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Relieving Tension Headaches and Neck Pain

I think it’s safe to say that life has become a little tense for everybody over the recent weeks as we watch the latest news unfold, worry about what it means for us and more worryingly what it means for our loved ones.

As complementary health clinics close their doors in order to support the country in reducing the spread of Coronavirus; it is becoming more apparent that advice on how to help ease tension at home is needed. In clinic I was already seeing patients with tension headaches and muscular tension that was a direct result of stress and worry about the current pandemic. So; how can you get some relief from this while our clinics are not running? Fortunately there are a number of things that will help from stretches to release techniques and remembering good posture.

Aside from headaches occurring due to the stressful times that we are in, tension in the neck and shoulders is also a big cause of these headaches. The tension in these muscles occurs when we hitch our shoulder up when stressed, adopting poor posture and through general aches and pains associated with daily living. Tension in these muscles causes further tension in the base of the skull and pressure will lead to vice like tension headaches. Whenever I see people with recurrent headaches in clinic one of my first questions is ‘does the headaches feel like it is coming from the inside out or the outside in’. When the answer is from the outside in it is always the result of restriction (tightness/tension) in the Trapezius and neck extensor muscles. Soft tissue release and assisted stretching during treatments significantly reduce or resolve the patient’s symptoms. The good news is that there are some stretches and self-release techniques that you can do at home to help until our doors are open once again. See below link for a demonstration of these self help techniques.