Easy Stretches for Tension Headache Relief

Stretch Those Tension Headaches Away

Do you suffer from tension headaches? After a long day in front of the computer it is fairly common to develop a headache especially if your workstation is not properly set up. Additionally, checking email and sending text messages automatically causes the head to be in a misaligned “Anterior Head Syndrome” position. This is a recipe for tension headaches as well as other problems.

Balancing a watermelon on your neck

Did you know that the human head weighs about ten pounds when held in a neutral position but that simply tilting the head forward can increase the weight load on the spine almost three times or more? Doing this dozens of times during the day compromises the cervical spine, causing tension headaches and putting pressure on the thoracic (mid back) and lumbar (lower back) spine.

The good news is that there are four stretches that can be done at your desk or wherever you happen to be which will alleviate tension headaches. Dr. Mike and Dr. Rion demonstrate in our newest video below!

Start by correcting posture

Before you get started with these simple stretches, make sure you have your work area set up so you can work with your head in a neutral position. We would be happy to show you how you should be sitting while at your workstation.

What you want to avoid is a condition called anterior head carriage which is simply sitting or standing with your head in a forward position. Sit tall with your ears over your shoulders to reduce the strain on your neck.

Even if you work on the run, be aware of the tilt of your head when checking your phone or tablet. It may only be for a few minutes each time but cumulatively it can account for several hours of strain on your cervical spine.

Levator Scapulae – Stiff Neck Starts Here

Most of us have suffered from a stiff neck. Who isn’t guilty of holding our cell phone ‘hands free’ with the shoulder? The muscles called the levator scapulae run from the shoulder blades, up the neck and attach to the bottom of the skull. Stiffness in this area can be relieved by doing this stretch:

  • Sit up tall
  • Tuck one arm behind your back
  • Turn your head to the opposite side and gently flex it forward and to the side. Gently pull down with your hand until you feel a slight stretch.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Upper trapezius stretch

This is a stretch that increases mobility and can be done almost anywhere:

  • Bring your right hand over your head to the opposite side of your head.
  • Gently pull the head toward your shoulder and hold the stretch.
  • Repeat on the left.

Increasing Range of Motion

These are stretches that will loosen up the neck which will increase your range of motion.

  • Tilt your head to the side as if you are trying to touch your shoulder with your ear, again without tilting your head forward.
  • Move your head back and forth looking up and then putting your chin near your chest.

Stretch frequently through the day

All of these stretches should be done very gently for 30 to 60 seconds – you aren’t looking to create a deep stretch, you are loosening up the muscles.

You don’t have to live with tension headaches. If you do these easy stretches throughout the day you can make a dramatic difference in your comfort and wellbeing. For a long-term wellness plan, give us a call at 818-952-0172 and we’ll connect you with an expert Pasadena chiropractor who will get you on the road to being headache-free!