In the 21st century, where a lot of our work is done sitting in front of the computer, pondering over words, a lot of strain is put on our heads. While our heads may not be physically exhausted as the rest of our body, this mental pressure can do just as much harm, and sometimes, even more. Things like stress, inability to get proper sleep, staring at the screen too long, etc. can pile up and manifest as actual physical pains. One such pain can be in the form of irritating headaches that trouble you from time to time.
While the occasional headache can be dismissed once it subsides, having them constantly interrupt you at the most inconvenient moments can lead to them affecting your ability to work. It could be your body trying to tell you that there needs to be a change in your self-care process. While we know that you may have already tried a dozen remedies for headaches as recommended by friends and family, we would still like to introduce you to a unique solution that you may not have heard about before: stretches!
Yes, you heard that right. Stretching is not just for easing the muscles of your body. There are certain stretches for headache pain, specially curated to target the spots where the problem lies. These stretches are gentle and do not require minimum flexibility to be done successfully. All you need is a comfortable spot in your home, some free time from your schedule, and the initiative to give yourself the care you deserve.
Though you may feel like a headache is just one type of pain, there are actually many different kinds of headaches that are caused by a variety of different reasons. Before attempting any stretching exercises for headache pain, it is important to find out just what are the factors influencing it..
Here are a few possible causes of your headaches:
There could be certain more serious medical conditions that are causing the headache, such as a tumor, blood clot, aneurysm, etc. so if you find anything odd or are concerned, contact your doctor immediately to get it checked out.
Now that you have pinpointed just what has been causing you that discomforting feeling in your forehead, you may be wondering just how to cure headache pain with stretches. The good news is that when you identify the problem, you’re already halfway to the solution.
Along with changing your habits, there are a few gentle stretching exercises for headache pain. These exercises consist of light and easy movements that you can fit into your busy schedule. Just taking some time away from the bright glare of the screen to release the tension can make a lot of difference.
You can do these first thing in the morning, or even during breaks from work, either standing up or sitting at your desk, however you feel comfortable.
Here are five of the best gentle stretches to reduce headache pain:
Chin tuck stretch
The first on this list of stretches for headache pain relief is the extremely simple chin tuck stretch. This is very easy to do and aims at all those correct spots without requiring too much effort. First, find a proper, silent place where you won’t be interrupted. Breathe in to relax, because it is important to feel calm and easy on the inside, too.
To begin, place one hand at the base of your skull and the other on your chin. Then, gently bend your head forward with one hand, while the other guides your chin towards your chest. Do this until you feel a stretch in the muscles at the back of your neck. Hold this position for around 30 seconds and then repeat the process a few times.
This should help reduce the stiffness stored inside those muscles, making you feel more comfortable.
Cervical extension stretch
This is another simple exercise that can be easily added to your schedule. There is no need for any fancy equipment and you can incorporate it within the few free minutes you have. It is one of those stretches for headache pain relief that only needs a brief moment of calm within your extremely busy day.
Here’s how to do the simple cervical extension stretch. With head bent forward, move it 20-30 degrees to the left side. Put your right hand on the base of your skull and guide your head forwards, feeling the stretch begin in the muscles. Hold this position for around 5 to 10 seconds, before relaxing. Then, repeat it on the right side, using your left hand as a guide this time. You can repeat it around five times on each side to enhance the effects. This will ensure a balanced benefit on both sides of your head and neck.
Lateral flexion stretch
We think that you might just like this exercise because it requires only one important detail: sitting! It aims at the region of your head, neck, and shoulders where the stress tends to build up and helps with slow and easy release. If it is hard for you to do exercises while standing, this can be something more comfortable for you.
In this, begin by sitting on your left hand and pulling your right hand over the back of your head, till it is holding your left ear. Then, gently guide your head towards the right side, until you feel the stretch begin in the muscles along the left side of your neck.
Hold this for around 20 to 30 seconds, before relaxing and repeating on the other side. You can do this around 3 times on each side to help.
This is one of the best gentle stretches to reduce headache pain and can help you relieve that annoying, persistent strain.
Turning behind you stretch
You will marvel at how effortless this next one is among all the stretches for headache pain relief. All you need to do for this is look over your shoulder and just that will add to your routine. This is the best part of all these tiny sets of movements because they aim to make you comfortable in the process of relieving your stress.
For this one, look over your left shoulder, turning your head as far as you can, being careful not to overdo it. Then, hold that position for around 2 to 3 seconds, before gently turning to the right and repeating it there. Doing this around ten times on each side can make a significant difference in easing the stiffness.
Make sure that you do not get careless because of how simple this exercise is. Start small and respect the limits of your body. Turn only as much as you can and keep safety at the forefront of your mind.
Rolling your shoulders
As simple as it sounds, shoulder rolls are one of the best gentle stretches to reduce headache pain. While the pain may be in your forehead, the root cause can often be stored in stiff spots in your shoulders because of bad posture. Simple shoulder rolls may be a good addition, as you slowly buildup your little stretch routine.
Do these at the end of the routine, to finish off on a relaxing note.
Stand up with your feet hip-width apart and let your arms hang at the side of your body. Start by breathing in, rolling your shoulders towards your ear. Keep moving them backwards and squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do this. Then exhale and let them drop them back. Move your elbows forward to feel the stretch in your shoulder region.
You can repeat this process around ten times, depending on your comfort and convenience.
It adds a good finishing touch to your routine of stretching exercises for headache pain.
Now that you know how to cure headache pains with simple stretches, remember that you also need to pair it with some changes. The true effects will only show up once you try other positive habits, such as eating well, maintaining proper posture, trying to have a fixed sleeping routine, and getting yourself medically examined regularly, along with informing the doctor if you have any sudden concerns. While all this may seem terribly hard at the start, with time, you will be able to choose the healthier option more easily.
As you begin with the stretches for headache pain, remember to be patient. After all, you are trying to undo habits that have accumulated over many years, and slipping up is only natural. All you need is a little touch of exercise in your daily routine to start this lifelong journey of self-care and good health.