs bent slightly and your pillow should fill the space between your neck and the bed to keep your neck straight. Ensure your pillow is not too thin or too thick. If you sleep on your back, do not sleep with your arms above your head and have your pillow support the curve of your neck. Your mattress should offer good, firm support as well.
- Stress: We all face challenges in life. Believe it or not, the mental/emotional stress can have an effect on our alignment. Even though its not a physical stress applied to the body, the tension within the body is enough to tighten muscles in the neck and shoulders to pull you out of alignment. Some ways to tackle mental/emotional stress is to practice meditation, drink herbal tea, take an Epson salt bath, doing incantations, etc.
- Neck Massages: Although neck massages can be great to help loosen up tense muscles, it’s also very risky to get massages in the neck area. If the therapist is not careful and not aware of the atlas alignment, the massage can do more harm than good. Please do not have anyone massage your neck unless they are very well aware of Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic work. Please check with your Chiropractor to find a trusted massage therapist to work on your neck.
- Isometric neck exercise can help strengthen the neck muscle to hold the alignment better. Push your head against your hand and hand against your head without moving your joints. This fires up your muscle to build muscle strength without compromising your alignment.
- Arm Circle Exercises: Spread both arms out in a standing position and move in a circular motion. Rotate your arms clockwise and counterclockwise 20 times each direction. This helps strengthen your arm, shoulders, neck and upper back muscles.
- Supplements: Sometimes the problem may be deeper. The upper cervical alignment is held in place by muscle and ligaments. If there is a history of trauma or injury, this can create instability in the ligaments, therefore affecting the alignment holding. Collagen and Manganese can help strengthen the ligament tissue to stabilize and hold the alignment better.