You know the feeling … Your eyes start to hurt. Your forehead starts to pound. Your neck feels like a big ball of tension. And just like that, you have become part of the “headache club.”
According to the World Health Organization 47% of the adult population will have a headache at least once within a year while the US Department of Health and Human Services annual figures state 45 million Americans complain of headaches, 8 million visit their doctor and 3 million go to the emergency room. But there is hope and your friends at Chiron Physical Therapy are here to provide you with relief.
Headaches are a complicated series of electrical events that basically sends the nerves around your scalp and inside your brain into chaos. While headaches can be triggered from a variety of events such as poor eating habits, injuries, allergies and stress, the vast majority of headaches are related to tension and are typically of a mechanical nature. This means that the muscles and joints in the neck and shoulders are strained causing irritation and spasms that trigger headaches.
TIPS TO RELIEVE A HEADACHE
- Maintain proper posture and breathe
- Sit up straight. Walk around tall. . . In today’s environment we spend prolonged periods of time sitting at our computers or staring at our mobile devices all of which weaken the muscles of our shoulders and upper back. Be aware of how you are sitting, take breaks / vary your tasks and continuously examine your posture to make sure it is what it should be; - Breathe properly . . . stressful work, school and home situations cause your breathing to become shallower. As this happens on a chronic basis, you breathe incorrectly using your neck muscles instead of your diaphragm which in turn causes your neck to tighten and can lead to headaches.
- Fuel your body properly
- Drink more water . . . more and more research points to chronic dehydration of the body and brain as a cause of headaches. Reduce your intake of caffeinated beverages which act as diuretics and increase your intake of water to stay hydrated;
- Watch what you eat . . . limit / avoid processed foods, excessive sugars and high fat foods as these affect your body’s acidity levels and build up toxic levels in your body which in turn can alter normal function of your central nervous system.
- Strengthen the muscles of the mid back and scapula (shoulder blade area) … the large shoulder muscles around the scapula play a major role in supporting the neck. Having proper movement and support of the neck and shoulder muscle is key to having a healthy neck;
- Stretch / improve the flexibility of your neck and upper back joints . . . tight muscles lead to spasms which can trigger headaches;
- See your physical therapist
- Physical therapists are the medical experts of body movement. Through restoring proper body posture, strength and joint mobility, headaches can be alleviated for good.
If you find yourself suffering from tension headaches, migraines or other forms of headaches, know there is relief available. Call us today to have a thorough physical therapy evaluation of your neck and spine. We will discover and address the root cause of your headaches, give you the tools to prevent their re-occurrence and get you back to enjoying the activities you love without the headache.
Chiron Physical Therapy . . . committed to making people feel better.