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Synergy Stretches: Suboccipital Release

Category Newsletter, Stretches.

Suboccipital PainThe suboccipitals are four small muscles at the base of the cranium that attach onto the first and second cervical vertebrae. They are responsible for rocking and tilting the head into extension and stabilizing the head. Shortening of the suboccipitals occurs in a head forward posture which most of us seem to have to some degree. Chronic shortening of these muscles can cause tension headaches throughout the head and behind the eyes.

This passive stretch lets gravity do the work and helps gently release the suboccipitals. This stretch also affects the craniosacral system by releasing the base of the cranium and helping free up restrictions in the dural (outermost meningeal membrane) attachment.

The Stretch: Place two tennis balls in a sock. Tie a knot at the end of the balls so they are tight in the sock. Lay down on a flat, hard surface. ie. linoleum or hardwood. Place balls underneath the skull on either side of the spine. Allow the balls to take the weight of your head completely, while relaxing your neck for 3 minutes.

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