Two exercises physical therapists use to treat chronic tension headaches

Chronic Tension Headaches

Sitting at a desk for hours at a time can lead to chronic tension headaches, especially if you’re sitting with poor posture. Fortunately, there are exercises that you can do right at your desk to address your headaches. 

Tension headaches are one of the most common types of headaches, and medical studies reveal that up to 5% of the U.S. population experience daily tension headaches. Physical therapy can be a vehicle for chronic tension headache treatment. Therapeutic exercises can be especially helpful, and a few of the exercises your therapist could recommend are: 

  1. Upper trapezius stretch

Purpose: This exercise helps reduce tension in the upper trapezius muscles in your shoulders that can trigger chronic tension headaches. 

How to perform the upper trapezius stretch:

  • Sit up straight with your head centered over your shoulders. 
  • Slowly tilt your head to the right until you feel a stretch in the top of your shoulder. Try not to let the shoulder rise up toward your ear. 
  • Hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. 
  • Repeat the stretch for your left shoulder. 
  • Continue repeating the stretch until you’ve done it two to three times per side. You can also deepen the stretch by using your hand to gently pull the head in the desired direction.
  1. Chin tucks

Purpose: Chin tucks can help tension headache sufferers by stretching tight suboccipital muscles. 

How to perform the chin tuck stretch:

  • Sit up straight with a neutral upper spine. 
  • Slowly tuck your chin into your neck while pushing backward at the same time. The goal is to give yourself a double chin without tilting your head downward. 
  • Stop when you feel a stretch in the back of your neck. 
  • Hold the stretch for eight to 10 seconds. 
  • Repeat the stretch until you’ve done it for 30 to 60 seconds in total. 

Whatcom Physical Therapy is ready to help treat your chronic tension headaches

Fed up with having chronic, even daily tension headaches? Our Whatcom PT therapists are here to help you address your frequent headaches. We can do a free screening on you to determine the root cause of your headaches. Even better, our team is adept at building personalized therapy plans designed to reduce headache pain and frequency. You can even get our help if you’re stuck at home thanks to the virtual therapy service we offer. 

Contact our team today for more information about our headache treatment services or to schedule your initial appointment.