Headaches can be extremely frustrating! They can disrupt everyday activities as well as a person’s ability to work.
It is increasingly recognised that headaches can be part of a ‘referred pain pattern’ coming from the muscles and joints of the neck. Issues with the neck can arise from a reduction in activity and exercise, especially in the winter months where there's usually more time spent sitting or in other sedentary positions.
Headaches associated with a combination of lifestyle factors and pain from the neck area are called ‘cervicogenic headaches’ and can be the reason behind your symptoms. If this is the case, there’s some simple stretches and techniques you can do to help deal with this.
Shoulder blade stretch
Stretches of the muscles surrounding the neck can be a great way to relieve tightness throughout the area. This simple stretch involves movements of your shoulder blades.
In a comfortable position, standing or sitting upright, gently squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Hold for 1-2 seconds and then relax.
Repeat this five times.
What this exercise does is re-activate muscles that help with our posture, which in turn, reduces the tension and stress around the neck and shoulders.
A spikey ball can also come in handy to massage those hard to reach places, loosen stubborn knots and sore or tight muscles. It can be used at home, work or whilst travelling. Spikey balls are available at The Physio Clinic.
Lateral neck stretch
The lateral neck stretch (pictured below) is useful for relieving tension and tightness in the muscles surrounding the neck. By holding for 30 seconds and repeating 2-3 times each side, you can help generate more range of movement and reduce pain. It is recommended to see your physiotherapist for correct methods.
Another beneficial technique is the use of a heat pack during times of prolonged sitting.
If you have a busy day at work, perhaps bringing a wheat bag and applying it around your shoulders throughout the day would help reduce the stress and tightness around the muscles of the neck. By doing this you are generating blood flow to the area, which helps carry oxygen and healing properties to the muscles, thus reducing tightness and pain.
Finally, if you are still having trouble with headaches then coming in for a physio assessment is recommended.
By using a specific subjective and objective assessment, our physiotherapists can identify where your headache is coming from within your neck. From here, we can treat the target areas and provide you with specific exercises and instructions to help reduce your headache symptoms.
Simply phone The Physio Clinic on 8342 1233 for an initial appointment at one of our four locations across Adelaide or click below to book a physio online.
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