Headaches are bad news. Not only is there pain, but you lose your concentration, and you lose being yourself. What most people don’t realize is that very often, headaches are mechanical in origin, just like any ache or pain in our bodies. (Read: Not in Your Head: When Actual, Physical Problems are Causing Your Headache). Here are a few habits that can get you on the road to a clear head:
Helping Your Neck
When we sit with bad posture, our necks tend to get stiff and tight. Since the neck muscles are connected to the head, this muscle spasm leads to excessive tension on the head and can cause pain . Make sure your sitting posture is good and you have a good workstation setup. See How Here. Be sure that your head is in “neutral”, and not craned or nodded excessively for a long period of time. This can create tension both in your neck and also in your head itself.
Things to be careful of:
- Tipping your head to the side when talking on the phone for long periods (look into a bluetooth or other headset)
- Lying with the back of your head pressing on something (like when reading a book or a screen). This pressure can cause tension and pain.
- Leaning in to read things. If you are leaning and squinting at your computer, this is not a good thing. Have your vision checked to make sure this isn’t the reason. You can also enlarge the text on your screen.
The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
When there is tension and pain in the head, the TMJ often has something to do with it. Try to eat some softer foods for a few days if this is the case, try some gentle exercises, and if needed, talk to a PT or dentist who specializes in this area. There are a few exercises and habits that may help.
Stay flexible in other parts of body
Everything is connected. What happens in one part of the body has a ripple effect throughout you. Just remember to keep flexible, especially in your spine, with stretches, such as the Reach and Roll, or activities like yoga or Pilates. In particular, keep your rib cage and thoracic spine loose.
You are what you eat, and the chemistry of the body plays a role in both pain and muscle spasm. Consider an elimination diet such as the Whole 30. Try it out and see if you notice a difference.
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