As we all know, headaches are among the most common day-to-day health issues. It’s no wonder given the fast-paced lifestyles many of us maintain, not to mention the extended hours we spend looking at computer screens. But you don’t have to rely only on medications for relief. Try these stretches in the morning before you head out the door, or during breaks at work. They can help to relieve the tension that’s often associated with headaches.
Tuck your chin
Gently bend your head forward and down, and move your chin toward your chest. You will feel a stretch along the back of your neck, and maybe even in your back and shoulders. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat if necessary.
Turn your head
With your head bent forward, turn it 20 to 30 degrees to one side. For an extra stretch, you can place your hand at the base of your skull to very gently tilt your head forward. This should be done with extra care not to pull any muscles. Hold this stretch for five to 10 seconds, and repeat it five times on each side.
Sit upright in a chair — slide your left hand underneath your left buttock. Bring your right hand up and over your head to rest on your left ear. Very gently pull your head to the right — you’ll feel a stretch along the left side of your neck. Then repeat on the opposite side.
Maintaining a straight spine, turn your head to the left and look as far over your shoulder as you can. Hold for two to three seconds, then repeat on the other side. Stretch each side 10 times. This improves the flexibility of muscles in the neck and the mobility of the cervical spine.
Do this one last. Roll both shoulders forward five times, then backwards five times. This will help to loosen up those tight shoulder muscles.
Other factors to consider if you are prone to headaches include posture, flexibility, repetitive actions, diet, hydration and increased stress. Addressing these issues may help you to reduce the number of headaches you experience.
It is a good idea to make an appointment with a medical professional like a physiotherapist, who can examine your neck, shoulders and spine to assess the factors that might be contributing to your headaches.
Sarah Cooke, is a Certified Body Image and Eating Psychology Coach and writer who is passionate about organic food and helping others heal at the deepest level.