Today we are talking about headaches and what you can do to relieve them.
As the weather is getting colder, we tend to tighten our body. When a cold wind blows, our muscles’ shoulders get stiff. More people experience headaches or heaviness in their head.
Headaches include tension headaches, migraines, and trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias, while some are secondary to other conditions. Today, we are talking about tension headaches, which is accompanied with a shoulder/neck stiffness and general fatigue. The pain is caused by slowed blood flow around the shoulder and neck area. When the muscle is stiff, they can no longer constrict like they are supposed to. It is not only the cold weather but also caused by bad posture while using a computer or using an unfitted pillow.
Here is what you can do to relieve a tension headaches. Get a lacrosse ball (or a ball with similar size) and lie down on your back. Put the ball between the floor and the back of your head. Make sure to put the ball slightly toward the left or right side of the head, not the center. If you have two balls, put it in a sock and put it under both sides of your head. You do not need to roll the ball around, as long as you feel the ball slowly sinking into the skin.
Next is to relax the levator scapulae muscle, also known as the headache muscle, which is a muscle between neck and scapula. Put the ball between the wall and the upper inner side of the scapula. Roll the ball by moving your body up and down.
Since the head is on top of the neck when your posture is bad, the head slides forward and more effort is needed to support it. This causes shoulder and neck muscles to stiffen. When you feel pain or heaviness on your head, try to pull your chin to put the head back to the right place.
You might not think a headache is something a physical therapist can treat, but if the muscles and alignments are involved, we can help you. If you have any concerns, let us know!