Headache Relief Without Drugs
If I can summarize one thing about taking care of patients in 2020 and 2021, it would be that everybody is pretty stressed out. How can I tell? Well, besides the global pandemic, the economic recovery, the recent heat wave, and generally anything on the news, many of you are now coming in with complaints of headaches. Particularly, you are experiencing “stress headaches”, the kind of headache that starts in the back of the head and moves to the top and sides of the head.
How to get rid of headaches naturally, without taking pain medications.
Stretching – The muscles in the back of your head are called your “suboccipital muscles”. When these muscles get tight, often due to stress, they compress the space between the back of your skull and the top vertebra in your neck, which pinches your nerves, causing pain, inflammation, further muscle tightening and headaches. Below is a picture on how to stretch these muscles properly. I recommend you do 3-5 repetitions of these 3 times a day to help prevent the muscles from getting tight in the first place.
To massage tight muscles try this:
Tennis Ball- Another way to get these pesky muscles to relax is by using a tennis ball. Lay flat on the ground with your knees bent and place a tennis ball just behind your left ear, in the area to the left of your spine and under your skull. Next, you want to gently turn your head to the left and then back to the right. Repeat this movement several times as you should feel the ball massaging over the tight muscles (you might need to lightly support the ball with your left hand to keep it in place). Be sure to do this on the right side as well.
Ice- When those nerves get irritated, they get inflamed, adding fuel to the headache fire. Lay down on your bed and place an ice pack (covered in a paper towel- do not place it directly on your skin) on the back of your head, right where the neck and skull meet. Lay on the ice for 10-15 minutes and you should feel the pain decrease.
Align the spine
Get Adjusted – When the occiput and upper neck lock up- getting the area adjusted and moving properly can and often very quickly calms the nerve and reduces or eliminates the headache. I have had several patients recently come in with a headache and leave without one when this area is causing the pain.
If the stress gets too much and you find yourself with a stress headache, try these tips for some quick relief.
Thanks for letting me be your chiropractor and I look forward to serving you again soon.
In Good Health,