Three Ways to Eliminate a Tension HeadachesMar 11, 2021
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You’re minding your own business and notice that creeping, cramping sensation in the back of your head that slowly crawls its way to your forehead and eyes … like someone put a vise grip on your shoulders that’s somehow yanking on your skull… a tension headache is coming and you have a meeting coming up via Zoom.
Is that just me?
Tension Headaches are absolutely no fun, and most of us spend too much time under stress and in front of a laptop, cell phone or Netflix subscription to avoid them!
Because prevention is the cure, let’s start with ways you can keep them from striking :
- Reduce blue light exposure. Many glasses come these days with a blue light filter, but other ways you can tackle this assault on your eyes include:
- F.lux : Download this free app to your computer and let it manage the color of your screen throughout the day.
- Night and Dark Mode : Activate night mode on your smartphone and set it to run 24 hours/day to keep the blue light lower and the screen darker. In addition, activate dark mode to lower the “white” backgrounds.
- Check your posture! Make sure screens are at eye level and 18-24” away from you.
- Take rest breaks throughout the day. Even if you can’t nap, take 1-5 minutes to close your eyes, regulate your breathing and allow your thoughts to soften.
If you find yourself in the throes of a headache, start with these simple tools :
- Self-Massage -- use your fingers or a SOFT massage tool (not a hard ball!) to gently release the muscles often responsible for these headaches.
- Occiput : find the base of your skull, where the neck and head meet. Press your thumbs or two tennis balls in a sock gently into the tissues at the base of your head.
- Glutes : Yep! Your butt! Place the ball on a wall, and gently work from the top of your pelvis, down and out toward your thigh bone.
- Eyes : Lightly press your thumbs into the bones above and below your eyes, mindful not to press on the eyeball itself.
- Visual Rest -- your eyes work HARD! And the muscles around them can drastically impact neck tension.
- Eye Pillow : Laying on your back, place a weighted eye pillow over your eyes for 3-5 min. Feels extra good if it’s been in the fridge for a little while!
- Eye Cupping : Place your palms over your eyes, allowing the edges of your hands to surround the eye completely for 1-3 min. Try opening your eyes to see if any light is sneaking in and adjust if needed.
- Breathing Drills. Your diaphragm movement and oxygenation levels can drastically impact your posture, stress levels and brain’s access to fuel!
- Square Breathing : Inhale for 2-4 counts, holding at the top for an equal amount. Exhale for 2-4 counts, holding at the bottom for an equal amount. Repeat for 5-10 rounds, or as tolerable.
- Three Part Breathing : Let the inhale fill your pelvis first, lower and middle ribs second, and fill your chest third. Imaging filling a balloon from bottom to top. Exhale completely, letting the chest wall fully soften before pausing and repeating.
- Lateral Side Bend Breathing : Seated or standing, stretch one arm over your head and reach into a side bend. Perform three part breathing as explained above.
Remember - above all - that pain is your brain’s way of asking for some kind of change. (CLICK HERE for blog on pain/injury) That it’s not an assault, but an act of kindness letting you know that you need some care. Instead of responding with anger or frustration, simply give yourself the gift of loving attention and kindness, and look into what gentle changes you might need to make in your daily workload or stress bucket to help your brain feel safe in your environment.
If you’re struggling with general back pain or lots of tension headaches, be sure to register for Troy’s workshop March 20th at 10:00 am CST. We think this information is so important, that we set the price at only $10 for access to the livestream, handouts and after-the-fact recording!! CLICK HERE to save your spot!!
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