The Power of “Mini-Moments” for Neck and Jaw Pain!

Many patients worry that the changes needed to make  lasting improvements in their symptoms might just be too much to ask of them. A lot of people have the misconception that Physical Therapy will undoubtably require hours of exercise and a complete overhaul of their daily lives. I’m here to tell you that this simply isn’t the case!

I would be a liar if I didn’t tell you that you have to put some skin in the game. There is no free lunch. However, this can mean a lot of things, depending on what your individual issues are. I don’t think it would surprise you to hear that poor posture is often a contributing factor in neck and facial pain. We all know it would be better to sit a little taller, and let go of the muscle tension we are holding, but how exactly do we do this enough to really make a difference? One of the most powerful, yet simple, things you can do is what I call a mini mindful moment.

To me, a mini mindful moment, is where you spend a very brief time (think 30 seconds!) becoming aware of where you are in space and identifying if anything could be improved. This isn’t a time to be critical of yourself, simply a time to take notice. For example, could you be sitting any taller with your ears over your shoulders? Could your shoulder blades gently come a little closer together? Can you soften the muscles in your face and neck and make sure your teeth are apart? Maybe the answer is yes! If so, then I would encourage you to make some adjustments.

Doing that infrequently though, won’t bring you the changes you are looking for. Luckily, this isn’t designed to take you a long time, and it shouldn’t get in the way of your other daily tasks. Perhaps setting a reminder on your phone or computer every 30 minutes might help you develop this check in then adjust habit.

Some people find it helpful to associate the mindful moments with a task they frequently complete during the day. The goal is that this becomes so habitual, you won’t have to think about it, and you won’t feel like it is work!

Please visit your Saunders Physical Therapist for more tips and hands on treatment to help you feel your best!

By Shannon Burrows, PT MSc

Woman with Cervical Headache