If you have been in any position where you head is in a forward or flexed posture for an hour (such as working on the computer/phone or reading) you may start to experience a headache. It could be your computer/phone screen’s contrast is too low, the brightness is too high or there is glare on your screen. However, if you have addressed those issues, or if the headache gets worse with tabletop work, you may have a joint restriction at your first and second cervical vertebrae. Try this trick to see if you can decrease or eliminate your headache:
Grab a pillowcase and find the longitudinal seam. Lie down on your back. Tilt your nose up slightly and place your fingers on the middle of the back of your head. Slowly drag your fingers down towards your neck and you will drop into a valley then hit a bump. That first bump you feel is the spinous process of your 2nd cervical vertebrae. This is what we will use to eliminate that headache. Secure the middle of the pillowcase seam around that 2nd spinous process (like you’re wrapping a blanket around your shoulders, but the edge of the blanket wraps around the back of your neck). While holding the pillowcase firm and parallel with the floor, glide your head back without tilting it “chin tuck.” This is NOT a strong movement as excessive muscle activity between the occiput (base of the skull) and cervical spine would be counterproductive. Sustain this posterior glide for 10 seconds and repeat the process 6-10 times. If you can change, decrease or eliminate your headache in anyway, you have an upper cervical dysfunction or issue causing your headache. If you have eliminated your headache, you now have a new trick! If you eliminated or decreased it, but it continues to return, there is something else contributing to that headache. Go see your physical therapist to eliminate it and keep it from returning!
Written by: Heather West, PT
Photo Credit: https://www.hioscar.com/blog/what-a-headache-types-causes-and-treatments