Dealing with Headaches
What can we do if we have skull tension or headache pain? With a bad headache, there’s a tendency to stay still and let it pass. But, if you want fast relief, movement (not stillness) is the answer.
As a general principle, body parts that don’t move invite pain, and body parts that move don’t invite pain. Here are several suggestions.
1. Relax the neck/skull junction.
The skull rides on the top vertebral bone. If it sits crooked, pressure points develop that cause headaches. Muscles between the skull and neck become tense and contract, making the pain worse. Movement helps by creating more joint space.
As proof, try this. The next time your friend has a headache, have them lie on their back while you massage the neck and back of the skull. (You do not need to be a massage expert to get results.) This loosens the tight muscles between neck and skull and introduces subtle movement. The expectation is: 80% of the time, your friend will report an 80% reduction in headache pain within 20 minutes.
2. Release the jaw (not formally a part of the skull).
The jaw is a separate bone that is bound to the skull with very strong muscles. When those muscles are tight or unbalanced, discomfort arises. Massage helps.
If very unbalanced, a TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problem may develop. That can be debilitating.
A common movement error when turning the head is leading with the jaw. That tightens the jaw muscles. Instead, start leading with the roof of the mouth, particularly at the rear of the mouth.
3. Soften the Roof of the Mouth
The roof of the mouth may seem like one bone. But it’s a series of bony segments that are capable of very small movements. Tension here is often not obvious because it feels “normal”. Awareness is developed through movement.
Because movements are very small, it may feel like you are simply visualizing movement. That’s ok. Keep visualizing. Picture water waves moving from side to side, and front to back. Subtle movement is occurring. Now, breathe in-and-out through your nose, and feel the air massaging the upper surface of the roof. Follow the air back-and-forth and soften the roof with each cycle.
Roof-of-the-mouth rigidity has consequences. Eyes, ears, sinuses, endocrine function (and more) are affected.
When you shake your head “yes”, do it from the roof of the mouth.
4. Breathe to the Front of the Upper Spine
Move your tongue backward along the roof until you hit a hard bump. Right above that bump is the pituitary gland (the master gland). Move the tongue further back, and you’ll touch the soft palate. Your spine is about ½ to 1 inch behind the soft palate. Breathe into the soft palate to passively massage muscles in the front of the spine.
5. Relax the Tongue
The tongue is basically a muscle with fibers that allow curling, twisting, bending, extending and retracting. Why hold it tight? Let it relax by feeling it. Note that the whole throat relaxes with it.
Headaches may soon be a rare event.