How I’m Managing my Headaches & Neck Pain

October 21, 2020

I’ve recently shared my struggles with both frequent headaches and neck pain on Instagram and have been overwhelmed with the amount of messages I’ve received in regards to these ailments; so many of you have shared tips and tricks for managing the pain! Since it’s clear I’m not alone in dealing with these troubles, I thought a blog post would be helpful to give a little background on my personal situation and share what has worked for me, in case it helps you as well! 

It all began last year when Cody and I were traveling in Portugal. I was looking up at some beautiful architecture… and totally missed the sidewalk. I somehow stepped down really hard and immediately a shooting pain ran down my neck. I get chills thinking about it again and how it set off a problem I’m still dealing with to this day. 

But for a bit afterwards, I wasn’t bothered by much pain. Then last December, I was in a minor car accident when a van ambulance rear ended me. I was so shaken up but was able to drive home, with no major injuries…except for the fact that my neck pain returned a couple weeks later in full force. And since the beginning of COVID, I’ve dealt with it more and more frequently. I’m not sure if it’s the addition of new stress or a different work style, but it hasn’t been fun. In recent months, the pain has gotten to the point where I can’t lift myself out of bed. I have to awkwardly hold my neck and do a weird side roll out of bed and onto my feet. 

In addition to the neck pain the past several months, nasty headaches have joined the party. I swear this isn’t a post just to complain (haha!), I truly hope it helps others that are dealing with the same issues. 

I tend to get severe headaches around my hormonal cycle, as well as a few other times during the month. Some of them are so intense that I get sick to my stomach. I also have scoliosis which makes this whole neck pain and headache situation even more difficult. 

This ongoing pain is incredibly debilitating and during these spells, I can barely look at a screen, let alone work. It really takes a toll on my mental and emotional health, so I’ve been putting in a lot of time and effort to try any and all remedies and prevention strategies. Simple over the counter pain meds weren’t always cutting it and I didn’t want to keep relying on them nonstop anyways.

After a particularly horrible few days of unbearable neck pain, I went to Urgent Care. I was prescribed muscle relaxers… but those just basically put me to sleep. Helpful in the moment, but not in the long run.

So many followers on Instagram recommended massage therapists, chiropractors, acupuncture, and physical therapists, and I started with a massage therapist. My therapist specializes in sports injuries, working with Boston Ballet performers and New England athletes. He has been a magician for me. It was really painful when I was in his office as he worked on my neck and upper body, but upon leaving, I could immediately start to feel the difference. After 24 hours, the pain and discomfort was significantly better. 

Going forward I’m also considering acupuncture. I’m hesitant about chiropractic work, but not totally taking it off the table, as I haven’t had the best experiences before. 

One of the best things for neck pain and headaches (and of course, overall health) is exercise so I continue to try to make that a personal priority. But any mama out there can attest to what a struggle finding the time can be. When I’m able to do it though, I’m really loving the Peloton and Melissa Wood Health programs. THE MWH method is effective and not too time consuming – I’m trying to make it a goal to take a class 2-3x a week.

I’ve also started implementing some regular stretching into my day and can feel that immediately helping me relax (which is always a good thing!); I’ve found this article from Self to be a great resource. 

Another great way I’ve found to help me relax, and thus, help with my pain, is through the use of CBD. After personally experiencing how helpful it’s been, I’ve fully jumped on the CBD bandwagon. I currently take one Equilibria softgel in the morning and one at lunch, then daily drops in the evening (I’m considering increasing my dosage and have an appointment with a dosage consultant this week to discuss). CBD also helps with my anxiety which is a huge bonus.

PS. I’m happy to share a little discount code with my readers! If you’re interested in trying Equilibria out, use the code REFJESSICA-0199 for $20 off your first order!

And last but definitely not least, let’s talk skincare! You know I love my skincare, but products that heal beyond the outer skin surfaces are basically the holy grail in my book. My all-time favorite face mask is May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver and I recently learned that you can apply it to your neck and upper back to help get your blood flowing in that area. It’s supposed to work like an herbal pack and I’m so excited to try this out ASAP!

I’m so appreciative of everyone who’s shared their experience and insight on managing and coping with neck pain and headaches! Please keep the comments coming and let me know if anything I’ve shared helps you out! Stay healthy and strong friends!

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