Do you find yourself with a nagging neck or headache, especially after a long day or stressful event? The American Academy of Pain Medicine reports that neck pain and severe headaches or migraines make up about 30% of all commonly reported pain conditions. There are many reasons for neck pain, but the majority of episodes are caused by the following:
- Poor posture
- Weak shoulder and neck muscles
While many of us will take over the counter medication, such as Advil, to numb the pain, the main source of the problem is still present. This will cause repeating episodes that can become worse and worse with time. If you have to take medication more than 2-3 times a week for neck pain or headaches, then you need to do something about it.
Here are simple solutions to nagging neck pain or headache problems:
- Increase your shoulder strength. Focus on increasing the strength in the muscles of the middle back. Typically the lower and middle trapezius muscles become weak, making the upper trapezius muscles overwork and become very tight.
- Improve your posture. The center of gravity through your body actually starts at the upper part of your neck. If you sit slouched at a computer during the day or hunched over a desk, your neck muscles have to hold the weight of your head up for extended periods. Overtime, the muscles in the middle back become stretched out and weak, making the muscles of the neck overwork. This causes the neck muscles to become tight and irritated.
- Improve your flexibility. Over 60% of the ability to turn your head comes from the upper neck. This is an area that becomes tight with poor posture, thus losing mobility and flexibility. Perform gentle stretching exercises throughout the day. Our physical therapy experts can show you the right exercises to help you.
- Drink enough water. Many headaches are actually triggered by dehydration. Even though you may drink coffee, sodas or energy drinks, these types of drinks actually cause you to lose water throughout the day. Water is needed to keep your muscles well hydrated and your brain functioning normally. Keep a bottle of water within reach throughout the day and sip away.
- Get professional help. If you find yourself with an aching neck or upper back on a frequent basis, you should seek the help of a physical therapist. Aches and pains are your body’s way of telling you of an underlying problem. Dealing with chronic neck pain can lead to chronic changes in your bones and muscles over time, making the problem much worse. Our physical therapists examine your posture, alignment, stability, flexibility and strength to find the cause of your neck pain or headache. Our soothing physical therapy treatments then help quickly relieve your pain, restore your flexibility, posture and strength.
There is much that can be done to relieve your neck pain, headache or migraine. Physical therapy is the first line of natural treatment to a successful recovery. Discover how our back and neck program can give you the relief you deserve without the need for pills. Contact Washington Physical Therapy today to speak with one of our specialists about your pain.