Four Tips for Headaches

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Headaches can really disrupt our daily lives and productivity. If you suffer from tension headaches, migraines or cervicogenic headaches, you might find this blog post helpful! I will give you my four favourite tips for alleviating headaches. 

1. Spikey Ball

The suboccipital muscles, located at the base of your skull, can often become tight and contribute to headaches. Using a spikey ball (a small ball with spikes, often used for self-myofascial release), you can target these muscles at home. Stand with your back against the wall and place the spikey ball at the base of your skull (avoid putting it directly onto your spine). Gently nod your head up and down, and then turn your head side to side, taking note of any tight or sore spots. If you’re feeling brave and need more pressure, you can also do this laying on the floor with the spikey ball in the same position.

2. Magnesium Supplement or Cream

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in muscle function and relaxation. Deficiency in magnesium has been linked to headaches and migraines. Consider incorporating a magnesium supplement into your daily routine or try a magnesium cream applied to your skin. Both methods can help relax muscles and may help to reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches. However, please consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement.

 

3. Jaw Massage for Tension Relief

Did you know that tension in the jaw is a common contributor to headaches? Stress, teeth grinding, and tightness in the muscles of your neck and shoulders can lead to jaw tension. Consider incorporating jaw massage into your routine, or having your jaw assessed by an Osteopath to determine whether it is contributing to your headaches. To massage the muscles of your jaw, first locate the muscle by placing your fingers over your jaw and clench your teeth. You should feel a muscle tense under your fingers. Relax your jaw and gently massage in circular motions. Move your fingers up to your temples and clench your jaw again to locate the temporalis, a different muscle of the jaw.

 

4. Pillow Support for Proper Sleep Posture

The right pillow may make a huge impact in reducing neck pain or tension and headaches. You want to find a pillow that aligns your head and neck with your spine, and provides good support. Memory foam or contoured pillows can be especially helpful in maintaining proper sleep posture. The right pillow for you will also depend on your usual sleeping position, whether it be on your back, side or stomach. Your Osteopath can give you advice on the best pillow depending on your sleeping position.

 

Consider incorporating these four tips to help combat headaches. It’s important that if your headache persists, worsens, or if you experience a new type of headache, you consult with a healthcare professional.

 

Written by Rhiannon (Osteopath at take2health)

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