Updated: Jun 15
Have you ever had a headache so bad it’s made you want to hide and crawl under a dark blanket?
Headaches and migraines can be annoying. They often feel like they come from nowhere and can ruin your day.
But did you know this? Headaches and migraines can come on because of shoulder pain or neck pain? Usually, because those muscles are tense most of the time!
If you have suffered from neck or shoulder pain or have experienced tension in your neck, often the pain can travel up from your shoulders or neck to the top of your neck where your spine meets the back of your head.
This pain can sometimes make your head feel heavy. If the pain persists, then it is very likely to cause a headache.
Something to consider when thinking about headaches and migraines is how you eat. Some foods, such as aged cheese, salty, and processed foods, can provoke a headache or migraine. Don’t think it’s only food, though highly caffeinated drinks and alcohol can also bring them on. As a nation of caffeine drinkers, it’s almost in our blood to drink coffee, tea and soda!
On average, we are supposed to be having up to 3 caffeinated drinks a day. Any more may play a substantial part in getting that annoying headache or migraine we all hate so much!
I’m going to let you in on a little secret here, that might take you by surprise. Did you know that you can get warning signs, 1-2 days beforehand of an upcoming migraine?
This warning sign might be quite tricky, depending on when you last had one, but can you think about how you were feeling a few days before your previous headache or migraine?
Some of these subtle signs could be:
Drastic mood changes
Unusual food cravings
Neck stiffness (like I’ve just mentioned above!)
Early recognition could be a simple way to ease headaches and migraines; however, if you don’t get any warning signs, then don’t worry!
Here are a few other ways on how to ease them, without the use of pain pills!
This is very simple to do, and some of you have probably already done some form of this without realizing it! Heat therapy is applying heat to where it hurts, in this instance, your head.
Another form of heat therapy would be having a hot soak in the bath or having a hot shower. Using a moist heat pack can be effective as well. A moist heat pack mimics the warm water effect that helps to relax muscles.
Another option for applying heat directly to the pain (it may sound funny), to apply a hand warmer to where it hurts. Hand warmers are cheap enough to buy, and all you have to do is crack the hand warmer for it to heat up. Use a cloth pouch or towel layers so you don’t scold yourself. Think of it as an ice pack for your head, but hot!
Physical therapy is one of the best ways of getting rid of a headache or migraine. The reason? A lot of the time, your migraine pain can stem from elsewhere such as your shoulders or neck.
Although you could go and see a beautician for a massage or go to a spa even, the beauticians don’t apply the right pressure to ease the pain. It isn’t their fault; they’re just not trained in this field.
However, physical therapists are! Once a physical therapist has eased your shoulder or neck pain, there’s a strong chance that you will notice your headache or migraine has reduced, if not gone!
Muscle relaxation exercises are also a great way to ease headaches and migraines. Muscle relaxation exercises include activities such as Yoga, neck stretching, and even meditation!
These help in a similar way that physical therapy does; it eases the root cause of your pain. Again if your muscles are relaxed, there is a stronger chance that your headache or migraine will subside. This easing of pain is because your muscles are not tensed anymore and are in a more relaxed state.
Here is the key to easing headaches and migraines and often gets overlooked:
A great tip is to keep your sleeping patterns consistent.
Try to get between 7-8 hours sleep a night, and you’ll be useful, but make sure it’s regular. Changing your sleeping pattern can leave your body confused and can sometimes compensate by sleeping more than one day if the day before you woke up tired.
Keep a headache or migraine diary. It may seem obvious, but this is always an excellent way to go. Not only will you have the chance of seeing what causes your headaches, but you will be able to see if you get any warning signs a few days before. It’s a win-win situation!
Create a daily routine you can stick to and be consistent with performing. By creating a habit, it will help keep you organized and be less likely to get overwhelmed with any tasks you need to complete.
Consider Intravenous (IV) Therapy to help manage migraines and headaches. IV therapy may help aid in migraine relief in a few different ways. Studies have shown that IV therapy can help with migraines and headaches because of the ingredients, electrolytes, and general hydration used.
With that in mind, be realistic with your routine as it needs to be something you can complete. Having a daily habit also gives your body an indication of when to eat, which helps so that you’ll never skip a meal which can sometimes result in headaches and migraines too.
Are you looking to try treating yourself?
Here are a couple of "self-help" tools I commonly recommend to my patients to use in treating their neck or shoulder pain. Thera Cane and CranioCradle. If you need more information or would like to find out ways to use the Thera Cane or CranioCradle please contact us and we can discuss your situation.
If you are looking for neck exercises and stretches to help ease your neck pain and stiffness watch this video that I have created:
So there you have it! Try keeping that headache or migraine diary and see if you can find out what’s genuinely causing yours if it’s not the neck or shoulder pain. Remember to keep to a daily routine and keep your sleep patterns regular, and you’ll be pain-free before you know it!
As mentioned, physical therapy is an effective alternative in addressing migraine headaches and neck issues. Working on addressing areas that may be contributing to the problem as it relates to limiting restful sleep and other daily activities due to suffering from migraine headaches. If you or your loved one is suffering from migraines or headaches, it is highly recommended to consult a medical professional to discuss the problem.
Physical therapy will be an excellent solution for your current situation. If you live in the Greater Milwaukee area and would like to learn more about how physical therapy or a trained physical therapist can help you, please reach out to us by emailing email@example.com or if you would like to arrange a FREE phone call with a physical therapist CLICK HERE.
Talk more soon!!
P.S. If you’re experiencing migraines or headaches which restrict your ability to function at an optimal level, click here to download our neck pain tips report which includes actionable tips we give to our patients at Prestige Therapy and Wellness, LLC. Click here to get your free copy!!