Constant headaches plague about 30% of the world’s population. Most people will decide to pop a few pills to relieve it but they don’t last forever. Headaches can really ruin a day, but we are here to help!
90% of the headaches experienced are tension or muscle related. If the headache is along the base of the skull and feels like a tight band around your head, it is most likely a tension headache. To combat this, we’ve noted several things you can do during the onset of a headache:
- Massage the base of the skull.
- Most headaches are tension headaches, which are caused by trigger points and tightening of muscles in the neck and head. One of the biggest culprits for tension headaches are the sub-occipitals. They lie along the base of the skull from ear to ear. They are workhorses, since they support the weight of the head on your neck and help balance your skull on top of the spinal column.
- Using your hands, massage the back of the head at the base of the skull, and along the sides of the neck. Having a partner help makes this a lot easier and more effective!
- Using heat can also relax those muscles which are in deep flexion.
- Adjust your posture.
- By adjusting your posture, you can ensure that the neck and sub-occipitals aren’t in deep flexion anymore. Relax your shoulders and stretch your neck by holding your head up and not in flexion.
- Hold a pencil in your mouth.
- Remember the old adage that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile? Well, there’s truth to that. By holding a pencil in your mouth (but not biting down), you’re able to activate the same muscles that help you smile and allows your neck and facial muscles to relax. This can help the nerves and muscles that’s causing your headache or migraine to calm down and relieve the pain.
- Drink a full glass of water.
If your headaches don’t go away with those tips, there might be something else causing your headaches, such as an allergen or other trigger. It’s good practice to keep a headache diary.
A headache diary allows you to track the potential causes and circumstances surrounding your headaches. When you have a headache, be sure to record the following:
- Other aches and pains or symptoms, such as congestion
- What you were doing prior and during the headache
- Medications or supplements taken at the time of the headache.
- Stimuli such as sights, sounds, smells, etc.
- Sleep habit
- What you ate and drank prior to the headache that day
- How much water you drank prior to the headache
- Length, location, and intensity of the headache
As you experience more headaches, you can begin to detect patterns, such as a specific food that may cause headaches. By detecting these, you can begin removing variables in your lifestyle that can contribute to your headaches. Be sure to note ANY headache or migraine you have, not just the big ones.
You may be surprised that by keeping the diary, you can begin to feel empowered and in control, as well as being able to track your progress as the headaches begin to dissipate.
Headaches might seem like something you might not be able to escape, but by understanding why they happen, you can take back control and get your life back!
However, if they keep coming back, we can definitely help you. Our chiropractic and nursing staff can help find out the causes of your headache and help you get rid of it!