Tense Neck and Shoulders Can Trigger Migraines – Fix It!

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A lot of people have dealt with migraines. A migraine is a severe headache that often comes with nausea, and sensitivity to either light or sound. Just writing this blog post reminds me of the last migraine I dealt with. Luckily for me, they don't give me nausea.

Migraines can be very debilitating for some people.  Just this month I spent an entire beautiful Saturday in bed dealing with my migraines.  No matter what pain medication I took, the pain just did not go away.  So, the moment I felt better, I took a moment to assess where my body stands and if stress could have caused this migraine.  Even though I am not super stressed these days I know it will do me good to focus on my neck, shoulders, and back this week.

So if you are on the same boat, check out the rest of this blog post and I hope it helps you!

What Causes a Migraine

There are different reasons why you may get a migraine. You could get one from having too much caffeine, poor sleep, stress and more. Some people experience pain on their face, neck, tenderness on the scalp, irritability and other things.

In this blog post, I am going to cover the effects that your neck and shoulders have on migraines.

More than likely, you will be:

-Seating (or standing) in front of the computer for 8-12 hours at work.
-Scrolling on your phone looking at social media, texting, or reading some news.
-Stressed from work or in general.

These activities take a toll on your neck muscles, upper back and shoulder muscles. These muscle groups will be extremely tense.

So why is this important?

Stress, Tension, Knots and Migraines

Well, if you have been a client of mine for a long time, you will always hear me say, “ the knots on your muscles are pinching your nerves and that is why (insert joint) hurts.

But when it comes to the top of the shoulder/neck muscles, those muscles are close to the brain. Knotted muscles pinch the nerves that shoot to the head and the brain.

There are 26 muscles in your neck. Those come in 10 pairs of two and two sets of three. Those muscles will be attached to various parts on your spine, skull, thoracic cage, and shoulder girdle.

So as you can imagine, as you build stress and tension, those muscles will start getting knots and pinching those nerves that aggravate your skull and brain. As it is getting more aggravated, those muscles will get tighter due to the ongoing stress.

So how do you address this?

Address the Muscle Knots

The thing you need to know is that when you get rid of the knots your muscles will relax. Once your muscles relax your pinched nerve will be relieved. Now, don’t confuse this with a pinched nerve on the spine. This is chiropractor territory and you should consult with one if this is a problem you are having. I have a few great chiropractors in the Austin area I can recommend to you.

Strengthen Your Muscles

Once the knots are released, you should strengthen the weak muscles. When you do that, your thoracic and cervical spine will be aligned giving you a better upper body posture.

This will also help with stress management because you will be exercising, releasing endorphins, and improving mental health.

Rest and Slow Down

Improving sleeping habits will also help a lot. So avoid caffeinated drinks, TV/Phone before bedtime, and get at least 7 hours of sleep.

Take Care of Your Diet

Taking care of your diet will address dietary deficiencies which will help reduce those triggers and disease. You may have some food sensitivity that you may not be aware of which could lead to those painful migraines.

Also, limit your caffeinated drinks. Caffeine will dehydrate you and could trigger a migraine. Or if you become very addicted to caffeine, when you skip the caffeine, it may trigger a migraine.

Drinks high in sugar will inflame your joints causing you some aches as well. For best results, drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep you hydrated!

Trust the Process

By avoiding stressors and triggers you can potentially avoid migraines. When you strengthen your neck, shoulders, and upper back, you can also avoid migraines. Now, if you have severe or chronic migraines, get with your doctor.

We can work together with your doctor to come up with a plan that works for you. If you have any questions about this, contact me!

Online personal trainer and personal trainer for Austin TX - Rafael Ortiz

Rafael Ortiz

Corrective Exercise Specialist

Rafael has been in the health and fitness industry since 2006.  He is certified by the NASM & insured.

Areas of Expertise

Joint Pain Relief, Post-Rehab Personal Training, Posture Correction, Weight Loss, Nutrition, Strength Training, Core and Balance, Flexibility and Mobility, Muscle Gain, Posture, TRX, Functional Training, Myofascial Release, Cardiovascular Conditioning, Injury Prevention, Stress Reduction, Corrective Exercise, Golf


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