Stressed: Tension Headaches and Neck Strain

So it’s 11:30 am on Monday and it’s already been a nightmare of a day. You woke up late, your child forgot their lunch, you spilled coffee on your shirt, and you’ve been at the computer for 3 hours trying to get a project out by noon. Oh, and by the way your co-worker called in sick!  This is a recipe for a tremendous headache. What do you do? Take ibuprofen? Go home from work early? Cry?

First of all let’s rewind and realize why you probably have the headache. You started out stressed because you were late, your child forgot their lunch, you’re under the gun to get a project finished. Wow! That is a lot of stress! With stress our muscles tense up and tense or guarded muscles do not exchange nutrients very well causing you to become more tense until painful.  Finally, when you recognize the pain as tension you’ve got a full blown headache.  As we all know, when you have a headache it’s pretty hard to be productive. These types of scenarios happen to many of us.  There are many techniques and strategies you can use to handle these stressful situations. How you choose to handle it will greatly affect how you feel.

Try these relaxation techniques the next time you find yourself in this mess.

Diaphragmatic breathing: Close your eyes, recline in a chair, rest your head and focus on your breathing. Slowly breathe in protruding your belly as you fill your lungs with air. Allow all of the air to come out naturally through exhalation. Take 30 seconds to focus on this activity. Notice how the tension in your neck and shoulders decrease.

Pressure points: Take your middle knuckles, press into the muscles in the back of your neck on either side of your spine. Find the sore, tender areas below your skull. Press in firmly. Hold the pressure for 10-15 seconds or until the tenderness goes away. Feel the muscle releasing when you release the pressure.

Chin tucks: Sit tall in your chair, lengthen the back of your neck as much as you can by pressing your chin straight back towards the back.  Keep your head level, do not look up or down. Hold for 10 seconds.

Stop the head aches before they start. Recognize the signs and make a change. For more information on tension or cervicogenic headaches (headaches generated from neck) respond to this post with a comment or question.

Disclaimer: The information provided on Baudry Therapy Center ’s website and blog is presented for information and educational purposes only. This general information is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition nor to replace diagnosis or treatment by your healthcare professional. Before beginning light or moderate intensity physical activities, we encourage you to talk with your healthcare provider about health and exercise as part of your everyday routine. Baudry Therapy Center and it’s respective agents, heirs, assigns, contractors and employee’s will not be held liable for any injury incurred or exacerbated while performing any exercises, stretches, or any other activity related to the content and information available on this website.

Add Variety to Avoid Overuse Injuries

Variety, the spice of life.

Everything in moderation.

Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.

We all have heard these old adages. Usually from our mothers…such wisdom. When it comes to exercise, sports, and training these adages certainly hold true.

All too often we find ourselves treating people for overuse injuries.  Too much of even a good thing can cause problems. We see it in athletes, office workers and now even in kids who play year round sports! Repetitive motion can cause breaking down of muscles, tendons, and ligaments leading to soft tissue injury.

Although our bodies are very resilient and have an incredible capacity for healing, recovery and soft tissue repair takes time. Overuse injuries occur when the body’s recovery process is not able to keep up with the tissue break down occurring with the offending activity. Runners, tennis players, golfers, and even office workers often fall prey to these types of injuries.

To avoid injury, pay attention to the little warning signs. It may be just a little twinge with activity or an ache after activity. Do not ignore these signs! Rather, address the problem early on with professional advice.  Overuse injuries usually respond well to rest, physical therapy, and modified exercise provided the injury is caught soon enough.

Tips to avoid overuse injuries, add variety:

For office workers:  change up how you sit, use your mouse, where your phone sits, and how often you get up.

For runners:  spread your heavy runs out to allow time for recovery, lift weights (especially for the upper body), and add core exercises to your routine.

For tennis players and golfers:  hit less balls , add resistance training with core strengthening and other fitness activities to keep you conditioned.

For kids: be careful with year round sports, be a kid and enjoy a variety of activities and sports, and watch for signs of overuse.

So whether you’re an elite athlete, a housewife, or an office worker don’t let overuse injuries spoil your fun. Add variety to your workouts and stay healthy.

Do you have a specific question or comment on this topic? We would love to hear from you. We value your feedback so please feel free to leave a response below and we will gladly answer your questions.