Activities to Avoid or Change
Avoid the activities that aggravate this like jutting your chin forward to look at the computer screen, bobbing your head up and down as when discussing the expensive wine list or craning your head up to paint the crown molding. If you watch videos of people painting crown molding, You’ll see that most of them stand on a stool so that their head is almost level with the molding.
If you’re a yoga practitioner, you should avoid headstands until you get these headaches under control. I’ve had a number of clients that have reactivated this headache with headstands.
Sometimes, this is activated by overstretching the top of the neck. If this is your case, avoid the stretches below and focus on the icing suggestions below. Also, work into this stretch over a longer time.
This problem often responds well to icing and stretching.
Try using an Ice Pack
It’s simple and often works, especially when you have overstretched by tucking your chin to read. Place an ice pack at the base of your head so that it covers the area between your head and neck.
Click here for guidelines on using an ice pack safely and effectively.
Ice-and-Stretch offers more effective relief.
If you’re not familiar with it, you can read about it in this post before you try these stretches.
Ice along the base of your head. Just enough to shock it a little and then stretch it 4 times like this. Focus on tucking your chin so that you bend at the top of your neck, not the bottom of your neck. IF you do this right, you should feel it pulling the skin into your upper back.
Next, ice along the right side of the base of your head from that bump in the middle around to your ear. Now, look to the right and tilt your head forward and to the left, stretching the area you just iced. 4 times.
Now, for the other side, ice along the left side of the base of your head from that bump in the middle around to your ear. Now, look to the left and tilt your head forward and to the right, stretching the area you just iced. 4 times.
Here’s a video where I start with those stretches and have a few more at the end. Those additional stretches release some tension on the vagus nerve and will help you to get greater relief if you take and extra 90 seconds to do them.
Your neuromuscular therapist has better strategies to work in this area. It helps to balance the atlas and correct Forward Head posture. There are other things that your bodyworker will do to create better postural correction and longer-lasting relief.
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