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Are Headaches a Pain in Your Neck?
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Business Insights for Women
PNC INSIGHTS Magazine Spring/Summer 2014 Issue
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If nagging headaches sap your energy, adjusting your neck position might relieve the discomfort.

The number of headaches people suffer seems to be increasing along with the pace of modern life. But if you suffer from headaches and your doctor has ruled out serious disease, you may find long-term relief by having him or her check out your neck.

The vast majority of headaches - about 95 percent - are "primary" headaches, which means that they aren't symptoms of another potentially serious disease. Among primary headaches, muscle tension in the neck is by far the most prevalent cause and, typically, these pains in the neck can be quickly remedied. In fact, a 2001 study conducted by the Duke University Evidence-based Practice Center found that chiropractic spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate, and also long-lasting, improvement for headaches originating in the neck.

A chiropractor may use cervical manipulation, often called neck adjustment, to reduce muscle spasms and help you restore your neck's range of motion. However, the American Chiropractic Association suggests that you may be able to improve your neck's condition on your own by making a few simple lifestyle changes:

  • Eat to maintain a healthy weight, which reduces stress on your back and neck.
  • Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day to avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches.
  • Set aside time for low-impact exercise, such as walking, which can help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches.
  • Avoid heavy exercise if you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches.
  • Practice yoga, tai chi, meditation or another relaxation technique to ease muscle strain and tension in your neck and upper back.
  • If your job keeps you at a desk for long periods of time, take a break and stretch every 30 to 60 minutes. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.
  • At your desk, sit up straight and consciously drop your shoulders away from your ears to relax the muscles in your back.
  • Place your computer monitor about 24 inches in front of you, so that the top of the screen is at or just below eye level. Consciously realign your neck if you catch yourself jutting forward toward the computer.

 


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