No one is immune from tension headaches. They come on due to stress, poor posture, lack of sleep or exercise. And they can make it hard, if not impossible, to be productive during the day.
If you experience tension headaches regularly, and struggle with relaxation and stress relief, sometimes basic stretches can alleviate the pain.
But before you begin any of the following pain-relieving stretches, here are some quick caveats: if any of the moves hurt, stop. There is some value in mild discomfort during stretching, but you need to be checked out first to make sure there aren’t major concerns that need to be addressed.
If you have a headache that lasts a week, one that completely disables you, one that worsens, or one that recurs regularly, you should contact us at Pasadena Pain Management.
Neck and Upper Back Stretch
This one is easy and you can do it while you’re working.
Just tilt your head to the left or right. You’re trying to touch your ear to your shoulder without moving your shoulder. Once you’ve reached maximum extension, you can get a little more flex by reaching up with the arm you’re tilting toward. Put your hand on your ear and pull gently. This shouldn’t hurt–if it does, you’re pulling too hard.
Some people recommend repeating this ten times on each side. Others say pull for 30 seconds once on each side. Try both ways and find which one gives you better results.
Chin Tuck Stretch
This is another easy one to do at work. Basically, just tilt your head forward until your chin touches your chest. Then bend your neck back until you’re facing the ceiling. You should be able to keep your eyes on your screen most of the time you’re stretching. Repeat ten times.
Although you feel the tension in your head and neck, that tension can extend throughout the body. To really combat it, you need to do some stretches elsewhere.
Put your back up against a convenient wall. Bend your arms into an L-shape, straight out from your shoulder and up. Press your arms against the wall. You should feel the stretch in the front and compression in the back. Both are helpful.
Some people find they get a better stretch by doing this move on the floor than they do if they’re standing.
Behind the Back
For this stretch, reach back with both hands. Clasp them behind your back. Then bend backward. This should do more advanced stretching and compression in the upper back, but also extends the effects into the lower back as well.
Wind Relieving Pose
This is a basic yoga pose that needs to be done on the floor.
Start by lying on your back with arms and legs out. Draw both your knees up to your chest and clasp your hands around them. Hold one knee with your hands and let the other leg back to the floor. Stay this way for one minute. Then bring the other knee back up. Hold both knees, then release the one you held first. Hold for a minute. Then bring the first knee back up. Clasp both knees, then release both knees to the floor.
This exercise not only stretches you out, it helps you center and can relieve some stress so you experience less tension.
When to Call For Treatment
These stretches work great to relieve tension that’s held in your head, neck, shoulders, and back. However, some tension headaches aren’t related to those areas. Some tension headaches come from your jaw, and if they’re related to temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD), they won’t respond to these kinds of stretches–they need more dedicated treatment.
If stretching and other traditional care doesn’t help with your tension headaches, it’s time to seek help from Pasadena Pain Management.
Please call 626-773-8333 or schedule an appointment for a free consultation online.
About Pasadena Pain Management
Pasadena Pain Management offers pain management treatment Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Pasadena Pain Management, we offer the exclusive TruDenta treatment therapy — a highly specialized form of care that involves cutting-edge dental technology, without needles or injections. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.