The ins and outs of your neck

The optic center of the brain sits just above the back of the neck, with a few of its nerves threading through the upper-neck area.

The optic center of the brain sits just above the back of the neck, with a few of its nerves threading through the upper-neck area.

by Roxann Christensen — 

Before taking a single class in bodywork, I offered to gently massage the neck of a woman who was in obvious pain. A few minutes later, she spoke excitedly about the sudden improvement in her vision. Without the knowledge to understand her response at the time, I was surprised by her reaction.

I later learned that the neck is like a superhighway, transporting all kinds of vehicles with important cargo. The optic center of the brain sits just above the back of the neck, with a few of its nerves threading through the upper-neck area. The spinal column carries the spinal fluid. The neck houses the major nerve trunk as it descends from the brain and branches out to every area of the body, including the major arteries and veins that supply oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Additionally, all the surface-to-interior muscles allow a person to turn their head, nod hello or do a double-take.

The back of the neck also is where all the facial and cranial sinuses drain. It takes only a little tension to block this drain, creating a painful sinus headache state. Last but not least, the vagus nerve runs through this area; this little guy likes to wreak havoc on the digestive organs when they are under too much pressure from tension-filled muscles.

According to Louise L. Hay, author of You Can Heal Your Life, energetically speaking, neck problems can indicate stubbornness and inflexibility. The neck also tends to be a place where we hold unresolved anger.

These are all great reasons to practice relaxing your neck muscles and maintaining your neck’s flexibility. Relaxation and flexibility are essential to prevent interference in the nerve impulses and to enable one to look around in any direction. Neck tension can stifle these functions, in addition to decreasing oxygen flow to the brain, causing wicked headaches and simply making it difficult to concentrate.

Do not let tension build toward a devastating pile-up on your neurological superhighway — relax, and keep your body’s traffic flowing smoothly.

 

Roxann Christensen, ABT, is an Asian bodywork therapist, who also practices Ortho-Bionomy® in the Phoenix area. rangeofmotionbodywork.com, rombodywork@cox.net or 623-330-8488.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 5, October/November 2005.

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