Are you looking for the culprit to your chronic headache? 5 helpful tips!

Injuries to your neck muscles that cause headaches are not always caused by head trauma.

Inappropriate head positioning, like working at a desk with your head to one side and projected forward. While looking intently at the screen monitor of your computer is one of the silent culprits.  Pictured on the left is an example of pain patterns that develop.

In my clinical massage practice I have seen many clients seeking treatment from chronic headache/migraine pain and after their initial assessment and continued treatment we found more than one culprit.

The following perpetuating factors of chronic headache and migraine pain
Tensing your shoulders
Cradling a phone between your ear and shoulder
A chair without armrests, or the armrests are too high
Typing with a keyboard too high
Sewing on your lap with your arms unsupported
Sleeping on your front or back with your head rotated to the side for a long period
Sports activities with sudden one-sided movements
Sitting without a firm back support (sitting slumped)
Bra straps that are too tight (either the shoulder straps or the torso strap)
A purse or daypack that is too heavy
Head-forward posture
Walking with a cane that is too long
Tight pectoralis major muscles

Here are common symptoms to help you recognize when you should seek help,
Headaches on the temples / “tension” headaches
Facial, temple, or jaw pain
Pain behind the eye
Dizziness or vertigo (in conjunction with the sternocleidomastoid muscle)
Severe neck pain
A stiff neck
Limited range-of-motion
Intolerance to weight on your shoulders

Why is it important to seek immediate treatment for your pain? When an injury is still acute, muscles have not had time to develop patterns of bracing and splinting, which can lead to postural distortions the body uses to “accommodate”, or “mask” pain.  So waiting until the headache goes away may not always work for the best.

Helpful daily tips:
1. Be sure to take frequent breaks.
2. Get a headset or speaker for your phone, or hold the phone with one hand. Shoulder rests are not adequate.
3. When having a conversation, turn and face the person rather than rotating your head in their direction.
4. Head-forward posture can be aggravated while sitting in a car, at a desk, in front of a computer, or while eating dinner or watching TV. Using a good lumbar support everywhere you sit will help correct poor sitting posture.
5. Swimming provides good aerobic exercise, and does not place impactful stresses on the muscles. Vary your strokes so you do not unduly stress the neck and shoulders. Just be careful when you turn your head to one side that you don’t aggravate your neck and shoulders.

Related Articles:
Self Help! 4 Natural Headache Home Remedies to help you find relief!
Scientists find genes linked to migraines for tips on improving your posture

In this video testimonial you will hear from a client and his experience with migraines, I hope his journey helps you.  

The key to his treatment was inactivation of trigger points in the trapezius muscle which relieved the headaches within two treatments.  Stay tune for a bonus tip to minimize your pain.

Mara Nicandro Nctmb

Reference: Many of the Common Symptoms, Causes of Trigger Points, Helpful Hints, Stretches, and Exercises are drawn from Travell and Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: Janet G. Travell , M.D., and David G. Simons, M.D., Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, vol. I, The Upper Extremities, (Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1983), pp. 183-190.


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