Have you ever had a headache so bad it’s made you want to hide and crawl under a dark blanket?
Headaches and migraines can be annoying. They often feel like they come from nowhere and can ruin your day.
But did you know this? Headaches and migraines can actually come on because of shoulder and/or neck pain? Usually because those muscles are tense most of the time!
If you have suffered with neck and/or shoulder pain or have experienced tension in your neck, often the pain can travel up from your shoulders and/or neck to the top of your neck where your spine meets the back of your head.
This can sometimes make your head feel heavy. If the pain persists, then it is very likely to cause a headache.
Something to consider when thinking about headaches and migraines is how you eat. Some foods such as aged cheese, salty and processed foods can provoke a headache or migraine. Don’t think it’s only food though!…
Highly caffeinated drinks and alcohol can also bring them on. As a nation of tea drinkers it’s almost in our blood to drink tea!
On average, we are supposed to be having up to 3 caffeinated drinks a day. Any more, may play a strong part in getting that annoying headache or migraine we all hate so much!
I’m going to let you in on a little secret here, that might take you by surprise…
Did you know that you can get warning signs, 1-2 days beforehand of an upcoming migraine?
This might be quite tricky, depending when you last had one, but can you think about how you were feeling a few days before your last headache or migraine?
Some of these subtle signs could be:
- Drastic mood changes
- Unusual food cravings
- Neck stiffness (like I’ve just mentioned above!)
- Increased thirst
- Frequent yawning
This could be a simple way to ease headaches and migraines, however if you don’t get any warning signs then don’t worry!
Here’s a few other ways on how to ease them, without the use of painkillers!
Heat therapy– This is something that is very simple to do and some of you have probably already done some form of this without realising! Heat therapy is applying heat to where it hurts, in this instance, your head.
Another form of heat therapy would be having a hot soak in the bath or having a hot shower. If you would prefer to apply heat directly to the pain then here’s a quick tip I use…
This may sound funny but apply a hand warmer to where it hurts. They are cheap enough to buy and all you have to do is crack the hand warmer for it to heat up.
They normally come in a cloth pouch so you won’t scold yourself and it’s the perfect size. Think of it as an ice pack for your face, but hot!
Physiotherapy is one of the best ways of getting rid of a headache and migraine. The reason? A lot of the time your headache and/or migraine pain is coming from elsewhere such as your shoulders or neck.
Although you could go and see a beautician for a massage or go to a spa even, the beauticians don’t apply the right pressure to ease the pain. This isn’t their fault, they’re just not trained in this field…
…Whereas Physios are! Once a physio has eased your shoulder and/or neck pain, there’s a strong chance that you will notice your headache or migraine has eased, if not gone!
Muscle relaxation exercises are also a great way to ease headaches and migraines. Muscle relaxation exercises include exercises such as Yoga, neck stretching and even meditation!
These help in a similar way that physiotherapy does; it eases the root cause of your pain. Again if your muscles are relaxed, there is a stronger chance that your headache or migraine will be eased. This is because your muscles are not tensed anymore and are in a more relaxed state.
This is key to easing headaches and migraines and often gets overlooked, so listen up! A great tip is to keep your sleeping patterns consistent.
Try to get between 7-8 hours sleep a night and you’ll be good, but make sure it’s on a regular basis. Changing your sleeping pattern can leave your body confused and can sometimes compensate by sleeping more one day, if the day before you woke up tired.
Keep a headache or migraine diary. It may seem obvious but this is always a good way to go. Not only will you have the chance of seeing what causes your headaches, but you will be able to see if you get any warning signs a few days before. It’s a win win situation!
Create a daily routine you can stick to. By creating a routine, you will be organised and be less likely to get overwhelmed or stressed with any tasks you need to complete.
With that in mind, be realistic with your routine as it needs to be something you can stick to. Having a daily routine also gives your body an indication of when to eat. This helps so that you’ll never skip a meal which can sometimes result in headaches and migraines too.
So there you have it! Try keeping that headache or migraine diary and see if you are able to find out what’s truly causing yours if it’s not neck or shoulder pain.
Remember to keep to a daily routine and keep your sleep patterns regular and you’ll be pain-free before you know it!
For more tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and keeping mobile free from painkillers take a read of my book The Healthy Habit which is available for you here: http://www.thehealthyhabitbook.com
You might know Paul as an expert Columnist who writes weekly health articles for TWO of the North East's biggest daily Newspapers, The Northern Echo And The Hartlepool Mail, he is a regular Speaker at Industry Seminars around the globe and a Radio Personality, often heard on the BBC. Paul has been an expert guest on dozens of Radio shows and regularly interviewed in newspapers, magazines and trade journals all over the world, including the Guardian.
Paul’s background included working extensively in the Premier League with a Top Professional Football Team, and since quitting his job in Professional Football in 2007, his Physio Practice has become the fastest growing in the UK and biggest in the North East. So successful, that companies like BUPA, ASDA, The Vela Group And Coast & Country, repeatedly retain his Physio company's services to keep healthy their own staff and workforce. Paul Gough Physio Rooms is now a large multi-physio, multi clinic speciality practice in Darlington, Durham, Guisborough and Hartlepool.
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