Headaches come in many forms—from migraine to tension to neuralgia—and most of us have suffered from one in the course of our lives. While headaches can have a variety of causes, often the cause is not severe, and simple lifestyle changes can frequently make a difference.
The most common type of headache is a tension headache. These tend to be felt on both sides of the head, sometimes starting from the back and moving forward. Stress, anxiety or a previous injury can cause tension headaches, as can holding your head or neck in an abnormal position, muscle tension, poor posture or tightness between the shoulder blades. If you suffer from recurrent headaches, keep a diary, noting what you were doing when the headache began and when it ended, what you recently ate and drank, and how long you slept.
In many cases, we can help you address the root cause and lessen the frequency and severity of headaches. If your headaches are, in fact, tension headaches, these steps may help resolve them:
- Improve your posture and body mechanics. Exercises, stretching and education can restore the proper alignment of your back, neck and head. We will also review with you the best positions for work, sleep and performance of everyday tasks to decrease stress on the spinal cord and, in turn, decrease pain and tightness in the head and neck.
- Use manual therapy to improve neck mobility. We perform this therapy in our office to help stretch your muscles, relieve pain and increase movement in the back of your neck.
- Strengthen your muscles. Exercises strengthen the muscles that stabilize your back and neck, making it easier for you to sit and stand for long periods of time without the pain that can trigger headaches.
Many times, these treatments—along with lifestyle modifications such as using a more ergonomically appropriate desk chair or adjusting your computer screen—can help relieve headache pain.
Call our office for an appointment. We will review your symptoms and, in many cases, address the root cause of your headache, bringing relief while making a real difference in your everyday life.