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Forget the Advil, Try These Steps to Relieve Headaches


Anatomy of Your Head

To understand the two main causes of headaches, and steps to take to relieve headaches, we need to first understand the anatomy of our head. Our skull is a combination of multiple bones that when put together, form a general circle and thus, a hard protective layer around our brain. On the outside of our skull, there are many muscles that surround the skull. These muscles on the outside have a direct connection to the muscles in our neck and shoulder blades.

Where tension headaches are, can tell you the root cause of the problem

  • Headaches in the forehead or back of the head, typically relate to problems with the function of the first vertebrae in the neck.
  • Headaches that are preceded by muscle pain in the mid part of the neck, are often caused by limited motion in the lower neck/upper back area.
  • Headaches happening more at the end of the day usually means poor muscle endurance and strength of the shoulder and upper back/neck muscles.

The World Health Organization (WHO), estimates that 47% of the world’s population suffers from headaches. Majority of people who experience headaches, take some form of medication to relieve them. However, there are many ways to alleviate headache pain without taking medication.

5 steps to Relieve Headaches:

  1. Improve blood chemistry with proper breathing: Take time throughout the day to stop what you are doing and focus on taking breaths in for 6 seconds and out for 8 seconds.
  2. Stretch you neck and chest: Stretch your chest by squeezing your shoulder blades together gently. Hold for 30 seconds and do 5 repetitions.
  3. Strengthen your mid and lower back muscles: When these muscles are weakened they can cause additional strain on neck muscles, which leads to headaches.
  4. Hydrate: Being dehydrated causes toxins to back up, increasing the tendency for headaches.
  5. Improve your posture


Measures such as aspirin, heating pads or massage will only bring temporary not lasting relief. If you’re dealing with headaches or have had reoccurring headaches in the past, call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center TODAY at 703-450-4300 to start handling that pain for good! CLICK HERE for more on how physical therapy can help. 

By: Mike Bills, MS PT, Angie Austin, LPTA

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