Who has never had a headache? Whether it’s from a tough day at the office, a dose of the cold or a pesky migraine, we’ve all had at least one (if not several or hundreds) in our lifetime. Just because that pain in your brain isn’t contagious or critical, doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve due care and attention. According to the World Health Organization, a twinge in the temple accounts for the 6th  leading cause of years lost due to disability, but with such a wide variety of causes, what can you do about it? Depending on the reason for your pain, there are a number of techniques you can try, in this article, we’ll help you uncover the causes and explore the treatments, including natural stretches for headaches.

bed rest

What causes headaches?

Pinpointing the cause of a headache can be as individual as the person experiencing. Generally, it’s considered that head pains can be divided into two types – primary, those whose main symptom is the headache, and secondary, where the head pain is not the main problem.

Primary types

  • Tension headaches
  • Migraines
  • Cluster headaches

These are usually brought on by a variety of factors including tense and right muscles in the head, neck, and shoulders, trapped or contracted blood vessels, nerve problems, stress, allergies, etc.

Secondary types

  •  Hangovers
  • High blood pressure
  • Brain tumors
  • Concussions
  • Flu
  • Stroke
  • Panic attacks
  • Infection
  • Etc.

If your headache is accompanied by fever, stiffness in your neck, confusion or disorientation, or has come on suddenly and intensely get in touch with a doctor immediately.

How to treat a pain in the head?

Just like there are many reasons behind that ache, there are, in turn, many solutions you can try:

  • Medication – for many this is the first-choice solution, and while it may help, it’s not always the best. If in doubt, consult your physician for advice.
  • Meditation – this technique can help you reduce your overall stress level and give you an increased ability to be able to deal with the pain in your head.
  • Activity – Exercise for headache relief works by helping your body releases feel-good, relaxant chemicals that not only improve your mood, but also reduce your stress.
  • Massage – Sometimes you need a little physical help to get your body calm and relaxed. Whether done at home with a specialist, massage is an essential treat for our body and mind.
  • Stretches – as a preventative method or a cure, stretches can unlock the underlying tension behind the headache.

Simple stretches to relieve headaches and prevent them

head stretch

While natural techniques won’t alleviate every type of head pain, using back, shoulder, and neck stretches for headaches can be useful in reducing their longevity, frequency, and the overall level of pain.

Note: These activities are great when you are experiencing that ache in your cranium, but for maximum effect, try to practice these techniques every day to reduce the overall tension and muscle tightness in this area.

Head roll

Releasing the tension from the muscles in your neck, this simple head roll is one of those great stretches for migraines and tension headaches. Start by standing up straight, then bring your chin to your chest. Feel the tug in the back of your neck. Next, tilt your skull all the way back so that your neck (the front this time) is taut. Now it’s time for side to side, turn your head to the right. Hold and feel the pull. Then, gently move to look left. Hold. For maximum effect, you might need to repeat this a couple of times to really loosen those muscles.

Face scrunch

Tense temples don’t make for a happy head. This exercise will help you loosen them up and have a little fun along the way. To complete this stretch, all you need to do, is tense your facial muscles, scrunch them all up together, and hold. Repeat 3-5 times until you feel the relaxation in your face.

Shoulder-blade release

This stretch focuses on your shoulder-blades and chest, releasing any long-held back tension, perhaps from too many hours at the computer? Standing or lying flat on your back, draw back your shoulder-blades, bringing them closer together. Hold this position for a couple of seconds before releasing. Then breathe out and let go. Repeat 3-5 times to truly feel the benefit.

Shoulder rolls

A sedentary lifestyle has primed our shoulders and neck muscles for tension. Release that with the help of this simple roll. Time to remember gym class, stand up straight, and keep your arms by your sides. Using your shoulders roll them backward slowly for 30 seconds, breathe in, relax, breathe out. Now, switch it up by turning the roll the other way and move those shoulders forward. Do this for 30 seconds. Breathe, rest, and repeat.

Upper trapezius stretch

Time to apply a little pressure, the upper trapezius activity focuses on removing tension from your neck and shoulders. Stand or sit up straight, use your right hand and move it up, placing it on your temple on the opposite side of your head. Next, pull your head gently so that the neck is stretched. Hold for 20 seconds and then release. Next, switch sides and use your left arm on the right side of your head. Repeat this activity on both sides 3-5 times.

Written by Maria Isabella Neverovich
Maria is an Irish writer, Health Editor at Verv, lover of forests, mountains and all things nature. She enjoys discovering new vegetarian dishes, creating...
View all articles