Health Blog

5 Powerful Steps to Relieve Headaches

headaches

The World Health Organization determines that 47% of the population will suffer from headaches at least one time this year. For many, headaches become a way of life, having to take over-the-counter medication on a frequent basis just to get through the day. However, it does not have to be this way, if you understand some of the fundamental concepts that trigger headaches.

While a headache is in itself a complicated condition that involves the misfiring of thousands of nerve endings, the most common causes of headaches are actually problems with the function of the muscles in the upper neck. The upper neck is one of the most complicated areas of the body with many muscles, complex joints, major arteries, spinal cord, and balance sensors.

 

What can go wrong


With our everyday chaotic lives, huge stress is demanded on our body, not only mechanically, but mentally also. Mental stress changes hormone production in the body, increases muscle tension, and decreases the threshold for pain tolerance. Mechanical and mental stresses go hand in hand to set you up for common neck pain and headaches.

 

5 Steps to Relieving Headaches

  1. Improve blood chemistry with proper breathing –Without knowing it, daily stress causes you to breathe shallower. This increases the carbon dioxide concentration in your blood, changing the pH of your blood slightly. This can throw off the delicate balance of thousands of normal chemical processes in your body. Take time throughout the day to stop what you are doing and focus on taking breaths in for 6 seconds and out for 8. Use your diaphragm muscle instead of your shoulder muscles, by making your belly expand.
  2. Stretch your chest and neck – In sitting positions at a computer, the tendency is to slouch, bringing the shoulders forward, weakening the upper back muscles, while tightening the chest and neck muscles. Take time to stretch your chest by squeezing your shoulder blades together gently, while keeping your neck relaxed. Hold for 30 seconds and do at least 5 repetitions repeating this exercise throughout the day.
  3. Strengthen your mid and lower back muscles – With prolonged sitting the mid and lower back muscles weaken. This causes additional strain on the neck muscles and makes you prone to cervicogenic headaches. There are specific exercises to help you build these weakened areas. Talk to your physical therapist about which exercise program can help you target and strengthen these areas.
  4. Hydrate – The vast majority of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Many sodas, coffees and teas are diuretics, which cause your body to eliminate water. The brain requires a certain level of hydration to function properly and remove normal wastes. Being dehydrated causes these toxins to back up, increasing the tendency for headaches. Don’t wait until you are thirsty, as this is a sign of severe dehydration. Drink water consistently throughout the day in adequate volumes for your weight and size.
  5. Improve your posture – The further protruded your neck becomes, the greater the weight and tension on your neck muscles. In proper posture, your head is balanced on your neck at about 10-12 pounds. With forward head posture, this can actually increase to the equivalent of 60 pounds of strain on your neck muscles throughout the day. No wonder you get a headache at the end of the day! Physical therapists are trained to examine your posture and work on specific hands-on techniques and exercises to restore normal alignment of your spine.

 

These 5 steps can go a long way to prevent your headaches from starting, and the need for taking medications that have long-term side-effects. To learn more about how we help relieve headaches and neck pain, while improving your neck mobility and strength, contact Orthopedic and Balance Therapy today.

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Our Reviews
Barbara Serynek
Barbara Serynek
18:52 03 Oct 19
The entire staff has been very pleasant, professional and accommodating. Both Kristen and Joe have given me the best massages. Kate and Kollin made sure that I was doing my excercises and helped to move things along. Feeling better every visit. I'm so glad that I chose Orthopedic & Balance.
Heidi Richardson
Heidi Richardson
17:00 19 Sep 19
I went to physical therapy not expecting it to do very much to help because that’s the way I approach everything with low expectations. Noel and his team have made my neck feel so much better that it puts me in a more positive mood each day and I actually feel more positive and more productive on a day-to-day basis..
Christine O'Donnell
Christine O'Donnell
16:26 14 Aug 19
I could barely walk into OBTS six weeks ago. I had very bad lower back and hip pain. The progress has been life changing for me. I always walk out of there with little or no pain. The staff, Laura, Dr Diane, Angie and, of course, Peggy, have taught me so much to keep my pain at bay. I highly recommend this team.
Nancy Guenther
Nancy Guenther
15:28 12 Jul 19
Absolutely awesome! My walking has improved 110%. And my pain level is zero. I highly recommend them. Go....you will be amazed how much better you feel.
Tracie Baxter
Tracie Baxter
20:24 03 Jul 19
This was the only place that could help with my TMJ. If you’re suffering from TMJ go see Noel! He really understands the condition. I no long have to deal with constant pain! The whole staff at this office is amazing and very welcoming.
Cindy Standiford
Cindy Standiford
21:33 28 Jun 19
The whole team is great!! I’m getting great care! I recommend Orthopedic & Balance for any issues you might have.
Joseph Mulholland
Joseph Mulholland
19:53 09 May 19
Amazing staff and amazing care. I came in barely able to stand up straight due to a back injury. After 6 weeks, I feel like brand new. Everyone was extremely helpful and easy to work with. Highly recommended!
Trool u
Trool u
19:44 24 Apr 19
I am a PTA student that was required 16 hours of observation time. I had the pleasure of completing my hours at this Valpo location. The staff is incredibly friendly. They were quick to make me feel at home. In a way I was sad to leave, but happy to continue on. I hope to eventually work in this field with a work family this caring and knowledgeable about their profession.
sharon Kramer
sharon Kramer
16:23 18 Apr 19
My experience has been a very enjoyable and rewarding experience in getting me to feeling better. The staff does a remarkable job and are fully qualified in their respective areas. The staff made it fun coming here and they were very caring and helpful with their clients!!
Tim Nash
Tim Nash
15:32 27 Aug 18
My first experience with OBTS was very positive. During the course of my 13 therapy sessions I worked with many different therapists and all of them were professional and competent. They were able to help me effectively control my pain without medication using their therapy program. Unfortunately, they could not get my physical condition back to the same ability as before. However, this is due to the fact that it was later determined by my doctors that I required surgery. I plan on returning to OBTS for my post-op physical therapy and have already scheduled my evaluation appointment. Scheduling seems to be a challenge sometimes but that's probably an indication of their patient's satisfaction and good reviews. Thank you OBTS!
Arlene Gross
Arlene Gross
15:58 22 Jun 18
Everyone that worked with me was helpful. I enjoyed watching the staff interact as they worked as they laughed and smiled making me feel that it was fun to exercise. My knee pain is less and I look forward to having the same results with my back.
Jose Ico
Jose Ico
12:43 27 Apr 18
My wife and I have been coming here for a year. They have wonderful customer service and the treatments were great. I could say that since coming here for treatments, I am now able to walk properly and sleep well at nights. They help you in the best way possible. The people here are great and we definitely recommend it to everyone!
Paul Grant
Paul Grant
21:51 03 Apr 18
I have read lots of reviews that say "the entire staff of ..." is great, and you know that it is BS.. .. Butt at OBTS that statement is true. The person answering the phone, appointment setting they work around my schedule. It is truly a team concept. Everyone that has work with/on me keeps me focus on getting healthy to play golf.... Even those employees that haven't work with/on me are upbeat, positive and encouraging both their patients and me..... follow up phone calls, positive, hand written notes of encouragement, reminding me to do my homework so I can play golf this year. Great Employees, Great Business!.
Diane Burns
Diane Burns
02:30 16 Mar 18
I’ve had an incredible experience here at OBTS. In just two and half weeks I’ve seen and felt remarkable results. My hip mobility has improved by 30%. I credit the excellent physical therapists and the deep tissue laser therapy for my gains. I’ve gone from walking with a limp and pain everyday to walking normally and know that I’ll be back to running in the future. Every single person is warm and friendly here. Great place!
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