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Tension Headache Relief (In just 3 minutes!) Part 1- Episode 426

Video Highlights

- Understanding cervicogenic headaches
- Traction for the head and neck
- How to create an isometric neck rotation exercise

Today we’re going to start a quick series on dealing with what’s called cervicogenic headache. Now, cervical is the neck. Genic coming from genesis. So headaches that begin from the neck. Some people just call these muscle tension headaches.


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When we look at this a large contributor are the muscles at the very top of the neck that attach to the skull called the suboccipital muscles.

So today we’re going to do two exercises that are non-moving exercises, really. They’re just mobilizations. The big rule that you need to follow, whenever you’re doing any kind of neck work is be gentle.

You’re very close to the brain here. There are lots and lots of structures that are quite sensitive. So if you go too hard, it’s possible to actually give yourself a headache or make yourself not feel well.

So I want you to use very gentle motions. And in fact, the first two exercises that we’re going to do are pretty much focused on maybe moving a half-inch or a couple of centimeters at a time.

All right. So exercise number one is going to be a tractional movement. The way that we’re going to do this is we’re going to take our fist, or a ball, or a rolled-up towel, and we’re going to actually put it underneath our chin.

Now, I have my mic here. So I’m just going to show you, and then I’m going to take my hand away and you’re just going to imagine it for now. Alright, so my hand would be here. My chin is going to go down. I’m going to take my other hand, reach behind my head, and I’m going to find the grooves at the bottom of my skull. Now, from here what I like to have people do is look down.
So, take your eyes down toward your chest. You’re going to tuck your chin. At the same time, you’re going to lift your hand this way.

It’s going to be a very gentle mobilization, hold for 2 or 3 seconds. Relax and repeat. You want to do that four or five times and as soon as you’re done with that. You’ll feel some significant changes already in the amount of tension. I’m going to do that from the side so that you can see it.

So again, here chin is tucked. I’m holding the base of the skull. My chin goes down and I lift with my hand. All right, very, very simple. So, that’s exercise number one.

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Exercise number two is a non-moving exercise  This is going to be working more on rotation, aiding in headache relief. The way that we’re going to do this. First, I’m going to have you, check your right and left rotation and just notice if you feel more tension to the right, or more tension to the left because we’re going to reassess, in just a minute.

The way that we’re going to do this exercise is a cross with our hands. So I’m going to take my right hand. I’m going to grab the left side of my neck. I’m then going to take my left hand and grab the right side of my head, contributing to headache relief.

Alright, so basically my hand that’s on my neck is supporting the neck, stabilizing it, my other hand is going to resist rotation. So in other words, I’m going to gently try to rotate my head to the right, but I’m not going to let my head move. I’m going to hold it with my hand. Now, once I have a little bit of tension, I’m going to look to the right and come back, promoting headache relief. A little tension. Look to the right, come back, one more time. And just like the other one, very, very low tension, maybe three to five seconds, three to five reps.

After you’ve done that re-check your rotation. In many cases. It will feel much better and hopefully that will decrease the overall tension that you’re feeling, aiding in headache relief. So these are first two exercises in dealing with that cervicogenic headache relief.

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