Headaches and migraines can be the bane of our lives if you are unlucky enough to be a sufferer. The reason so many people suffer is because there is more that is unknown about the causes than is known and therefore it is difficult to pinpoint a pain relieving solution.
It is well accepted that stress, heat and dehydration, noise and light levels, neck and head position, hormones and diet can be some of the triggers. Some of these factors can be managed or limited to some extent and for the lucky ones this can eliminate the pain altogether. However if the pain in your head continues to blight your days here are some considerations worth considering.
Things to consider
Where you can reduce the triggers you should. For example; remain hydrated, avoid foods your headaches love, avoid prolonged positions with your head held in a wonky way. Nothing remarkable here I realise. However, what I do realise is that it can be very difficult to see just how your body responds when it is stressed or hurting or busy or simply distracted from looking after itself. It is this that I want to hone in on.
When we are exposed to negative environments be they physical or mental, our response typically resembles that of a tightly wound spring. Our shoulders can be found up round our ears, our chins jut forwards, our spines round over so much we could be forgiven for appearing to be method acting for a role as a gremlin. It’s not a good look but more importantly it’s not a healthy headache combatting one either.
I realise as I write, that in the crowd many of you are jumping up onto your soap boxes to tell me that you are well aware of this gremlin enactment but try as you might, the method acting is so strong that to come out of character is virtually impossible.
In fact the act of trying can actually make your headache worse. I hear you and it is a reality, so what you need to do is to learn some tricks. Employing the cunning world of trickery hoodwinks your mind and body into a more human form without it realising.
First of all don’t try to straighten up, don’t drop your shoulders or tuck your chin in. Yes I did say DON’T. Doing this corrective movement often makes matter worse because you will feel like you are fighting the tide so you fight harder and make the gremlin even more alert. So don’t be a Lert. Stop. And. Breathe.
It’s like focusing on the castle in the distance so as to distract from the scramble through the trees to get there.
Breathe because the likelihood is, if you are breathing at all, it will be shallow and short. Breathe out if you are holding your breath and breathe slowly and deeply if your lungs are set to quick fire panting mode. As your breath is exhaled allow the flow to focus your attention on where you are holding the most tension or contorted position. It might be your jaw, fists, shoulders, eyebrows, neck, toes. Do a mental body search to check things out.
Having identified the problem area ‘breathe out’ and attempt to let go of the tightness or strain. As you begin to feel the release of the tide in your body parts, start to move gently and slowly.
Moving gently and slowly
Make sure your weight is over your bum bones, drawer the back of your head away from your tail bone so you feel strong around your middle but ‘lighter’ around your head and neck.
Place your arms across your chest and bend to each side.
Place your arms across your chest and turn to the left and right, keeping your head in line with your elbows.
Reach your arms out and then above your head.
AND OR take a short stroll. Walk tall, again drawing the back of your head away from your tail bone so you feel strong around your middle but ‘lighter’ around your head and neck.
Longer term solutions
The stronger your muscles are that hold your pelvis and correspondingly your head and shoulders correctly, the greater the reduction in the strain and tension that is applied to them.
Prevention is usually better than cure so if your legs are weak, your buttocks a little on the droopy side and your back and neck and shoulders feel stiff and tight, try the following to help begin reversing the potential contribution this could be having in bringing on a headache.
Strengthen your thigh and buttock muscles by slowly standing up and sitting down (or as low as you can without your knees hurting)
Feel the muscles in your thighs working and repeat until they are tired.
Try massaging your scalp. The soft tissue over your head can become remarkably tight generating pressure which can contribute to headaches and migraines.
There is no definitive answer and I wish there was one I could give. However take hope from the fact that there is more unknown than is known about the causes of headaches and migraines. Given that nugget of information it opens up the opportunity and possibility for any one, or any combination of the above suggestions helping you out.