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Sitting Ergonomics

Decrease Your Head and Neck Tension (with 2 tennis balls and a sock)

Decrease head and neck tension.

Headaches and neck tension have caused me major pain throughout my career of sitting at a computer desk. This technique only takes me 15 minutes. I’ve gotten amazing results from it and I’ve only done it a handful of times. Obviously, I can’t guarantee results. But, some of the benefits I’ve gotten since using this technique are:

  • Better range of motion in my neck
  • No more migraine headaches
  • Less congestion breathing through my nose
  • Improved mental clarity
  • Neck pain (right side) is gone!
  • Less tension in my right shoulder
  • Less tension throughout my neck, scalp, and face

Your head and neck contain some of the most stubborn muscles in your body. These muscles are often held in bad positions for long periods of time while trying to support your head. I don’t know about y’all, but I got a pretty big and heavy head. These head and neck muscles have been overexerted for thousands and thousands of hours. Think about how these muscles are lacking proper blood flow and range of motion. Think of how much pain they are causing in your head and neck, as well as other parts of your body. These head and neck muscles are so tight, they won’t respond at all to any type of quick stretches or strengthening exercises. In order to get solid results, it takes a completely different kind of stretching to get circulation going through these muscles. We need to think of it as improving the health of these muscles, as opposed to just simply stretching or strengthening them. This will require the technique I used to decrease head and neck tension.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. We’re all responsible for our own health and wellness. Make your own decisions very carefully, with the help of a physician when necessary. I simply tell my personal story of how sitting at a desk destroyed my body, how I healed my pain, and how I prevent future injuries. Essentially, how I designed my sedentary lifestyle to be super efficient. I used an abundance of caution while practicing this technique, because the head, neck, and spine are very stubborn, yet delicate parts of our body. If you’ve experienced any sort of head trauma or head injury, do not try this technique without consulting your doctor first.

All that said, this technique has been around for a long time. Below I explain how I made a homemade version of what’s called a “still point inducer”. If you want to research it further than this article, go ahead and Google “still point inducer”.

OK, back to the topic at hand. To decrease head and neck tension, the muscles need to be stretched in a very slow and subtle process. The process can’t be rushed. At the same time, this is the best and quickest way that I know of. It’s also very relaxing. You could very well fall asleep (even if you aren’t tired) when you first rest your head on it. I fell asleep with my head on it a couple times. I could feel the tension releasing in my head and neck as my eyes closed. Let’s get to it….

How did I decrease head and neck tension?

1. Get 2 brand new tennis balls. Brand new balls are highly recommended. A newer tennis ball is going to be more firm and harder to squeeze. An older tennis ball is going to be a lot softer and you probably won’t get as good results.

2. Get a sock. It needs to have some length to it (can’t be a shorty ankle sock).

3. Put the 2 tennis balls inside the sock, all the way down to the end where the toes would go. Make sure the tennis balls are touching each other.

4. Tie a knot in the sock so that the tennis balls won’t move. The end result should look like this picture:

Decrease head and neck tension

5. Lie on your back on a firm surface (like a carpeted floor). Side note: For extra comfort and functionality, put a pillow under your knees to release tension in your legs, hips, and lower back.

6. Place the sock/tennis balls on the floor underneath your head horizontally across the width of your body. The tennis balls will be side by side just like your eyes. Basically, use it as a pillow.

7. Rest your head on the tennis balls gently, in line with the top halves of your ears. I do this for about 15 minutes.

8. Just relax and try to keep your head as still as possible during that 15 minutes. If you need to re-adjust, do so very slowly and gradually. Your job for the next 15 minutes is to relax as best you can. It should be the easiest thing you’ve done all day.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get any results after the first time you try it. Or maybe even the second time. Our head and neck muscles have been so overexerted with tremendous repetitive strain that those muscles are very unhealthy. This tension has accrued over years and years of bad habits. It won’t get fixed overnight. After the first time I tried it, I got some good results. After the second time I tried it 2 days later, the results were literally euphoric.

eu-phor-ic (adjective) – characterized by or feeling intense excitement and happiness, “a euphoric sense of freedom.” (definition credit: Google)

If you don’t get results from this technique, but you know you have a tension issue in the back of your head, you may not be fueling your body properly. When we don’t fuel our bodies with nutrient-dense foods and enough proper hydration, our muscle health suffers tremendously. The muscles get tighter and do not heal like they naturally should.

Click here to read my article on the importance of nutrient-dense vitamins

These repetitive strain injuries are the sum of years and years of bad habits. We need to take a fierce, consistent approach towards healing them. With the right knowledge, a little patience and determination, we can improve our quality of life and physique in due time.

Sitting at a desk for a living doesn’t have to be a life sentence of pain and discomfort. We need to take the minimum amount of action required that’ll create the maximum amount of positive results for us.


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Dear desk jockeys,
Dear desk jockeys, We sit at a computer desk 40+ hours per week. The human body wasn't designed to do that.
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