Tension headaches are not only painful but annoying, and usually arrive when least appreciated. Stress, which we all suffer, can be a big trigger. We face relationship challenges, job concerns, or try to juggle too many things.
If you suffer from tension headaches, you are not alone. Approximately 78 percent of us are in that club. Tension headaches, caused by “tension”, result in the tightening of muscles found in the scalp and neck. That is the good news – because it is your muscles that tighten, there are things you can do on your own to lessen the frequency and severity of these bothersome headaches. Keep in mind, however, that if your headache is not caused by tension and accompanied by a fever or other symptoms, you should consult your doctor.
Because tension headaches are usually related to the tension created by everyday stress and/or anxiety, utilizing relaxation techniques can really help get rid of the pesky symptoms. If done regularly, these techniques can even be preventative. Deep abdominal breathing is the technique that helps slow you down and relax. This breathing can be done anywhere: while shopping, on the job or while watching television. Another relaxation technique is to let your thoughts wander to a place that has been peaceful and relaxing for you in the past. Or you can go to a place where you have dreamed about, like the beach, a gentle stream in a dense forest, or a mountain with a field of wildflowers. With either technique, practice by just concentrating on your breathing.
ROLLING THE NECK
As you probably know, most of us carry stress and tension in our neck muscles. A simple exercise of neck rolling can help relieve this stress, because it actually stretches those muscles. To do this exercise, close your eyes, drop your relaxed head to your chest, take a deep breath, move your head slowly to one side or the other, and exhale while moving your head back to your chest. You can then repeat this exercise on the other side. Do head relaxation movement several times, or as often as feels good.
TWISTING WHILE SEATED
This exercise comes from the practice of Yoga and involves relaxation of the neck and back. Sit in a firm yet comfortable chair, and place your hands on your knees. Take a deep breath and raise you right arm up and onto the back of the chair. Put your left hand on your right knee, keep your hips in place and twist your torso, and spine, to the right, as you look over the right shoulder. Stay this way for several breaths and repeat on the other side. Twist as many times as you feel results in relaxation.
Poor posture can cause tension headaches by causing strain on the muscles, ligaments, and bones. Develop good posture by strengthening the core abdominal muscles, which support the spine. The exercise includes inhaling and pulling the stomach in towards the spine, for a count of five. For best results perform this exercise ten times daily. Do this exercise along with squeezing your shoulder blades together, and you can also relax any tightness you may have in your shoulders.