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Are Your Shoulders Giving You Headaches?

Did you know that 47% of the adult population will have a headache at least once within a year according to the World Health Organization? Forty-five million Americans complain of headaches each year, 8 million visit their doctor, and 3 million went to the emergency room, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Even minor headaches can be a nuisance that create stress, and can have significant social and emotional impacts – not only on the person suffering from headaches, but also on those around them. A majority of headaches are related to stress and tension and are typically of a mechanical nature. This means that the muscles and joints in the neck and shoulders are strained, causing irritation and spasms that trigger the headaches. They can be felt in the neck, shoulders, one side of the head or face and even the forehead.

The large shoulder muscles around the scapula (i.e., shoulder blades) play a large role in supporting the neck. Demonstrating proper posture, movement and strength to support surrounding neck and shoulder musculature is the key to maintaining a healthy neck. In today’s environment sitting at the computer, staring at mobile devices, sitting for prolonged periods and more, weakens the muscles of the shoulders and upper back.

What You Can Do To Relieve Tension Headaches:

  • Proper posture – Maintaining good posture while sitting, typing at a computer, standing and working all play a part in how you use your neck and shoulder muscles throughout the day. Take time to examine and make sure your posture is what it should be. Did you know that our therapists can help you with any ergonomic concerns or questions you may have?
  • Vary your tasks – If you sit for hours each day at a computer, make sure to give your muscles frequent breaks. You can do other productive tasks in standing or moving around the office. Or, you can get up and take a 2 minute walk every 1/2 hour to ensure that you are stretching and getting the blood flowing.
  • Exercise – Strengthen the muscles of the mid-back and areas surrounding the shoulder blades. Exercises such as rows and pull downs can help strengthen weakened postural muscles. Exercise also helps release endorphins (special stress and pain fighting hormones that the body makes naturally), which can counteract stress.
  • Handle your stress – Handle tasks and obligations one at a time and get them completed. Piling up tasks, even small ones, draws your attention to them and creates stress. Give yourself a much needed break and find some activities that relax you and make you happy.
  • Watch what you eat – Avoid foods, which can affect your body’s acidity level, including processed foods, excessive sugars, and high-fat meals. Eat healthier and drink more water to stay hydrated. Your blood chemistry will be more balanced throughout the day. In fact, a big cause of headaches is chronic dehydration, so keep a glass of water by your desk during the day and drink it frequently.

A little prevention can go a long way to relieving headaches. If you suffer from tension headaches, migraines or other forms of headaches, know that there is relief! Call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center today at 703-450-4300 for a neck, posture, strength, and mobility examination to pinpoint the exact cause of your headache. We will give you the tools to handle your headaches easily and effectively. Life doesn’t have to be a headache! With the right physical therapy you can get back to the activities you love to do, pain-free.

Continue to visit our website at http://www.loudounsportstherapy.com for the latest health tips and physical therapy research.

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