Research shows that only about 5 percent of headaches are caused by medial or physical problems that need to be addressed by a medical doctor. In fact studies suggest that 95 percent of headaches are primary headaches, such as tension, migraine, or cluster headaches. These types of headaches are not caused by disease.
“The greatest majority of primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck,”says Dr. George B. McClelland, a doctor of chiropractic from Christiansburg, VA.
“Today, Americans engage in more sedentary activities than they used to, and more hours are spent in one fixed position or posture. This can increase joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back and scalp, causing your head to ache.”
What Can You Do?
The ACA suggests the following:
- If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing or reading, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.
- Low-impact exercise may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. However, if you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches, avoid heavy exercise. Engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobics.
- Avoid teeth clenching. The upper teeth should never touch the lowers, except when swallowing. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull – leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headaches.
- And most importantly, drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches