Headaches? Tension in your neck? While there are MANY different types of headaches, tension headaches are the most common, with 80%+ of the population suffering from headaches at some point in their lives.
So what do you do about them? How do you get rid of them? Tension headaches come from the tightness and stress that build up in your neck and I’ve put together 5 simple stretches for you to do to help relieve them, or prevent them from showing up in the first place!
It’s optimal to do these stretches every hour, so set a timer on your computer or phone! At minimum, perform in the morning and afternoon. You get a super bonus if you breath deeply and follow your breath while your count SLOWLY (try closing your eyes too-hellooooo relaxation)!
Medical Disclaimer: If any of these exercises cause pain or discomfort, please see a chiropractor or physical therapist, as there may be something else going on. Be smart and listen to your body!
Lateral Neck Stretch:
This stretch can be performed seated or standing, although I recommend standing to get you out of your chair and moving around.
STEP 1: Using your right hand, grab the left side of your head and gently bring your right ear toward your right shoulder. Be mindful not to raise your right shoulder up to meet your ear (this makes things worse). Extend your left arm toward the ground or, alternatively, place your left hand behind your back, palm facing out, to add more resistance. This stretches the trapezius muscle. Hold for 5-10 seconds, repeating 5 times on each side.
STEP 2: Using your left hand, draw your head downward toward your left armpit (almost like you’re trying to smell your armpit haha). This stretches the elevator scapulae muscle. Hold for 5-10 seconds, repeating 5 times on each side.
This stretch can also be performed seated or standing, although I still recommend standing to get your blood flowing.
STEP 1: Clasp your hands behind your back, drawing your shoulder blades together and simultaneously look up. Hold for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times. This stretches your longs colli muscles in the front of your neck and your pectoral muscles in your chest. If this is uncomfortable with your arms/shoulders, you can simply just look up without clasping your hands behind your back, to make it more gentle.
STEP 2: Resting your arms by your sides, angle your head like you’re looking straight up to the ceiling and then to slightly to the right, while drawing the right shoulder downward. Hold for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times on each side. This stretches the SCM (sternocleidomastoid) muscle.
Chin To Chest Stretch:
Interlacing your hands together while placing your hands on the back of your head, draw your chin to your chest and apply slight pressure downward with your hands. Hold for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times. This stretches the trapezius muscle as well.
It may sound simple, but neck rolls are a great way to actively stretch all of the muscles in your neck. Roll your neck clockwise and counter-clockwise 5 times each.
Chin Tuck Exercise To Strengthen Neck Muscles:
While seated or standing (I used to always do this in my car at red lights), draw your shoulders back and retract your head, almost like you’re giving yourself a double chin. Hold for 3-5 seconds and release. Repeat 10times.
Check Your Pillow & Our Blog Post About The BEST Pillow For Neck Pain!
Check Your Ergonomics!
Another major cause of headaches is poor workplace ergonomics! Maybe your computer, mouse or chair are adding to the problem? Check Out My Blog Post About Proper Workplace Ergonomics For More Info!
Getting Frequent Headaches? Looking Down At Your Phone Too Much?
If these stretches don’t seem to alleviate anything and you’re seeing a pattern of regular headaches, then it’s best to see your chiropractor or physical therapist to get to the bottom of what is going on!
Looking down at your cell phone or tablet for hours at a time can put a serious strain on your neck and cause headaches as well, which is why we created The Posture Protector App! The App alerts you by dimming your screen, vibrating or beeping when you slouch while using your mobile device, ensuring you have proper posture to prevent text neck, neck pain and headaches.
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Want more information about something else? We’re always open to suggestions!
Thanks so much for reading! Here’s to better posture and better health!