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3 PROVEN Ways to Permanently Fix Your Neck and Shoulder Pain (And Maybe Your Migraine Headaches)

Neck and Shoulder Pain

My neck, upper back, and shoulder pain got so bad I suffered from insomnia for almost 2 years.

No matter what I did, the neck pain always seemed to find me. I was sitting down all day at work hunched over a computer. I tried improving my posture. But it didn’t work.

Then I tried getting a standing desk. That only worked for a little bit, and the pain was showing up elsewhere.

I tried buying new mattresses and special tempur-pedic pillows. NOTHING worked. It was quite possibly the most frustrating thing I’ve ever been through in my life.

Later, I learned that I wasn’t alone.

In one study done on office workers, it was found that 58% had eye strain, 45% had shoulder pain, 43% had back pain, 35% had arm pain, and 30% had neck and wrist pain.

Fortunately, I have since healed myself and cured those problems. And I’ll show you how to do it too.

Special bonus download: I’ve included a 30+ page guide on fixing back pain at your desk, when sleeping, etc. Click here to download it.

If You Have Neck and Shoulder Pain, it is NOT a Coincidence

For those of you who already didn’t have a “hunch” that your work posture is causing your pain, a number of studies have shown a strong link between computer use, posture while at work, office ergonomics, sedentary life and chronic musculoskeletal pain.

The two are linked. I’m going to show you how and why they’re linked, and how to fix them.

These are extremely common health issues that occur in people who are sedentary and sit a lot throughout the day.  The reason you’re probably getting that burning in your upper back, shoulder pain (or shoulder injuries), elbow/wrist injuries (if you’re a weight lifter), and that dreaded neck pain is because they are all related.

Check out the two pictures below.

One of them instinctively looks more natural and healthy, right?

 Neck and Shoulder Pain

At it’s most basic level – this is why you’ve got shoulder and neck pain.

Check out the 60 sec video below where I’ll give you the rundown.

What’s Going on That’s Causing You Pain (60 Seconds)

Four things:

  1. Misaligned shoulders that are typically hunched, which lead to:
  2. A misaligned neck (sticking out forward), which leads to:
  3. Tremendous strain on the neck muscles, which leads to:
  4. Chronic pain, build up of tension, potential other long term effects (possible headaches, etc.)

Here’s what your upper body (neck, spine, shoulders) is supposed to look like (left):

Neck and Shoulder Pain

Here’s what it probably looks like when you’re on the computer or sitting:

Neck and Shoulder Pain Kyphosis

Image via NASM Essentials of Personal Training

Neck and Shoulder Pain Kyphosis

He looks happy, but he won’t be happy when his back and neck are killing him later tonight!

Here’s what that does to your neck and shoulders:

Your head is actually pretty heavy. Somewhere in the ballpark of 10 pounds.  Now try doing this: Hold a 10 pound weight straight above your head. Its pretty easy right?

Now hold your arm out at a 45 degree angle. Extremely tiring right? You can feel the muscles in your arm getting exhausted trying to hold the weight up against gravity.

That’s what’s happening to your misaligned neck. It is trying to fight gravity using the muscles in the neck.

Also, misalignment causes nerve impingement, reduced blood flow, and a whole bunch of others things we probably don’t know about.

Then you end up with super stressed out, tight, overactive neck muscles like the Sternocleidomastoid (try saying that 5 times fast…):

Neck Pain - Sternocleidomastoid

Image via Wikipedia, Gray’s Anatomy

The same is true of your shoulder.

When you use your shoulders in a hunched over pattern, you are impairing how they naturally are supposed to glide through their ball and socket motion.

As a result, you get grinding, popping, and overuse injuries – like carpal tunnel syndrome, burning between your shoulder blades, rotator cuff injuries (if you’re active), etc.

The 3 Part System to Fix Your Neck And Shoulder Pain

Here’s the way I fixed most of my neck pain and how you can, too.

It’s a three part system:

  1. Egoscue Exercises
  2. Trigger Point Therapy
  3. Learn How to Actually Sit Pain Free And Use Your Body (or else it’ll come back)

***

A. Part 1: Egoscue Exercises For Neck and Shoulder Pain

The Egoscue method works for everything I have tried it on.

Chronic lower back pain, neck pain, knee pain, it always provides relief. So let’s start with that.

If you’re sitting over your computer like a hunched caveman, your neck is grossly out of alignment.

The point of these Egoscue exercises is to let gravity re-align your neck and back.

WHY: This is getting your neck, upper back, and hips re-aligned using the wall.

Egoscue Exercises for Neck and Shoulder Pain

How to do it:

  1. Scoot your butt as close to the wall as possible like in the picture above
  2. Make sure the back of your head is touching the wall, and pull your shoulder blades back, so they are flat against the wall
  3. Put your hands face up in your lap
  4. Pull your toes back – so they are flexed
  5. Hold for 5 minutes

Egoscue Exercises for Neck and Shoulder Pain

How to do it:

  1. Lay down on your back like in the picture above – and scoot your butt as close to the wall as possible
  2. Flex your feet back so they are pulled tight
  3. Pull your shoulder blades back, so they are flat on the floor
  4. Let your hands rest, palm up at a 45 degree angle
  5. Hold for 5 minutes

Egoscue Exercises for Neck and Shoulder Pain

How to do it:

  1. Lay flat on your back, and put your legs up at a 90 degree angle on a chair, couch, or object
  2. Roll your shoulder blades back so they are flat on the ground, and let your arms fall naturally at a 45 degree angle
  3. Hold for 15 minutes

***

B. Part 2: Trigger Point Therapy

The next thing you should be doing on a daily basis is employing trigger point therapy.

I either use a theracane, a foam roller, or a tennis ball/golf ball.

We’re all familiar with “tension” held in our backs or necks from sitting all day. Trigger points are basically tension on steroids. They happen at localized places, which is good, because we know where to find them and eliminate them.

Sometimes the site of the pain is not the source though – and referral pain can radiate much farther away.

So you might have trigger points in your upper back causing you neck pain or worsening headaches, and you might have butt trigger points causing lower back pain.

So, here’s what to do for self-massage:

I want you to massage three places (don’t worry, there are videos for each):

  1. Sternocleidomastoid
  2. Trapezius & Levator Scapulae
  3. Suboccipital

#1 – Sternocleidomastoid 

#2 Trapezius and Levator scapulae

#3 Suboccipital

Again, when you’re employing trigger point therapy it’s important that you massage these places hard, and you do it several times per day (the more, the better – they recommend 6-12 times).

So every hour at work, I would spend 5 minutes going through these 3 quick videos and doing a massage session.

I either use a theracane, a foam roller, or a tennis ball/golf ball. You can also just use your fingers for places like the Sternocleidomastoid.

And again, you can use your fingers, a massaging cane, or when you’re home just grab a tennis ball or golf ball and roll your entire body weight over it.

This is critical for day-to-day pain relief.

***

C. Part 3: Pain-Free Posture (How to Sit Without Pain)

Posture is the really un-sexy origin of your pain.

People don’t really like hearing that, because it’s not a magic bullet, but ultimately if you sit properly throughout the day, you won’t have musculoskeletal pain. Pretty much end of story.

Ultimately, all of this will work in the short run… but like all things related to your health, you must change your habits.

I’m going to assume that 90% of you sit all day at work, and often at home after work. So here’s how to maintain proper posture for your neck, shoulders, and upper back.

First – I would suggest grabbing an ergonomic stand for your laptop if you aren’t already using one.

Rather than looking down at your computer, you want your head to obviously be upright.

I personally use this stand for my macbook ==>

If you ignore changing your overall posture throughout the day, you’ll just find the pain coming back and you’ll have to begin from step 1.

  1. Lower Back
  2. Upper Back/Shoulders
  3. Neck

Watch This:

Are My Migraines Caused by Neck Pain/Stiffness?

I’ve noticed that many people with chronic headaches and migraines tend to have chronic neck issues.

For example, neck stiffness has been found to accompany migraines, putting a cold compress around the neck has been shown to significantly help with migraines (origin unknown), trigger point therapy (mentioned above) has been shown to be effective for reducing headaches, and headaches have been associated with TMD (jaw) and neck pain.

The link is still up in the air, but I would be thrilled if you went through this, and told me it fixed your chronic headaches.

As to whether or not there’s a conclusive link between the two, I don’t know.

Focus on The 3 Major Causes of Back and Neck Pain

If this article helped you, you might want to also check out my course Back Pain Freedom.

If you feel like you aren’t getting permanent relief, if you can’t sleep from the back pain, or it’s just preventing you from doing all the things you love (like playing with your kids, hiking, traveling, or just bending down to tie your shoe), this course will help.

It comes complete with HD video demonstrations on every technique (release, postural, and self-massage), so you know exactly what to do when the pain hits (or keeps you up).

If you’re trying to figure out:

  1. Why you get short-term relief, but not long-term relief, you can read more on that here
  2. Why it happens, what causes it, and how to prevent it (see the pictures I put together here)
  3. How to treat acute pain (right now) without painkillers

… Then my course might help you.

You can read all the details about back pain freedom right here.

— Alex

 

Have You Read My New Book Yet?

  Read more about this in my book Master The Day. You’ll learn the nine daily success habits I learned interviewing people that lost 100+ pounds and kept it off in a healthy way – by changing their habits. Plus, you’ll get a free $100 bonus video course if you show me your receipt. You can get the audiobook here too.

171 comments… add one

  1. i have pain may bal ck

    Reply
    1. Hey man. Great insight . I have a ton of pain in my shoulders neck and lower back as my work is to sit on a chair and play poker in the casinos and i feel my posture is just way off most of the time. I recently also read that a lot of poker players go through adrenal fatigue. Did you have this when you had your pain too?

      Deffo gonna start trying these out from tomorrow. Cheers man!

      Reply
      1. Let me know how it goes for you!

        -A

        Reply
  2. Hi There,
    I had a really enjoyed your article in ‘3 ways to rebuild your life when you’ve hit rock bottom’.
    I wouldn’t say I’ve hit rock bottom , but there are some ‘Gaps’ In my life that I would love to work out. I was wondering if you do any ‘life coaching’ sessions? Or if it were even plausible to have a skype session and chat? I understand you probably have boundaries in terms of what you’re comfortable discussing, as I do too, but just thought I would ask about the personal coaching and hope for the best 🙂

    Thank you for your time, and your articles!
    J

    Reply
    1. Hi Jessie,

      I don’t do any coaching right now, but shoot me an email and we talk more. My contact info is here: http://modernhealthmonk.com/contact/

      Best,
      Alex

      Reply
    2. Hi Jessie,

      I don’t do any coaching right now, but shoot me an email and we talk more. My contact info is here: http://modernhealthmonk.com/contact/

      Best,
      Alex

      (Not sure if my previous comment went through or not)

      Reply
  3. Hello Alex,
    These certainly fit how most of us sit most of the day.
    I am sure to try these and have even turned my computer desk around so I am sitting firmly in my chair that is against the wall. It is not as tall as yours but will see what happens.
    I do suffer with occipital nerve pain and my old neurologist told me about this same thing. Trying to balance a bowling ball on your neck and shoulders all day long.

    Hope all is well.
    Thanks again,

    Jim

    Reply
    1. Hi Jim,

      The other thing I found really useful was to get an ergonomic stand for your laptop, so that it’s closer to eye level. I found myself bending my neck all day, but once I had a stand that raised the laptop screen, my posture was a bit more natural.

      Let me know how it goes!

      – Alex

      Reply
  4. Hi Alex,
    I’m glad you mentioned about the computer stand. I use a laptop and I read where you should be looking at your monitor at eye level with your head straight, otherwise, I think you will still strain your neck even with a correct posture.

    Yesterday after body pump, I tried sitting against the wall with my back and neck straight and experienced an uncomfortable sensation along the left side of my spine so I think something is not kosher there. What was interesting is I had a guy in the class try it and he couldn’t even get his legs to hit the floor and he could not reach the wall with his head because of his back. This exercise is a good measure of how well is your back alignment.

    Thanks for this fantastic and timely article. You seem to know how to hit all of our right buttons!

    Reply
    1. Hey Lisa,

      Yeah it’s really important to try and keep the head level while working. I also picked up an ergonomic laptop stand (maybe I should’ve mentioned that too). Basically, rather than my head looking down at a 25 degree angle, now its straight.

      Re: The back exercise.

      SITTING with your back and neck straight is different. Because most of us don’t have the hamstring flexibility to get our butt all the way to the wall, so chances are you’ll end up hurting yourself trying to force your butt against the wall, then your back, then your neck.

      I wouldn’t try it sitting unless you have crazy hamstring flexibility and do yoga or something. Just be careful.

      It’s more of an exercise to practice while you’re sitting in a chair.

      Hope that helps!

      – Alex

      Reply
      1. Sorry but I didn’t make myself clear based on your reply. I was referring to the first Egoscue exercise you showed above when I was referring to the back exercise. I followed your steps and photo so I think I did it correctly. Thanks for your reply.

        Reply
  5. Thankyou I have had some instant relief of my unbelievably achy neck and continuously dull headache just from doing the exercises mentioned on your page. My posture is very poor and it even hurts just to hold my shoulder blades back from years of hunching over, but really excited by the results.

    Reply
    1. You’re very welcome Sophie 🙂

      Reply
  6. Thanks, this is an amazing post. I’ve seen a lot of shorter ones that don’t really add any value. I’m going to start using these (5 minutes hurts, right now I can only do about 30 seconds). I’ll be sharing this article. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Sweet! Let me know how your shoulder goes Derek. This is the guide I WISH I had when I was in pain, so I figured I’d make it quality!

      Reply
  7. Alex,

    Thanks for the great article. I’ll surely try and work out this method.
    My lower back has started suffering because of my bad posture. I’ll definitely improve my posture and exercise on a regular basis.

    I’ll definitely share this article with my friends and colleagues. Thanks Pal.

    Reply
    1. You’re welcome! Let me know how it works for you.

      – Alex

      Reply
  8. thanks for this article. I am 15 years old and my dad has been an avid golfer his whole life. This year he pretty much gave up golf and gave me his new clubs. I was very troubled. I think he doesn’t want to play mostly because he has tremendous neck, shoulder, and lower back pain. I really want my dad to be able to enjoy his time of him being relatively young (41). hope these steps help thank you!

    Reply
  9. Great except the research doesn’t support theories like this.

    http://www.bettermovement.org/2010/back-pain-myths-posture-core-strength-bulging-discs/

    Reply
    1. Hey Pete,

      Thanks for sharing these links.

      I’ve got a couple hundred people who’ve had immediate, and permanent relief from these (And my many other guides on pain relief).

      Also, some of the links you provided (e.g. bettermovement) just show correlations. “In one study, researchers looked at the posture of teenagers and then tracked who developed back pain in adulthood. Teenagers with postural asymmetry, thoracic kyphosis (chest slumping) and lumbar lordosis (overly arched low lack) were no more likely to develop back pain than others with “better” posture.”

      Cool! All that says is that posture may not be the origin or sole origin. Many people write me after hurting their backs working, or playing golf, or from many other activities.

      And as far as I know, there is definitely emerging science on trigger points.

      Reply
  10. Hello,
    I am suffering from neck and shoulder pain as well (from my sitting position), i have been doing all the steps you are talking about in your article but the pain is persisting. I guess i am still missing something essential. I have a question regarding the elbows.
    Do i need to rest my elbows or just my forearm? i have been reading mixed views about this issue.
    Thank you for your help

    Reply
    1. Hi Diane,

      What do you mean when you say rest your elbows or just forearm?

      Reply
  11. Your info on backs and shoulders is correct. I had forgotten about standing against the wall and then laying on the floor with my legs up. We did it before and after gymnastics to realign. Headaches are complicated because doctors are crazy. Neurologists killed my thyroid but never healed one headache. Made them worse! Trigeminal Neuralgia is their latest reasoning for head pain. I have 5 different headaches. They all come from the back of my neck, the sides of my neck where the neck joint are. My left jaw and the left trigeminal nerve. Stretching my neck, slow deep breaths, water, changing temperatures and light will save me sometimes.

    Reply
  12. Hey Alex,
    I have an ache at the back of my neck and also, at the middle of my back. Do all these you mention above treat these two aches that I suffer from?
    -Thanks for your time!

    Reply
    1. Hey Akis,

      Yep! That’s exactly what this guide will fix.

      Reply
  13. Very interested in your guide to neck and pain relief. Will be trying out your techniques. Do you have any suggestions for sleeping position . Always having problem with pillow.

    Reply
    1. Hi Madeline,

      You can learn more here: http://modernhealthmonk.com/back-pain-when-sleeping/

      Reply
  14. Thank you Alex! I have been having tightness in the throat & neck for some time now & am going to try these techniques.

    Reply
    1. Awesome, let me know how it goes Kate !

      Reply
  15. Thank you. I’ve been struggling with this for a while, and its got to the point that the pain has extended to the entire right side of my body. At this point, I find it helpful to switch it up between sitting at my desk, standing, and sitting on the floor with my laptop, and switching between sitting with crossed legs, with my laptop on a chair, and a bluetooth keyboard on a small recycling bin so that my arms are bent at 90 degrees; sitting in semi child’s pose with laptop on the floor; and laying on my stomach in sort of a sphynx pose.

    I keep my back and neck pretty well aligned at work (I’ve had to learn to because of the pain), but the analogy you made to knee pain, and moving from a position of proper alignment was useful for me in relation to shoulder positioning. Keeping my shoulders aligned while typing and mousing is challenging, but it’s something to work towards that I wasn’t aware of before.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  16. Hi there, been trying those exercises and i have to say it is impossible for me to sit up straight more then 5 minutes… I could never learn to sit like this… Its like working out 10 mins and im swimming in sweat.

    Reply
    1. Hi Martin,

      Does it feel like you’re using too much effort to sit upright?

      Reply
  17. Alex,
    The information on this website has really opened my eyes to the true reason for my agonizing headaches and back pain experienced by sitting in front of a computer every day. I appreciate your information you have posted and I am really trying to put it to good use.
    I am evidently suffering from consistent occipital nerve headaches due to my poster of slanting forward head. I have worked diligently to correct my forward rolled shoulders and have made good progress but the pain persists. In trying to correct my forward slanting head, I have incredible tightness in my platysma muscle and trapezius. Because of this, I struggle to find a comfortable sitting position. If I sit up straight, with my lower back supported, I have tight platysma and trapezius. If I sit back a bit, as some websites suggest, I get relief from the tightness but I feel like I am contributing to my slanting forward head. Could the tightness simply come from weak front neck muscles trying to compensate from shortened posterior neck muscles?
    Do you have any suggestions??
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Hey Peter, It’s tough to say without really seeing your posture in person. What part of your back typically hurts throughout the day?

      Reply
  18. Hey Alex, Thanks for the reply. My upper Thoracic/lower Cervical part of my back is what commonly hurt in addition to the tight muscles and headaches I mentioned earlier.

    Reply
  19. Many of the pictures are missing from this website. Please replace them.

    Reply
  20. Hi Alex,
    I was just online looking for some relief exercises for my neck and back aches. Frustrated to tears most days. I’ve tried chiropractic care recently. Dr wasn’t a good fit for me so I was torn on my next step. To Dr for physical therapy or keep, back to the chiropractor and try massage therapy.
    I came across your videos while searching for an alternative.
    I am very optimistic about this self massage and am anxious to get started.
    Thanks for the posts.

    Reply
    1. You’re welcome Tabby :-). Let me know how it goes!

      Reply
  21. I agree with some of the information but it doesn’t really address my issues. I’ve had a laminectomy/discectomy operation L5/S1 operation performed 1994. However this did not resolve my problems and I have lived with chronic pain for many years and also suffer with Fibromyalgia. Over time the disc operated on shrinks putting the entire spine totally out of balance. I have tried all those exercises you mentioned above and they do absolutely nothing for me.

    Reply
  22. I’m going to try these exercises this weekend, but I’m not sure if it’s going to help my condition. One of my top neck vertebrae has pivoted to the right what feels like a half inch or so. I’m pretty sure this is what’s giving me tinnitus. So, would these exercises help it come back into alignment with the rest of them? If not, is there a way I can do it without going to chiropractor?

    Thanks for the awesome post.

    Reply
  23. Oh thank you! I have always had very tight neck and shoulders, this just pulled something sleeping between my shoulder blades, was in pain all day, hard to move. Did the points with a tennis ball etc feels better!! Yay!
    Now I have to make sure I do them all The time to not get to this point again! Thanks!

    Reply
  24. Your post was right on time and very useful. I am a young pathologist and it’s inevitable for me to bend my neck a bit while looking into microscope. But last week I ended up with bad neck pain and dizziness (cervical stress due to tight muscles I guess). I’m better now, but your exercises are going to help me in life. Thank you so much! God bless you!! 🙂

    Reply
    1. You’re welcome Joy :-). Glad it helped!

      Reply
  25. Really really helpful site, thank you

    Reply
  26. How should one feel after digging in the trigger points in the head and neck? Just spent 30 min and my head feels numb as well as my arms. When can I expect the results?

    Reply
    1. Hey Pierre, Usually trigger points feel better pretty quickly. Do you mean the postures left you feeling numb? There’s probably some impingement going on.

      Reply
  27. The second exercise where you put your butt to the wall and your feet up was BY FAR the best one for me! I could feel my back definitely flatten out and press out the tightness and it’s great at stretching my legs!! I love this article!! Now I do them on breaks and before I start my home office work day! Thank you!! 😀

    Reply
  28. Dear Alex
    You are really a Budha , in those days no one is giving nothing for free , you are offering all those great information to people for free you are blessed I don’t know if you did try Vipassana meditation believe me that’s the Budha way help!love!and lightening !!
    you are already Blessed thank you
    hayat

    Reply
  29. What are your thoughts on traction for the neck, and inversion for the back?

    Reply
    1. Hi Jonathan – ultimately, if you feel better, keep doing it.

      Reply
  30. Hi, Alex!
    These are great points, especially about the posture. Why wait to fix the problem later when you can focus now on preventing it altogether, right? 🙂

    I was wondering if you had any advice about sleeping posture. I sleep mostly on my side, with the arm on top sort of ‘hanging’ in front of me, which stretches the muscles in the upper back. I surround myself with pillows to lean my arm on, but what are your thoughts about it? Any findings in that area?

    PS: So happy to find this website, which is full of useful information on various health topics, without it being either half-baked or overzealous. This makes it look very legitimate and as a person working in scientific research I am thrilled when folks use common sense to explore a topic. Even more so when they publish their findings! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Reply
  31. Hello i have one question about all of this. when you are sitting in a desk and you look down to write will this affect you too?

    Reply
  32. Alex,
    I know it has been a while since this was posted but I thought I would give it a try. I have had physical therapy for this problem and was told I have arthritis in my c7. How do you feel about the braces that help hold your shoulders back. I find myself over and over slouching my shoulders and trying to hold them back seems to cause more discomfort. I am sure that will ease with time as I try these exercises. But thought I would ask. Also, part of the contributing factor is the way I sleep. I sleep on my stomach with one arm under my body or on my side in a fetal position with my head tucked in. I have tried to sleep on my back but cannot get comfortable and always end up on my stomach. I tried the pillows with no luck. Any suggestions here?

    Reply
    1. Hi Malissa,

      I think the brace would help- but like anything it’s probably going to get annoying without retraining the body (or strengthening the back muscles to keep the shoulders back).

      Sometimes with stomach sleeping it’s tough. I’m the same way with shoulder issues – you really have to try sleeping on your side and using pillows to hold the shoulder back, or otherwise get creative.

      Reply
  33. Great post, thanks for sharing your knowledge. What sleeping position would you recommend to release tension from back shoulders and neck? Thanks!

    Reply
  34. Great article. I also noticed that when I was trying to hold my shoulders back, naturally the hands distance each other, which is not practical on a laptop, wondering if the benefit of an ergonomical keyboard could also help (found this on the subject: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/comfortable-ergo-keyboard/) . Thank you again 😉

    Reply
  35. hi
    i recently did the exercises that you have displayed and my back back hurts now. is there any explanation for that?

    Reply
    1. Hi Jonathan – You should avoid these and see a doctor instead.

      Best,
      Alex

      Reply
  36. I think a point should be made that you want ‘pain’ but you don’t want to harm yourself. If you apply too much pressure you can really bruise your muscles making things worse, or you can aggravate the pain. You also don’t want to be too zealous for the same reasons. It might feel good at the time but in 10-15 minutes it can make things so much worse. Especially if you are prone to migraines.

    Reply
    1. Hi Lyrabela,

      Yes absolutely – like anything, use your own judgment here.

      Reply
  37. I’m excited to have found your site. I practice trigger point and Esther G’s techniques and they have improved my life dramatically. But lately I’ve been having neck and associated pain due to poor sleep positioning. I’ve been trying to get away from my cervical pillow (arc4life pillow) and sleep more Esther-like. But my neck is not happy. Have not thought to integrate trigger point into this process but will start doing that now. Oddly, I have developed migraines recently and after reading your post, I realize they came on shortly after the neck pain. I’m betting they are related. I’ll be trying all of the above techniques as well as some of your, and Esther’s, advice about sleep positioning and I will let you know if the migraines disappear. I’ve never had them before and hope they disappear forever after this correction. Love your site. I know how much effort blogging is so thanks for taking the time to put together all of this information. It’s very hard to find videos of trigger point and Esther’s techniques. Glad to have found you. I have not read through your site entirely but given what I’ve seen so far, I assume you are aware of the WAPF. I firmly believe that if people practiced WAPF principles, trigger point therapy and Esther’s techniques, the industrial medical complex would collapse.

    Reply
  38. Hi there. .This has been so informative in my continual search for help with muscle tension in my shoulders and neck which is causing chronic daily headaches. ..The only difference I can find is that I don’t have a desk job..I’m actually on my feet quite a lot of the time I’m there. . I find when I sit at home to chill my muscles will start to tense and a headache will soon follow. Most days I will wake with a headache and if not then one never takes long to develop that morning. I have tried physio. ..acupuncture. .. chiropractor although I was very wary and didn’t go back. Your input would be greatly appreciated. THANKYOU

    Reply
    1. Hi Charlotte – well, how are you sitting when you’re at home? Also, does this only happen after you sleep?

      best,
      alex

      Reply
  39. hello ..
    this is sourav here. i am also suffering more then 1year from this problem. exactly same problem what you mentioned above.i had seen all good doctors and even done my xray and Mri but nothing come in that and i try cure my neck and shoulder pain and i can’t do it till now.
    i read your whole article and i hope this can also help me to cure my problem and i will start it from now. Thanks for sharing such a good and useful information.

    dear from my heart. i pray to my god.. God bless you and make you long healthy life. you are a good man share good thing.
    god bless you and make you sucess in your life.

    Reply
    1. Hi Sourav – Let me know how it goes for you!

      Reply
  40. You’re a life saver! I’ve been suffering from neck and shoulder pain for 3 years then found this website. I tried these exercises and viola! Instant relief for me! It’ like magic! I can’t thank you enough, most people would sell their info, but you gave these for free! I’m so thankful to God He showed me your website. God bless you! You’re a wonderful person!

    Reply
    1. Haha you’re welcome Precious 🙂 glad it helped!

      Reply
  41. Fantastic article! Thanks for putting it together! I spend all day sitting in front of a computer, and my neck has been killing me. Putting the exercises to the test now!

    Reply
  42. Hi, I’m going to do all of this ! I was doing the first neck muscle while watching the video and y the time I did the 3rd the hollow point my neck was feeling better. I could move it left or right much further and pain almost completely gone ! I’ve been having really bad headaches daily for about a week. I’m putting post it’s on my computer to stop every hour and do this !!!! thank you so much !

    Reply
    1. You’re welcome 🙂 Glad it helped!

      Reply
  43. Hi alex. Ive had terrible neck pain and headsches for 1.5 years. And ive been screwed over alot. I am slowly recovering. But i want to know your opinion about going to the chiropractor.

    Reply
    1. Hi Shane –

      The Chiro seems to work for lots of people – only one way to find out!

      Reply
  44. I Work for a call center in my computer chair for 40+ hours a week I catch myself slouching from time to time is there a way to break that habit my neck stays stiff and constant tension headaches and migraines??

    Reply
    1. Christine –

      Constantly go through this guide. Set a timer for every 60 minutes to asses – do a quick pain relief session, posture check, or roll on a foam roller. Use a massage cane on the trapezius trigger points daily.

      Reply
  45. Hey, really enjoyed the videos – I suffer with ridiculously over built traps from a combination of poor posture and poor technique (letting my angry traps take over with most of my movements), unfortunately it’s not as simple as gentle stretching and re alignment as I teach a lot of GRIT and CX works where I give in to convenient muscles from fatigue else where and staying face! My small changes for the day despite not being the immediate solution for the shoulder pain shall be 15 minutes of shoulder targeted yoga!

    Reply
    1. Awesome Ash! Please let me know how you’re doing after going through this –

      Reply
  46. Thank you so much!! For the past week, the left side of the base of my neck has numb, and I’ve had intermittent headaches. The former, having an anxiety disorder, made me certain I was either having a stroke or heart attack at the age of 21. But your exercises eased my pain immediately, and I will be picking up a stand and keyboard for my laptop before work today.

    The massages especially caused incredible warmth and awareness in my “coat hanger” muscles, I thought I was going to have to get pinched nerve surgery or something…

    Thank you again.

    Reply
    1. You’re welcome Laurel 🙂 Glad it helped.

      Reply
  47. I’m a high school student and this helps a lot because we do use computers a lot, but what about when we’re like writing at a desk or something?

    Reply
    1. Hi kk –

      Use the same postural technique, but be sure to be really present and aware as you work 🙂 Not easy!

      Reply
      1. How do you keep your neck and back straight while you’re desk is at your waist-ish level? It’s different from computers because you can look at them straight in front of you, but writing is on a flat surface.

        Reply
        1. Hi Kk,

          I use a laptop stand personally. You can find a bunch of different kinds on Amazon.

          Reply
          1. How do you use a laptop stand for writing, like in class?

          2. In this case you could stack your books underneath your computer 🙂

  48. Ive been trying the 3 trigger point methods, and the 3 positional stances, when I do the two that require my toes to be arched back I cant even keep my legs straight let alone pull my toes back, theres a definite tightness in my hamstrings, is this normal for a 30 year old male? And any insight?

    Reply
    1. Hey Clint –

      Definitely pretty typical for a lot of guys, especially if you sit at a desk all day. I would avoid that one for now and focus on the others – are they providing relief?

      Reply
  49. Hi Alex – Great article and well-demonstrated videos. I am a court reporter. ‘nuf said? A huge problem for me is I am small and most chairs in courtrooms are for larger people, thus my arms have to reach what I consider to be too far to reach my machine. Plus, as you may guess, I am FROZEN in my writing position for usually hours at a time. Any different or additional advice for my field? Sometimes I have a moment to do something, but I am limited to being in my seat in a public courtroom so I can’t just jump up and grab a wall or lie upon my tennis balls. (Tennis balls I definitely use at home, although this can be misconstrued as playtime by my kitty and dogs!!)
    Thanks again,
    Ginni

    Reply
    1. Hey Ginni – You’re welcome, and that’s a bummer.

      Best case scenario would be setting a (silent) timer if you can on your phone, or setting up reminders for you to check in with how you’re sitting then (postural). Where do you usually have the worst pain?

      Reply
  50. This has been super helpful. I had one doctor tell me I had fibromyalgia and another doctor told me I had over active muscles that I would have to learn to live with. I decided to do some research online and came across this. I’ve been doing all of this daily in the morning and feel so much better. And I’ve been very cognizant of my posture during the day. I pulled out my old Egoscue book that a friend had given me a few years back for a different problem. I added a neck support pillow to my sleep regimen for some extra neck relief too. this is great!

    Reply
    1. Hi Lindsay,

      Wow, that’s scary – so glad you’ve been finding some relief 🙂

      Reply
      1. A little update: found out I have an extra muscle in both my feet that has been inflamed for who knows how long. Have tons of knots and adhesions around my calves and ankles. have incorporated massaging/icing those areas into my daily routine. most relief I’ve had for my myofascial pain, fibromyalgia, overactive muscles, or whatever else the Doctors have called it and tried to offer me medicine or surgery for. None of them care to take a whole body approach.

        Reply
        1. It’s the sad truth Linsday :/ unfortunately many are bad doctors that don’t have the time (or interest?) to go that route.

          Reply
  51. This is a great article with easy solutions that can be incorporated into my lifestyle right away. I’ve been researching the link between my posture and headaches for years and never found anything this specific and do-able. For example, I’ve been tugging on my sternocliedomastoid for 20 years, just because it seems to help. I’ve also been treating my headaches by trying to crush the life out of my suboccipital nerves with a wooden block for a neck pillow (which works like a charm). Tons of medical, pharmaceutical, neurological, and chiropractic care later, yours is the first advice that truly matches my experience. I will start today on your system and report back my results.

    Reply
    1. Amy, that’s so awesome to hear. And yes, I went through the frustrating cycle of NO ONE knowing what on earth I was going through, or giving actual, useful advice to fix it.

      Reply
  52. Don’t know what you mean by web.

    Reply
  53. Hey I have a questions for you and need some advice,

    For a while I have experienced a really tight neck, front of the neck and sides of the neck, my shoulders tend to click and pop a lot and my upper sometimes feels like it’s burning and I have tried wearing a posture corrector but dosent seem to change anything. I was just wondering what you thought this might be, it’s exhausting haha!! 🙁 if you get email me back that would be great!!

    Thanks
    Justin whitmore

    Reply
    1. Hey Justin – this is classic. Have you tried the things suggested here? If you try pulling back your shoulder blades together (or when things get bad, just laying down on your back) – i’m sure things will improve. I have had very similar symptoms.

      Reply
  54. Hey Alex,
    Should the area between my shoulder blades hurt when I do the first Egoscue exercise (A)?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Hi Nina –

      It could be that you’re forcing your back too far upright – try relaxing it, and avoid anything that hurts.

      -Alex

      Reply
  55. It is friday after a long week at work and my shoulder/neck is killing me. I am actually sitting here with a heating pad on it and have been using bio-freeze all day. I am looking forward to try the things I read in your article and am going to re-arrange my desk monday when I get to work. I get so uncomfortable there that I am willing to try anything at this point. Thanks for all the information.

    Reply
    1. Let me know how it goes 🙂

      Reply
  56. Hi thank you for all this fresh info. I tried egoscue exercises but my spine bone things go against the wall or floor and that hurts (where I have my lower back pain), any way to strech out the spine or something so when I do these it won’t be on my spine chuncks.

    Sorry for the maybe imature writing. I am 20. -Mark

    Reply
    1. Hi Mark,

      Avoid anything that hurts and instead do the others for now.

      Reply
  57. Hi Alex,

    I just ran across your post and tried the exercises. I have lifelong poor posture and now I work 10+ hours at a desk. Luckily we can adjust the screens as high up as we want!
    The exercises were a challenge but I could feel how my body is realigned and better for it.

    My question is this: how often should they be done? I read through a few times and don’t see a recommendation.

    Thanks for the info!

    Cari

    Reply
    1. Hey Cari –

      Honestly, do it as often as you need until the pain goes away. Sometimes I’ll go through this 2-3x a day if time allows. But sometimes I’ll do some intense massage or short postural work throughout the day for a few minutes.

      Reply
  58. i watch with great interests your video, yes i have back shoulder pain problem and is due to incorrect postures and computer use
    please suggest
    chairs,
    how to surf in my bed laptop
    and things to help me thank you very much

    Reply
    1. Hi Shiu – Have you tried this guide yet? Also, lay on your stomach when using the laptop on your bed.

      Reply
  59. Hi Alex
    I am 14 and a half years old and have a troubling shoulder pain that occoures in my left shoulder only. I get it every day and it has become so bad it is ruining my wellbeing. I have gone everything possible I have seen an ostoepath and done stretches and tried to fix my posture but now even when I have good posture my left shoulder still hurts. This pain only occurres when I sit down though. Any suggestions on what to do from here. This could be a life saver
    Cheers James

    Reply
    1. Hey James –

      So it doesn’t bother you at all when you walk, stand, or are active?

      Reply
  60. Hi I drive in my car all day from call to call. What sort of exercises can I do to help my posture? My neck and shoulders are killing me lately and I have tmj as well.

    Reply
    1. Hi Aleece –

      Hang a towel over the back of your seat – works like a charm.

      Reply
  61. I can’t thank you enough for this valuable insight. I started having migraines since I began working from home. I had a general idea it was my bad posture at the computer, but practicing these general excercises and massage techniques have eliminated my issue!

    Reply
    1. Donna, this is awesome to hear! Thanks a ton for letting me know it helped 🙂

      Reply
  62. I now I’m 2 yrs late, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. I’m 22 yrs old and me being a breastfeeding mother and working at a daycare I always look down. I find myself becoming hunched back! I am too young for that. My neck curves in like you showed in the pictures. I thought about buying a brace for when I go to bed to realign the bones in my neck properly with my spine. So my question must be does these exercises really work?

    Reply
    1. Hi Shareena –

      Yes, generally they work but it’s impossible for me to give a blanket answer. Why not spend a bit of time each day changing your posture then and how you use your body?

      Reply
  63. Hi Alex! Been struggling for a long time with neck, nape, shoulder and upper and lower back pain having bad posture when I sit and being stressed most of the time I know is really a big factor. I came across with your article coz I’m trying to look for remedies on what I am having at this very moment. I thought I was just having a stiff neck and felt tenderness on my nape and shoulder, I tried to relax and self massage it but nothing happened. I dont usually rely on pain meds like ibuprofen or acetaminophen as long as I can bear the pain, but this time its really bothering me since I’m at work so I took one, it lessened the pain but it came back right away and the situation been like that the whole day, and now woke up in the middle of the night felt tenderness and pain at the back of my neck tried to remove my pillow so I can lay flat on my bed and it helped me a bit. I dont know what is happening to me right now, I might consider other things like arthritis coz the pain I am feeling is like constant, even though I’m just in my mid 30’s. While lookin for quick remedy I just run across with your article. I can’t wait to try all the exercises you’ve shown in your videos. Any suggestion to help me?

    Thank you!
    Jana C.

    Reply
    1. Hi Jana – start these first, and let me know how you’re doing after.

      Reply
  64. can I ask how long it took you to realign completely until the pain and knots didn’t exist using this method?

    Reply
    1. Victoria -A day all the way up to 3-6 days.But I regularly do this because I work so many hours at a computer it’s a constant battle. But as long as I do this, I’m pain-free 100%.

      Reply
  65. You just taught me in five minutes what I paid $250 for a physio to take me through! Thank you for this. I have suffered from extreme neck and shoulder pain, with shooting pains down my arms and numbness. I will try the exercises and massaging and see whether it works for me.

    Sarah

    Reply
    1. Hah, let me know how it goes Sarah 🙂

      Reply
      1. Cheers Alex 🙂 I have now done the exercises a couple of times, and to be honest I find the Egoscue exercises pretty difficult. Particularly during the first one sitting against the wall, I am finding it hard to breathe, like a pushing down sensation on my ribs. And during the second exercise I get a very strong ache / numb sensation in my mid-back. Is this normal? Will it improve over time? I am guessing that my posture is very messed up, hence this reaction!

        Reply
        1. Hi Sarah,

          The important thing here is not to force it. I find that people tend to force it and get that numb feeling because of the resulting impingement.

          Reply
  66. Hey Alex,

    These are good exercises for using a computer all day, but I study all day, so I am using a computer and writing all day. How do you keep your neck in line when you have to write since you kind of have to look down to write? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Hi Evy – definitely use an elevated stand for your laptop, or use a standing desk.

      Reply
  67. Hi Alex! That was great insight. I have terrible pain on my neck shoulder and on top of it there is cervical disc damage.
    I will try what you said. God bless you.

    Reply
    1. Please let me know how it goes Anu-

      -Alex

      Reply
  68. Around 2008 my job involved some mopping, with a heavy mop, I also moved into a new home and aligned my bed so the tv was pretty much at my feet. This caused me to lay flat with my head propped, really bad move. Shortly after I noticed my back seemed to develop a lump between my shoulders. All doctors say nothing is wrong, but I know my posture is terrible. I also use bifocals and not only find my back in the C shape but my head lifted to look down at my computer.
    I have no idea why people reading this don’t try at least the massage while reading. I did. I did not go deep on the neck muscles because it hurt. But as I massaged I could feel a tingling sensation the kind you get when you feel good. It helped immediately. Been having headaches, leg tingling, back and neck pain. Been to the doctor but while waiting for blood results came here.
    Thanks for the great advice.

    Reply
    1. You’re welcome Linda, let me know how else I can help.

      Reply
  69. Excellent information! I am resharing this to my FB page “The Stay at Home Workaholic” as I think my readers will find it useful.

    Reply
    1. thanks Bonnie !

      Reply
  70. Hi Alexander,

    Thanks for this awesome article. I was wondering how often we should do the Egoscue method? I didn’t see anywhere in the article where you said it was daily, weekly, until the tension goes, etc?

    Thanks,

    Matt

    Reply
    1. Hey Matt – I’ve found that doing it daily works best. Do it a few days in a row and most of my pain is gone – try it out.

      Reply
  71. Hi Alex
    Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. I am so so grateful. I have been suffering from terrible migraines for years. Over the years with the help of my chiropractor it has become apparent that most times my neck was responsible. My migraines have been debilitating with me vomiting for 3 days and being bed ridden. Now when the pain starts i get so frightened that i take a strong pain killer before it gets to that point of no return. I follow a healthy and natural lifestyle whenever possible. I did not take painkillers for years but couldn’t bare the pain anymore. I would like to give you feed back as i am so grateful. I have felt a migraine coming on 3 times now since i found your website and have done the three exercises you suggest against the wall and with my legs up on the bed and each time within half an hour my head ache disappeared. What an absolute relief. This is life changing. You have brought me hope finally. I now do those 3 exercises first thing in the morning when i first get up. thank you so very much. Love and hugs all the way from Australia.

    liz xox

    Reply
  72. Thank you!!!!! Have had tightness in my neck for a while and some pretty hefty migraine-like headaches. Got some physio which helped but I can’t have the physio standing behind me all of the time. He’s given me some exercises to do and nagged me about changing posture – all of which I do. The additional exercises you’ve supplied here are adding a bit more help, so thank you again !

    Reply
    1. Happy to help Carol 🙂

      Reply
  73. Wow this helped me SO much. I’ve been suffering for 6 months and this helped instantly. Thank you so very much! I was ready to go to my doctor and ask for an MRI (I hurt that bad).
    I need to buy the Thermacane or go see a massage therapist because in addition to the areas you discussed, I also have pain in the middle of my back between my shoulder blades.
    Maybe you could have a business where companies that have employees who work at computers all day would hire you to do talks about this. Maybe they wouldn’t have people missing work for treatment if they were proactive about the problem.
    Thank you so taking the time to do these videos!

    Reply
  74. Thank YOU! This has helped me so much-i suffer with pain from scoliosis so misalignment is a perpetual factor but this is now at the top of my many ways to relieve severe CHRONIC PHYSICAL PAIN!

    Reply
    1. Glad it helped 🙂

      Reply
  75. I have neck pain and i put icy hot on it and it did the trick a little bit i think i slept wrong. What can i do to fix that i want it completely gone. This is the first time i ever had it.

    Reply
  76. The stiffness in neck can be the cause of frequently headache migraines as I had… I found Dr. Kalika’s clinic, where neck pain treatment is conducted by a combination of DNS (dynamic neuromuscular stabilization) https://nydnrehab.com/treatment-methods/dns/ therapy and variety of myofascial and neuromuscular methods which concurrently address all interrelated tissues as well as motor control of the upper quarter of the human body.

    Reply
  77. I found out I had a herniated disk and arthiritis in my neck from getting a mri. I lost my balance trying to get some Christmas stuff off our rafters. I landed on my side on the concrete and jerked my neck .I had a x- ray first then the Mri I may have had the herniated disk already I still have neck and shoulder pain it’s runs down my left side of my arm.

    Reply
  78. Used your lower back excercises 2 years ago after re-injuring an old slipped disc problem from years before. Literally worked after the first set, heard a popping noise and found instant relief. Hoping for similar results for my neck which I somehow displaced something a couple months back, have stabbing pain each time I try to check my blind spot over my shoulder every time I drive. Unfortunately I have not found the same instant relief but am still hopeful for relief. Not sure if I am getting both shoulder blades where they should be in the excerises. Any suggestions to make sure those shoulder blades are where they are supposed to be in the excercises?

    Reply
    1. That’s awesome about your back Jill! I would suggest grabbing the book Pain Free – helped me tons.

      Reply
  79. Alex,
    I just came across your article and have to say that it is a good read. I have spent the last hour or so reading some of your other articles, and am looking forward to putting some of your advise into practice. Recently I started going back to a chiropractor because of elbow and knee pain. After the first adjustment, my pain subsided. I am slowly getting back into running and working out. Now however, I am starting to get pain/stiffness in my left shoulder and trap. I believe that it is from the last few years of bad posture (took up a desk job) and now that my neck is getting aligned, it is straining and stretching the muscles. I am constantly trying to stretch the muscles and work on the range of motion, which helps some. I have started some of the trigger point work like you advised in your article, which seems to help some. The problem is, no matter how much I stretch, after sleeping, the muscles are just as tight as the morning before. Is there any more advise that you can give, or any ideas on what I can do? Thank you for your help!

    Doug

    Reply
    1. Hey Doug,

      Have you tried some of the trigger point exercises here?

      -Alex

      Reply
  80. Hey Alex,

    Nice Post, i am newcomer in Neck Back pain persons league, 🙂 Yoy have explained in very nice way also remedies..thanks a lot. I think this will definitely work for me..

    Reply
  81. Great article. Thanks

    Reply
    1. Thanks Daniel

      Reply
  82. I was sitting so badly, my keyboard was so high and so far across the desk that I couldn’t possibly sit up straight. I used your suggestion of standing against a wall to see where my shoulders and neck should be. Now I’m sitting up straight.

    Reply
    1. Awesome! Let me know how it goes Cas

      Reply
  83. Hey Alex,

    I am suffering from cervical spondolytis. Will this help me?

    Reply
    1. Hi Prathyusha,

      You should check with your doctor –

      -Alex

      Reply
  84. Alex,
    Do you know any stands that would work for a Macbook Air & iPad air. I like to sit on the sofa and in bed. Thank you for putting this page together, really helpful!

    Reply
    1. Hey Mary Beth,

      I literally just put a chair on my desk 🙂

      Reply
  85. Good videos, but if I am sitting straight/upright, how do I look at the keyboard (I am a proficient typist, but not a touch typist) without bending my neck?

    Reply
    1. Hey Robert – I use an ergonomic stand to elevate it.

      Reply
  86. Thank you so much for this! I have struggled with neck and shoulder pain for about a year now and it really drags me down. I feel it compressing a nerve in my neck and shooting down into my back also. I’ve been searching for ways to change it long term and this looks really helpful!

    Reply
  87. I know that a big part of my problem is that when I work at a computer my neck jutts forward (often without me realising) and I know this puts enormous strain on my neck muscles. Is there a way I can help prevent this from happening?

    Reply
  88. Wow, using the wall works the best for me! Amazing!

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    RD

    Reply
    1. Glad it helped RD

      Reply
  89. Hi. I have pain in my left trap, left shoulder, left elbow and tingling in my left pinky finger. When I do your massage on the trap I can feel a muscle knot that runs from about 5 inches down from where my shoulder and neck meet and then vertically up to where my neck and shoulder meet. Its like a vertical knot. Does that make sense? I do sit a work a lot of the time with my left forearm resting on my desk in front of me and leaning on the forearm a little. This I can feel puts pressure on that knot where my shoulder and neck meet and feel pressure near my bursa in my shoulder. I am trying to fix my posture and massage that vertical running knot but I wanted to know if this issue sounds common with my posture? Or if I should be exploring some other issue. Thanks for your time and good general information that is easy to understand on your site.

    Reply
  90. I ran across this article looking for something to help with my chronic headaches and neck pain. Everything you said here is ME! I am going to start these exercises and massage today (I have a Theracane). Wish me luck because I am suffering so much! Thanks!

    Reply
  91. Thanks for the instructions.
    Starting tomorrow!
    Ps you can add for folks that have progressive lenses that they may find them selves positioning their heads differently to allow them to use a different part of the eye glasses lens. I am going to get computer glasses next week !

    Reply
  92. Thank you so much for this article! I have read this article very carefully and it has given me a right sitting Posture. I am suffering from shoulder and neck pain because of 10-12 hours computer work. I think It will help me. Thanks again.

    Reply
  93. Hey! Trying to go thru these exercises and trigger point therapy….I’ve had horrible neck issues for about 6 months. Still seems like it is slow going with progression to get better. Is there any other tips you can give to someone who can’t take lots of breaks at work and has to be confined to a computer for hours on end?

    Reply
    1. I would try to do these before/after work if you can Jen.

      Reply
  94. Great information and very easy to follow. I will be working on some posture habits.

    Reply
  95. Hi
    I am feelig minor neck pain on my neck. What should i do?
    This minor neck pain is due to my profession. Day and Night I keep working on my laptop.
    During Day time I keep working on my laptop at my workplace at night I am running an online business so i again sit on laptop and keep working.
    Please suggest

    Reply
    1. Hi there,

      Please see a doctor to make sure first.

      Reply

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