5 Stretches To Relieve Headache
Posted on Jun 9, 2021
Headaches are a modern day occurrence for many people. There are over 100 types of headaches with many various causes.
This blog is addressing the most common types of headache. Are you one of those people that regularly suffer from tension headaches associated with day to day living (from emotional tension), or poor postures (from poor physical tension)?
The good news is that there are lots of simple things you can do to help reduce or relieve your tension headaches – naturally.
WHAT CAUSES Tension HEADACHES?
Many tension headaches are a result of the muscles and joints around the upper neck becoming too tight, from poor posture, specifically sitting in front of the computer for prolonged periods of the time. This puts pressure on nerves at the top of your spine, causing pain to the back of the eyes and the forehead. It is common to wake with this type of headache first thing in the morning, especially if a person clenches their jaw or tucks their chin to the chest while sleeping. Tension headaches can develop during the workday – especially if you have a desk based job.
Gentle stretching exercises can help alleviate the aches associated with tight muscles around the neck and upper back. These really simple stretches can be done first thing in the morning, as well as during breaks at work to help minimize muscle tightness.
5 SIMPLE STRETCHES TO RELIEVE YOUR HEADACHES
Cervical Extensor Stretch (the back neck muscle)
Gently bend your head forward and turn the head about 20-30 degrees to one side. If you turned to the left, then place your right hand at the base of your skull and gently tilt the head forward a little more. Hold for 10 seconds only. Return your head to upright position. Then gently bend your head forward and turn the head 20-30 degrees to the right, using the left hand to gently stretch the other side. Repeat 3 times each side
Cervical Flexor Stretch (the front neck muscle)
Have your arms at your side and gently pull your shoulder blades towards each other. Gradually look up to the sky and feel the front of the neck stretch. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
Sitting on your left hand, take your right hand over your head to hold your left ear, then gently pull your head to the right – you should feel a stretch down the left side of your neck towards the shoulder. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Repeat 3 times each side.
Turn your head to the left to look over your shoulder as far as possible. Hold for 3 seconds, then turn to the right and hold as well. Repeat 5 times each way. This allows the little joints on the side of the neck to help slide on each other.
To finish off your stretching session, gently roll both your shoulders forwards 5 times, then roll them backwards 10 times. This will allow the muscles that you have been stretching to help loosen up as well. Since most people hunch forward, the front shoulders and chest muscles are tighter than the back. This is why you roll your shoulders backward twice as many times in this exercise.
ARE THERE OTHER THINGS I CAN BE DOING TO PREVENT HEADACHES?
- Poor Ergonomics: Check to make sure your posture is well supported by work computers, desks and chairs that are at the right height.
- Reduced Flexibility: Do the 5 simple stretches every day. Go to a Tai Chi, Qi Gong or yoga class at least once a week.
- Bad Posture: Check your posture several times a day as you are working, sitting and standing. One way to re-establish good posture is by standing back against the wall with head, shoulder blades and hips touching the wall the same time. This re-trains the cerebellum, the part of the brain that scontrol physical body awareness. The head, shoulder blades and hips touching wall for 15 minutes a few times per day can gradually reverse the hunched posture. However, one should start with 1 minute intervals, increasing by 1 minute each day until reach 15 mins so the body can tolerate the changes.
- Increased Stress and Anxiety: Do simple breathing exercises and meditate every day.
If the above stretches do not start to relieve your symptoms quickly, I would advise you to make an appointment and we will use acupuncture, herbs and diet modifications to cure your headaches.
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