(The Best Years in Life)
If you suffer from tension headaches,
your posture may be to blame. Around 90 percent of people in the United States
experience at least one tension headache during their lives that could last for
a whole week. Tension headaches are the most common type, leading to pain in the
neck, forehead, and behind your eyes. The exact reason why people get these mild
to moderate headaches is unknown, but poor posture, stress, and a lack of
exercise are believed to be contributing factors that are within your control.
It may seem
strange, but muscles that are under consistent strain or being stretched because
of bad posture might be why your head hurts, especially if the postural problems
are in your neck or shoulders. This could stem from sleeping in an unhealthy
position or spending a lot of time with your head jutted forward and shoulders
slumped, commonly seen in people who are in front of a computer or in a car. For
people who work with computers, eyestrain could also be a factor. Squinting to
read text can make your scalp muscles tense and give you a headache.
your posture, using reading glasses, and trying a new sleeping position might
all help to prevent headaches. Moving your keyboard closer to you so that your
shoulders don't roll forward while you reach for the keys and raising the screen
up to eye level so that your head doesn't tilt down or jut forward could help
improve your posture.
What is good
posture? If looking from the side, your ears should align with your shoulders,
your chin should be parallel to the floor, and your shoulder blades should be
retracted. If your body is used to being in a position when your head is
forward, in front of your shoulders, then you'll likely have a hard time
maintaining a correct position due to weak and tense muscles. Some simple
exercises can help fix what is known as the “forward head” position.
A 2006 study
found that participants who participated in a simple craniocervical flexion
exercise with an exercise band experienced decrease in tension headaches after
six weeks. To do this exercise, simply place the center of an exercise band
against the back of your head while it's in a forward position and then pull
your head back as you hold each end of the band tightly so that your neck
muscles are forced to work against the resistance. For best results, speak with
your doctor or an exercise specialist about how often to do this exercise, which
band to use, and how many times you should do it to avoid aggravating the
without an exercise band, you can use the floor or a wall. Lie on your back with
a rolled up towel behind your head and gently press the back of your head into
the floor. If that's too easy, try raising both of your arms as you press your
head back and also push the backs of your shoulders into the floor. A more
difficult variation is to perform the exercise seated with your back against a
looking for an even simpler solution, put your head in the ideal position
centered over your shoulders and then run a piece of tape across your forehead
and back on both sides to the top of your spine. This way, if your head starts
to slide forward you'll feel the pull on your skin.
might help prevent headaches, but even after a tension headache strikes,
improving your posture can ease the pain. Hot baths or showers to relax your
muscles or the application of a heating pad for five to 10 minutes might also
offer some relief. Some people respond better to an ice pack though cold
temperatures trigger headaches in some people.
Sárka-Jonae Miller is a health and fitness expert. She began working in the
fitness industry in 2000 while pursuing a BS in journalism at Syracuse
University. She became certified as a personal fitness trainer and group
exercise instructor in 2003. She has also received training in massage therapy.
Sárka also writes fiction. She is the author of the chick lit novel,
Boyfriends. Get more health and wellness tips on Sárka's
Natural Healing Tips
blog or join her on
Sarka-Jonae Miller's "Between Boyfriends eBook"
When "the one" breaks her heart, Jan vows
to change. Read the book Hollywood & Vine magazine says "presents a unique
twist on the chick-lit genre."
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