Best Stretches For Migraine/Headache Relief


Does your productivity at work diminish due to frequent, throbbing headaches? 

How often have you had your plans ruined due to an excruciating migraine? 

Ever wake up with a headache after what you thought was a restful night of sleep? 

How many of your nights after a long day of work are plagued with headache pain? 

If you suffer from frequent headaches or migraines, chances are you’ve sought relief in just about any and every way. 

But, did you know that something as simple as a few stretches may bring you the relief you so desperately seek?

Getting to the root cause of your headaches and migraines can help you avoid triggers. But, aside from those triggers, chances are your headaches stem from pressure…pressure that can easily be released with a few simple stretches that can prevent and relieve painful headaches and migraines! 


What Causes Headaches/Migraines?

To find the cause of most headaches and migraines, we need to take a long look at the spine. 

The nerves that are housed in the spinal column can be on the receiving end of excessive pressure when the muscles and joints in and around your neck and shoulders become too tight. 

The pressure put on these nerves then results in pain for you, typically in the forehead or around the back of the eyes. 

From previous trauma, to stress, to poor posture throughout the day, and as you sleep at night, the tightening of the muscles in your neck and shoulders can mean headaches and migraines that range from annoying to severe, even debilitating, pain. 

Other causes of headaches and migraines include: 

  • Anger – Built up anger can cause the muscles in both your neck and the back of your head to tense up, putting pressure on the nerves at the top of your spine, resulting in a headache. 
  • Strong Fragrances – Sometimes the chemicals found in perfumes, soaps, or household cleaning products can cause headaches. 
  • Weather – Changes in weather can cause headaches as the barometric pressure changes in the atmosphere. Most experts hypothesize that these pressure changes can cause both electrical and chemical changes within the brain, which affects nerve endings, leading to headaches. 
  • Bright Lights – Both bright lights and lights that flicker on and off can increase levels of chemicals within the brain, specifically causing change in the occipital lobe, leading to migraine headaches. 
  • Teeth Grinding/Jaw Pain – If you grind your teeth, specifically throughout the night while sleeping, this can cause tightening in your jaw muscles as they contract, resulting in a headache. 
  • Food – All foods are not created equal, and chances are, unless the foods you consume were created by Mother Nature alone (without the aid of any chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, etc), then you’re not only eating food, but a laundry list of chemicals with every bite. Yummy…right? 

Foods that have a high chemical load (think processed foods here with artificial ingredients) are often headache and migraine culprits. Even fresh fruits and vegetables, if they’ve been grown with the use of chemicals, can cause headaches. 

Another food that is notorious for causing headaches is aged cheese. This is due to the tyramine content in such kinds of cheese, a naturally occurring chemical known to constrict and dilate blood vessels, which contributes to headaches and migraines. 

Relief For Headaches/Migraines

If you can pinpoint the cause of your headaches or migraines, you may be able to lessen the frequency in which you experience these painful occurrences simply by avoiding those triggers. 

But, what about the headaches and migraines that are caused due to muscle and joint pain, nerve pressure, and posture? 

Of course, you can work to decrease stress to relieve tension. 

And, if you’ve suffered with headaches or migraines for long, I’m sure you’re not unfamiliar with over the counter or prescription medications that aim to help. 

But, there are other measures that have proven helpful, even highly effective, when it comes to headache/migraine relief.

Below we’ve listed 8 simple stretches, approved by physical therapists, chiropractors, and other experts that can help to loosen tight muscles in your neck and shoulders, thereby relieving pressure on the nerves in your spine and offering much needed headache/migraine relief. 

And, stretching is also known to relieve overall stress which can lessen any tension you may be carrying in those areas causing muscle tightness. 

Regularly incorporating these stretches can improve posture, and potentially even prevent headaches in the first place. 

But, keep in mind, each stretch listed incorporates slow and gentle movements.

1- Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is designed to stretch the upper back and promote calmness. 

To do this stretch: 

  1. Kneel, sitting on your knees. 
  2. Lean forward, lengthening your spine, and rest your forehead on the floor, keeping your buttocks on your heels.
  3. Reach your hands towards the top of your mat (or, stretched out over your head on the floor), and relax your neck, shoulders, and arms. 
  4. Hold for at least 30 seconds. 

2- Shoulder Rolls

Shoulder rolls are an incredibly simple stretch to loosen up your shoulder and neck muscles. Doing shoulder rolls regularly is thought to help prevent tension headaches. 

Note: Some advise doing this stretch at the end of your session of stretching.

To do this stretch: 

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, allowing your arms to hang down at your sides. 
  2. Breathe in, lifting your shoulders up towards your ears. 
  3. Move your shoulders back, squeezing your shoulder blades. 
  4. As you exhale, drop your shoulders back into place, essentially creating a rolling motion in this sequence of lifting and dropping (or releasing). 
  5. Repeat 10 times. 

3- Cervical Rotation Spinal Stretch

This stretch helps to loosen the tightness in the joints on the side of your neck. 

To do this stretch: 

  1. Standing with your feet hip-width apart, turn your head to the left, looking over your shoulder as far as possible (don’t overextend).
  2. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds, then slowly turn your head to the right, repeating the stretch on the right side. 
  3. Repeat 10 times on each side. 

4- Chin Tuck Spinal Stretch

This stretch is great for improving posture, aligning your head, neck, and shoulders to relieve tension from hunched over shoulders. This is a stretch especially beneficial for those that spend a lot of time sitting at a desk. 

To do this stretch: 

  1. Sit up tall, with your butt against the back of a seat and your back straight against the back of the chair. 
  2. Bring your chin towards the front of your throat, essentially giving yourself a “double chin,” but without tilting your whole head. In other words, your focus is on moving your chin downwards, not simply lowering your head. 
  3. Hold in this position for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times. 

5- Head Extension Spinal Stretch

This stretch works to loosen tense muscles at the base of your skull, a hot spot for some types of headache pain. 

To do this stretch: 

  1. Bend your head forward, then turn your head roughly 20-30 degrees to the left side. 
  2. Using your right hand, with it placed at the base of your skull, gently tilt your head forward. You should be able to feel the stretch in your neck underneath your fingertips.
  3. Gently hold for 5-10 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side. 
  4. Repeat 5 times on each side. 

6- Scapular Retraction

This stretch is a simple way to combat the tight muscles and poor posture that often happens when sitting hunched over a desk all day, both of which contribute to headaches.

To do this stretch: 

  1. In a seated position, relax the top of your shoulders. 
  2. Imagine a tennis ball is situated between your shoulder blades, and squeeze your shoulder blades together to grip the tennis ball. 
  3. Repeat 10 times. 

7- Upper Trapezius Stretch 

If you spend a lot of time sitting, your upper shoulder muscles can become tight, putting pressure on those spinal nerves. Very similar to a lateral flexion stretch, this focuses on loosening those upper shoulder muscles. (You can do this stretch from a seated or standing position.)

To do this stretch: 

  1. Sit or stand upright, not allowing your shoulder to “hike up,” bring your right ear down to your right shoulder. 
  2. While in this position, bring your right hand up and over the top of the left side of your head. 
  3. Gently pull your head to the right to feel a slight pull along your left neck and shoulder. 
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. 
  5. Repeat for 2-3 times on each side. 

8- Cat Cow Stretch

This stretch is good for loosening tight neck and back muscles, improving mobility after long periods of sitting. 

To do this stretch: 

  1. Get down on the floor on all fours. Your knees should be placed under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. 
  2. Start with your spine in neutral position, keeping your back flat and your abdominal muscles tightened (or engaged). 
  3. Then, inhale, allowing your back to arch, lifting your head and tailbone. 
  4. Slowly exhale, rounding your spine, pulling your abdominal muscles inward (towards your spine), all while tucking in your tailbone and tucking your chin in towards your chest. 
  5. Repeat for 1 minute, alternating positions as you inhale (arched back) and exhale (rounded spine).

9- Downward Dog

Downward facing dog is a yoga pose noted for relieving tension all throughout the body as well as increasing blood flow to the head, thereby relieving migraine pain. 

To do this stretch: 

  1. Get on the floor on all fours. 
  2. Place your hands shoulder-width apart, and place your knees hip-width apart, keeping your spine neutral.
  3. Pressing your hands into the mat, and keeping your feet on the mat with your toes tucked, lift your hips allowing your legs to straighten (just don’t lock out your knees). 
  4. Your body should look like an upside down ‘v’ here. Lengthen your spine, pressing your heels towards the floor. 
  5. Hold for 30 seconds. 

10-  Thread The Needle

Try this stretch to relieve tension in your shoulders and stretch your upper back. 

To do this stretch: 

  1. Get down on the floor (preferably on a mat) on all fours. 
  2. Place your hands shoulder-width apart, and place your knees hip-width apart, with the tops of your feet resting on the mat. Keep your spine neutral. 
  3. Extend your right arm, reaching to your left, under your left arm, while lowering your right ear and right shoulder to the mat. Your knees and feet should remain in place. 
  4. Hold for 30 seconds. 
  5. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. 

Magnesium for headaches?

In addition to numerous other health benefits — such as — energy creation, protein formation, gene maintenance, muscular contraction/relaxation and nervous system regulation… 

Research has found magnesium to be an inexpensive and safe alternative for prevention of migraines. Amongst some subsets of patients, magnesium may even be effective as an acute remedy for not just migraines, but also for tension-type and cluster headaches.

Do NOT Take Magnesium — Unless…

Not all magnesium supplements are created equal.

If you take a magnesium supplement, I want you to do something… 

Go get the bottle and read the label.

What’s listed on the side?

Regardless of where you bought it, I’m willing to bet you’ll see one, maybe two forms of magnesium on the label.

And it will probably be one or two of these:

  1. Magnesium Oxide
  2. Magnesium Glycinate
  3. Magnesium Citrate

Now here’s what most people DON’T know…

Magnesium oxide is not good for increasing overall magnesium levels.

Plus, it won’t do a thing to reduce your anxiety — which is a big reason people take magnesium.

Worse, magnesium oxide has a laxative effect and could send you running for the bathroom.

If you’re taking magnesium oxide, you’re probably better off just throwing it away.

Now the other two forms (Glycinate and Citrate) aren’t bad, BUT…

They’ll never provide you with all the benefits of magnesium on their own.

Truth is, if you really want to experience the benefits of magnesium…

Including more energy and less anxiety — deep, restful sleep.

You need a FULL SPECTRUM magnesium supplement with HIGH QUALITY sources.

That’s why BiOptimizers have developed what could be the most powerful full spectrum magnesium supplement in the world.

It contains not one, but 7 high quality forms of magnesium so you can experience its calming, energy-boosting effects… 

>> How to Get All 7 Forms of Magnesium that Boost Energy and Defeat Stress, Anxiety & Burnout


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