Nothing as a pounding headache ruins a good day.
The phenomenon is quite common, unfortunately. At some point in their lives, just about everyone experiences headaches, and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), almost every day as many as 1 in 20 adults have a headache.
But what’s a headache exactly? A headache is loosely defined as any form of headache in the head, but it may also involve face or neck pain. If you want to get detailed, there are over 300 forms of headache that differ in severity, location, duration, and origin.
Taking on Tension Headaches
The most common form of headache is tension headaches, and most likely the one you will encounter next. The disorder may feel like a feeling of dull pressure or banging in or around the skull and is caused by muscle tension, exhaustion, stress, or all of the above.
Tension headaches may have a long list of possible triggers like stress or lack of supplements for men, but they are often compounded by poor posture. Fix your attitude, and it’s easier for you to ward off your headaches.
In the head and neck there are many muscles that contribute throughout the day to proper posture and head position. If that alignment is off and the deep stabilizing muscles in the neck and shoulders are weak, you may see a forward head position and a rounded shoulder posture— both contributing to unideal tension relationships in these muscles.
Tension Cutting Stretches
Upper Trapezius Stretch
The upper trapezius (UTs) for the most part originates from the top of the scapulae and part of the clavicle and is attached to the skull base. You have one (right and left) on each side of your body. The role of the muscle is to rotate and stabilize the blade of the shoulder while helping to stretch the spine.
The UTs can become very close, causing tension along the muscle and at its attachment points due to the heavy use of computers and phones by most people. Combat this tension by relaxing these muscles by bringing one ear down to your shoulder on the same side and applying gentle overpressure on the same side.
Keep a limit of 30 seconds. On the other hand, repeat. Make sure you keep your eyes focused as you do this.
Levator Scapulae Stretch
The levator scapulae stretches from the scapulae’s inner, top edge to the cervical spine’s tip. The role of the muscle is to help rotate down the shoulder blade. Such muscle can also lead to discomfort and limitations in neck and shoulder mobility and pain due to the attachment points of the levator scapulae, causing pressure and stress on the neck and shoulders.
To lengthen and stretch this muscle, tilt your head gently at an angle of about 45 degrees, while you try to search your own axis.
Keep up to 30 seconds with gentle overpressure. On the other side, repeat
The pectoralis major and pectoralis minor will play a major role in advancing, rounded shoulders, and poor scapular and neck muscles, so making sure these muscles are not too tight is important. Tight pec minors tip the shoulder blades forward into a position that restricts the shoulder’s optimum function and strains the upper neck and back muscles.
Try lying on a foam roller with arms to the sides to stretch the pecs as you do with the letter “T.” Keep in the tight spots for 30 seconds. Then bring down the elbows and raise up with your shoulders at the elbow to form a “W.” Without forcing your hands to the floor, hold this position. Let the chest open with gravity.
Thoracic Extension Stretch
We spend so much of our day folding over, curving the neck and shoulders into a C-shape forward as we look down on computers and phones. This stretch of thoracic extension is a great way to unfold, reversing for too long the stresses that form when we are put in one direction.
Using a foam roller perpendicular to your chest, arch the upper back gently over the foam roller while supporting the head with your hands.
Suboccipital Stretch and Release
One of the most common locations that lead to headaches for muscle tension is in the suboccipital muscles that bind to the base of the skull. Such muscles help to stabilize and shift the head, and when the head is not optimally positioned over the neck, they can become very tight and tender.
Through palpating or touching these muscles with gentle pressure, you can stimulate blood flow and help release the tissue that can lead to the discomfort feeling in the brain. Try to perform a chin tuck to stretch these muscles, or place a foam roller at your neck’s base and roll gently over this region to loosen yourself.