Got Headaches ?
There are many different types of headaches all of which have their own triggers and symptoms. Two of the most common types are cervicogenic and tension headaches.
Cervicogenic headache is a syndrome characterized by chronic one-sided pain that is referred to the head from either bony structures or soft tissues of the neck. When these structures are dysfunctional and continue to get put through repetitive movements it can cause irritation and referred pain to the head. Addressing both the joints and soft tissues of the neck can effectively decrease the frequency and intensity.
A study comparing an exercise program with chiropractic manipulative therapy for cervicogenic headache reported substantial and sustained reductions of headache frequency and intensity. These results were similar for both treatment groups but with a trend toward greater efficacy when the two treatment modalities are combined.
Tension-type headaches most commonly last from 30 minutes to seven days. The pain is commonly described on both sides of the head (bilateral), as “a band around the head” or vice-like. The pain is generally mild to moderate. By reducing stress on the soft tissues of the neck we can mitigate the discomfort of these headaches. Since poor posture can affect the position of our head and neck it is important to strengthen the upper back and shoulder muscles as well as the neck muscles.
The following exercises are good entry exercises to start strengthening. As you get stronger there are many more variations and other exercises you can choose from to keep it challenging.
1. Scapula squeeze: while sitting up in a good posture with your shoulders in a neutral position (not rolled forward) try to squeeze your shoulder blades together. Once you are squeezing, hold this pose for 10 seconds before relaxing. Try 4 sets of 10 repetitions a day.
2. Chin tucks: Slowly move your chin back and slightly down so your ears are in line with your shoulders, and you feel a stretch in the back of your neck. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Try 4 sets of 10 repetitions a day.
3. Bruggers postural relief position:
1. Sit with your buttocks at the edge of a chair.
2. Spread your legs apart slightly.
3. Turn your toes out slightly.
4. Rest your weight on your legs/feet & relax your abdominal muscles.
5. Tilt your pelvis forward & Iift your chest up thus increasing the curve of your lower back to its maximum.
6. Turn your palms up
Hold this position for 30 seconds every 15 minutes. Once this becomes comfortable you can add in a resistance band to increase difficulty.