Many of us are no strangers to headaches. Most of the time, they’re a nuisance. Others time however, a headache or migraine can be downright debilitating. And, there always seems to be another product or treatment that claims to be a miracle cure.
But what really works?
At Pasadena Pain Management, we take headaches very seriously. We evaluate the potential sources of the headache, not just the symptoms. This involves looking at bite/dental forces in the mouth, parafunctional habits (like nail biting, clenching, etc), and muscle tenderness, among others.
While our patients often need a different course of treatment based on their condition, there are a number of things we can all do to reduce the prevalence and severity of headaches. Here are some headache-busting techniques physical therapists swear by:
- Relax your jaw. Proper rest position for the jaw will relieve stress on the chewing muscles, which are often a source of headache pain. Start by placing the tip of your tongue against the back of your top front teeth, allowing your lower jaw to hang in a relaxed position. You should be able to gently rock your jaw from side to side to indicate you aren’t clenching.
- Sit comfortably tall. Sitting posture needs to be relaxed, but “stacked”. If you are holding your posture tightly you won’t be able to relax the appropriate muscles. If your head is directly over your shoulders, and hips, and you feel your body say “Ahh”, because it doesn’t feel like it requires extra effort to stay there, you are doing well. And your shoulders should feel heavy.
- Breathe from your diaphragm. Stress headaches can result from breathing from your upper rib cage. Breathing into your lower abdomen, or your diaphragm, will lower your breathing rate, relax your neck, and assist in lessening your headaches.
- Nodding. Often the muscles below the back of your skull can be a source of headaches. Poor posture may result in shortening of these muscles, generating pain impulses. Tucking in your chin and nodding often throughout the day to gently lengthen the suboccipital muscles will restore mobility.
- “W’s”. To improve your posture it is not enough to try to sit taller. Strengthening the muscles around your shoulder blades will help you maintain better posture. To do this, raise your hands as if you are surrendering. Then try to tuck your elbows into your back pockets. You have just made a “W” with your arms. Do this frequently. Remember to keep your jaw relaxed.
About Pasadena Pain Management
Pasadena Pain Management offers pain management treatment for TMJ/TMD, migraine, headaches and neck pain in 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.