Get Rid Of A Headache

Panadol isn’t the only so­lu­tion to headaches.

Men's Health (Singapore) - - ED'S NOTE -

Noth­ing ru­ins a good day like a pound­ing headache. Un­for­tu­nately, the phe­nom­e­non is quite com­mon. Just about ev­ery­one ex­pe­ri­ences headaches at some point in their life, and ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO), as many as 1 in 20 adults has a headache al­most every day.

But what ex­actly is a headache? Loosely de­fined, a headache is any kind of pain in the head, but it can also in­clude pain in the face or neck. There are more than 300 types of headache, if you want to get spe­cific, vary­ing in in­ten­sity,

lo­ca­tion, du­ra­tion, and ori­gin.

TAK­ING ON TEN­SION HEADACHES

Ten­sion headaches are the most com­mon form of headache, and most likely the one you’ll ex­pe­ri­ence next. The con­di­tion can feel like a dull pres­sure or pound­ing sen­sa­tion in or around the skull, and is caused by mus­cle ten­sion, fa­tigue, stress, or all of the above.

Ten­sion headaches might have a laun­dry list of po­ten­tial causes, but they’re of­ten ex­ac­er­bated by poor pos­ture. Fix your pos­ture, and you have a bet­ter chance at fight­ing off your head pain.

There are many mus­cles in the head and neck that con­trib­ute to proper align­ment and head po­si­tion through­out the day. When that align­ment is off and the deep sta­bil­is­ing mus­cles in the neck and shoul­ders are weak, you might see a for­ward head po­si­tion and rounded shoul­der pos­ture — both of which con­trib­ute to unideal length ten­sion-re­la­tion­ships in these mus­cles.

Inad­ver­tent hunch­ing or tens­ing of the mus­cles in the shoul­ders or neck can cause these mus­cles to tighten and fa­tigue con­tribut­ing to trig­ger points and ten­sion through­out the mus­cles. By length­en­ing, strength­en­ing and re­leas­ing the soft tis­sue, you can im­prove align­ment and re­duce the strain on these mus­cles.

In­stead of grab­bing the Advil and shut­ting down the next time a headache comes on, be proac­tive and com­bat your headache with these 5 stretches. Sev­eral of them de­pend on a foam roller.

THE TEN­SION CUT­TING STRETCHES

Up­per trapez­ius stretch

30 sec­onds each side

For the most part, the up­per trap (UTs) orig­i­nates from the top of the scapu­lae and part of the clav­i­cle and at­taches at the base of the skull. You have one on each side of your neck (right and left). The mus­cle’s func­tion is to ro­tate and sta­bilise the shoul­der blade while also help­ing to ex­tend the neck.

Due to most peo­ple’s ex­ten­sive com­puter and phone use, the UTs can be­come very tight, caus­ing ten­sion along the mus­cle and at its at­tach­ment points.

Fight that ten­sion by stretch­ing these mus­cles by bring­ing one ear down to your same side shoul­der and putting gen­tle over­pres­sure with the same side hand. Hold up to 30 sec­onds. Re­peat on other side. Make sure eyes stay fac­ing for­ward as you do this.

Le­v­a­tor scapu­lae stretch

30 sec­onds each side

The le­v­a­tor scapu­lae goes from the in­ner, top bor­der of the scapu­lae up to the top of the cer­vi­cal spine. The mus­cle’s job is to help ro­tate the shoul­der blade down­ward.

Be­cause of the le­v­a­tor scapu­lae’s at­tach­ment points, this mus­cle can also con­trib­ute to stiff­ness and re­stric­tions in neck and shoul­der mo­bil­ity and pain, cre­at­ing pain and ten­sion at the neck and shoul­ders.

To lengthen and stretch this mus­cle, gen­tly tilt the head for­ward and down­ward at about a 45-de­gree an­gle, like you’re try­ing to sniff your own armpit.

TEN­SION HEADACHES MIGHT HAVE A LAUN­DRY LIST OF PO­TEN­TIAL CAUSES, BUT THEY’RE OF­TEN EX­AC­ER­BATED BY POOR POS­TURE.

Hold with gen­tle over­pres­sure for up to 30 sec­onds. Re­peat on other side.

Pec stretch

30 sec­onds

The pec­toralis ma­jor and pec­toralis mi­nor can be ma­jor con­trib­u­tors to for­ward, rounded shoul­ders and weak scapu­lar and neck mus­cles, so it’s crit­i­cal to make sure these mus­cles aren’t too tight. Tight pec mi­nors tip the shoul­der blades for­ward into a po­si­tion that lim­its op­ti­mal func­tion of the shoul­der and strains mus­cles in the up­per neck and back.

To stretch the pecs, try ly­ing down on a foam roller with arms out to the sides like you’re mak­ing the let­ter “T”. Hold for 30 sec­onds, breath­ing into the tight spots. Then, bring el­bows down and bend arms at the el­bow to make a “W” with your arms. Hold this po­si­tion with­out forc­ing your hands to the floor. Let grav­ity open up the chest.

Tho­racic ex­ten­sion stretch

We spend so much of our day folded for­ward, curv­ing the neck and shoul­ders into a for­ward C-shape as we stare down at com­put­ers and phones. This tho­racic ex­ten­sion stretch is a great way to un­fold, re­vers­ing the ten­sions that form when we are po­si­tioned in one way for too long.

Us­ing a foam roller po­si­tioned per­pen­dic­u­lar to your torso, gen­tly arch the up­per back back­wards over the foam roller while sup­port­ing your head with your hands.

Suboc­cip­i­tal stretch and re­lease.

One of the most com­mon sites for mus­cle ten­sion con­tribut­ing to headaches is in the suboc­cip­i­tal mus­cles, which at­tach at the base of the skull. These mus­cles con­trib­ute to sta­bil­is­ing and mov­ing the head, and can be­come very tight and ten­der when the head is not op­ti­mally aligned over the neck.

By pal­pat­ing or touch­ing these mus­cles with gen­tle pres­sure, you can pro­mote blood flow and help re­lease the tis­sue that may be con­tribut­ing to ten­sion felt in the head. Try per­form­ing a chin tuck to stretch these mus­cles, or place a foam roller at the base of your neck and gen­tly roll over this area to self-re­lease on your own.

IN­STEAD OF GRAB­BING THE ADVIL AND SHUT­TING DOWN THE NEXT TIME A HEADACHE COMES ON, BE PROAC­TIVE AND COM­BAT YOUR HEADACHE WITH STRETCHES.

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