I don’t know what the statistics would be for the number of Americans who have a headache on any given day, but I’ll bet the number would be staggering. In my practice, at least 80 per cent of the people who come to me for help have headaches as one of their most nagging problems. Very few of these folks have a serious underlying problem like disc problems, nerve injuries, etc. Almost all of them simply have muscles that have tightened to the point that the tension is creating pain in their head.
And it’s no wonder! Take a look at the people walking through the malls, grocery stores, etc. A large majority have posture that looks something like this: Back swayed, shoulders rounded forward, arms turned inward, neck pitched forward and head tilted upward so that they can see something other than the floor while they are walking.
This situation didn’t happen overnight. For many it has been caused by lurching forward to look at a computer. Others have spent years with their arms forward holding a steering wheel. More recently I’ve noticed the kids in middle school and high school already developing the problem. This is the cell phone text-messaging generation. Look at their posture while they are intently typing on these tiny devices. You’ll soon see what I mean.
The solution to this issue is not to tell yourself to “sit up straight” or “drop your shoulders”. A conscious effort to do this will only last as long as you are thinking about it. Once you are distracted, muscle memory takes over and you’re right back in the same old position.
Muscle tension and weakness has to be addressed through safe, methodical effective stretching and strengthening techniques. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve helped people to do the right things, and their headaches disappeared! No drugs masking the problem, just real, long-lasting solutions.
The problem with this idea is that it requires the individual to take responsibility for their situation and have the dedication to stay on track. As a massage therapist, I can affect the tissue at each visit, but unless they are coming back every day (not likely) their muscles may never be retrained.
So, try this. Have someone take some pictures of you in a standing, relaxed position. Take pictures facing forward, back, right and left. Look at the pictures together and make notes of your posture. Do your hands roll in front of you with your knuckles pointing forward? ? Is one shoulder higher than the other? Viewing from the side, is your neck jutting out and your head cocked back?
These are clues that you need to start doing some things to reverse the situation. If you are a headache victim, even migraines, I’ll bet that it will help.