Do you find yourself massaging your temples during the day because it hurts? Or the back of your head? Do you feel throbbing pain on your head and neck? Are you finding that you are get more number of headaches? Well you may be someone who is suffering from tension headaches.
30% to 80% of people suffer from occasional tension headaches. It is the most common type of headaches. Females tend to have more tension headaches than men. It is usually explained as a “band around the head, neck and scalp”. Usually the pain is on both sides of the head, but tension headaches can occur on one side as well. Though tension headaches are also called “stress headaches”, stress is not the only cause of these headaches.
Common causes of tension headaches are stress, poor posture, tight muscles in the head/neck/shoulders area, hunger, lack of sleep and anxiety. Though many people contribute these headaches mainly to the stresses of life, you will be surprised how much poor posture, stationary positions and muscle imbalances in the head/neck/shoulder region can cause headaches. Many of us spend hours on the computer whether it is for work or for leisure. The static sitting while using the computer is hard on our necks. On average, a human head weighs approximately 12 pounds. So you can imagine, your neck is working hard to keep your head in that static position. Not to mention that most of us don’t have good postures while sitting nor is our computer desk setup ergonomically correct for us. Your muscles are eventually going to get very sore and tight. Ultimately leading to tension headaches.
So here are some things that can help with those nuisance headaches:
- Check your computer desk setup. Are you looking down at your computer monitor? If you are sitting up comfortably, the computer screen should be just below your eye level. Are your hands/shoulders lifted up because your keyboard is too high on your desk? If you shoulders are completely relaxed by your side, and your elbows bent 90 degrees. Where your hands are, is where the keyboard should be. This will lessen the tension in the shoulder and neck muscles. Are you using a laptop? If you use a laptop as a main computer, it is best if you purchase a laptop raiser to place the screen in an optimal position. Add a secondary keyboard and mouse to the laptop, then you will find that you aren’t hunched over the laptop and have much less headaches.
- Don’t sit for more than 30 minutes without getting up for a minute. Sitting is the worse position to be in for your neck and back. That minute you take to get off your chair can make a difference of having a headache and not. If you find yourself having a difficult time remembering to change position, just setup a timer for every 30 minutes. Before you know it, your body will remember automatically to change positions!
- At least 2-3 times in the workday, check your posture and stretch. Make sure that you sitting up tall with your belly button gently in. If you find yourself slouching often, you may want to invest in an ergonomic chair or a lumbar support. A good simple stretches are to raise your arms above your head and try to reach for the ceiling, then your reach forward while curving your upper back and then reach backwards. Hold each position for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times.
- Make sure you have a water bottle by you. You need at least 8 cups of water to keep you hydrated. By having a water bottle close to you, helps you get those 8 cups.
- Make sure you have a stress reliever activity. Life can have many stresses. However, you can help yourself by having stress reducing activities. Find what helps you reduce stress and put that into your daily routine to keep your stress level in check.
If you find that you are still having tension headaches after doing the above, you may need more specialized care to address your pain. You shouldn’t have to go through your day with headaches. Find relief and consult a qualified physical therapist near you. PHYSIO Physical Therapy and Wellness in Asheville, NC has a special program to help relieve your headaches. Call today to schedule an appointment or to learn more: (828) 348-1780.
Christopher Taylor, Physical Therapist
PHYSIO Physical Therapy and Wellness
640 Merrimon Avenue, Suite 107
Asheville, NC 28804