A headache is a very common problem; millions of people of all ages get headaches at some point in their lives, some even have recurring headache problems. Headaches can cause unbearable discomfort and can grow into a migraine that can cause nausea and/or vomiting in addition to the extreme pain.
Excess tension in the neck muscles is probably the most common reason for neck pain. The muscles in the neck are all that protect the uppermost vertebrae of the spine, called the Atlas and the Axis. The skull rests on these vertebrae, and it is because of the Atlas and Axis that the head has such a wide range of motion.
This soreness of muscle can stem from a number of reasons: posture, overextension of the muscles, or even a misalignment in the spine. The pain in the neck area can often shoot forward and become interpreted as a headache. Headaches and neck pain could be triggered by stress, exhaustion, eyestrain, allergies, alcohol or drugs, poor position, hormones, low blood sugar, nutritional deficiencies, and even constipation.
Below are some great tips for healing headaches and neck pain.
- Acetaminophen, Aspirin, or Ibuprofen may treat the symptoms of the neck pain and headaches but they do not treat the cause. They are a temporary relief of pain.
- Sleeping on a firm mattress has been reported by many to reduce neck pain. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as it can put undue stress on your spine. Try to always sleep on your back and if you do sleep on your side, place a cushion between your legs to help keep your spine in a neutral position. Overall, there is no perfect sleeping position, listen to your body and sleep in a position that is most comfortable for you.
- Remaining in one position for a long period, like sitting at a desk or in front of a computer, can result in neck pain and development of headache symptoms. Many of us dedicate hours a day hunched over, staring at a computer screen (or perhaps, a smartphone). This position, with your head protruding, puts an extra 25-30 pounds of pressure on your throat. An easy way to release tension building up in your neck is to take a break every 30-60 minutes to stretch and maneuver your head and neck about in a circular motion.
- Doing yoga is a great method to relieve built up tension in your muscles throughout your body. Yoga is also know to help relax your mind and improve breathing, vitality and muscle power; it is also great for the circulatory system. If you feel a headache coming, try a few yoga poses like the downward facing dog or kids pose.
- See a chiropractor, specifically an upper cervical doctor. An upper cervical doctor specializes in the treatment of ailments that are the result of a misalignment in the neck vertebrae, the Atlas and Axis. Many times, the vertebrae have shifted from their neutral position because of an injury or body posture. Having your neck realigned can help eliminate headaches or even migraines, remove the pain you feel in your neck and even have residual effect on the rest of your body.