Total Health

Top Exercises in 2021 for Headaches

February 11th, 2021 by
Category: Dr. Kodie Smith Headaches

man sitting on ground with hands pressed into forehead

Headaches are a common cause of pain, which in turn, is a common reason why people come to our practice for care. Put simply, a headache is a painful sensation that occurs from the head or neck area, ranging from sharp and throbbing, to dull aching pain. Causes of headaches depend on several factors, including type, frequency and lifestyle. 

There are five common types of headaches:

Tension Headache

A tension headache is felt as a mild to moderate tight, squeezing sensation around the head. It can be described as a tight band of pressure around the head. It can be caused by lifestyle stress, poor posture, head injuries or built-up muscle tension.

Sinus Headache

A sinus headache is an uncomfortable pressure pain around the nose, eyes, and face. It is caused by blockage or congestion of the sinus passages in the face region and is worse when lying down or bending forward.

Cervicogenic Headache

A cervicogenic headache is a mild to moderate pain headache that is caused by stress, poor posture, and tight muscles/muscle knots. The pain starts as a muscle pulling sensation in the neck area that causes a headache in the forehead of the face.


A migraine is a severe, throbbing headache that is typically occurs only on one side. It is caused by stress, hormones and can be triggered by particular smells, foods, lights or sounds. Some people often have other symptoms including nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to certain lights, sounds and smells.

Cluster Headache

A cluster headache is a more rare type of headache. It is a severe, intense pain that is felt behind the eye. The pain can last from 15 minutes up to 3 hours and occur multiple times in one day. 

Things you can do to help manage your headache:

Headaches can be debilitating and have a major impact on our lives and daily living.  There are several things you can do to help manage your headaches:

Top exercises that may help manage and prevent headaches

One great way to manage and prevent a headache is to stretch the surrounding muscles to relieve tension, reduce pressure on your joints and improve mobility in the head and neck region. Today I have three easy neck exercises for headaches that you can do at home, at work or anywhere to help with headache relief.

Upper traps mobilisation

This exercise is a great, simple mobility exercise that can reduce stiffness in the muscles/joints and improve head and neck movement. 

upper traps mobilisation exercise info

Levator scap stretch

This exercise can help to stretch out the muscles that start at the shoulder blades and run up into the head. If this muscle is tight and tense it can put pressure on the head and neck, causing constant headaches.

levator scap stretch infographic

Suboccipitals stretch

Headaches can be caused by tight and stiff muscles that are located at the base of the skull called sub-occipitals. This exercise can help to release tension in those muscles and relieve those headaches.

suboccipital stretch infographic

By performing these neck exercises regularly, you may be able to reduce tension in the muscles around your neck/head and provide relief of your constant headaches.

Please seek out professional health advice if any of these exercises cause or aggravate your headaches. 


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