Headaches can be incredibly debilitating, affecting our daily lives and ability to do the things we love. Fortunately, there are natural methods to alleviate headache symptoms without relying solely on medication. I'd like to share a couple of my favorite exercises today when I'm experiencing a headache or neck tension.
For these you will need three pieces of equipment:
-A foam roller
1. Sub-Occipital Release: The sub-occipital muscles are a group of small muscles located at the base of the skull, often responsible for tension headaches. Dr. Hillman's first favorite exercise involves releasing tension in these muscles.
Find a comfortable seated or lying position.
Place your fingers at the base of your skull, just above your neck.
Apply gentle pressure and begin to massage the area with small circular motions.
As you encounter tight or tender spots, hold the pressure for a few seconds, allowing the muscles to relax.
Continue massaging for a few minutes, gradually working your way around the entire area.
2. Foam Roller Roll Outs: Foam rolling is a popular technique used to release tension in muscles and fascia. Dr. Hillman recommends foam roller roll outs to target the upper back and neck muscles, which can contribute to tension headaches.
Place a foam roller on the ground and lie down with the roller positioned horizontally under your upper back.
Gently support your head with your hands, but avoid putting too much pressure on your neck.
Engage your core muscles and use your feet to push your body back and forth, allowing the foam roller to massage your upper back.
Focus on any areas of tightness or discomfort, spending extra time on those spots.
Perform the roll outs for 5-10 minutes, breathing deeply and relaxing into the movements.
3. Self-Myofascial Release of Rhomboids: The rhomboid muscles are located between the shoulder blades and can harbor tension that contributes to headaches. Dr. Hillman's third exercise involves using a tennis ball or massage ball for targeted myofascial release.
Incorporating these exercises into your routine can help reduce muscle tightness, alleviate stress, and provide natural relief from headaches. Remember to listen to your body and perform these exercises gently, gradually increasing intensity as your muscles adapt. If you are tired of experiencing nagging headaches, neck pain or facial pain reach out today for a complimentary headache consultation!