Migraine headaches: a major pain for millions: Can yoga relieve migraine headaches caused by shoulder and neck tension?
According to the World Headache Alliance, migraine headaches are among the top 20 causes of disability. While migraine medications are often helpful at reducing some migraine symptoms, the occasional stress headache can still put you down for days. Migraine headaches are debilitating to the chronic sufferer, including throbbing head pain, nausea, light sensitivity, flashing lights and insomnia.
Whether you suffer from menstrual migraines, cluster headaches, or if tension headaches are the bane of your existence, you will likely get some headache relief from these yoga poses, which soothe tension in the
How can yoga prevent headaches?
In order to benefit from any yoga exercise, it’s important to focus on your breathing throughout the session; this is called pranayama. Breathing in and exhaling out in time with the yoga movements is an essential part of yoga philosophy, and will maximize results as a natural treatment for migraines, as yoga targets physical tension zones which cause painful migraine headaches, such as neck, shoulders, and facial muscles.
Yoga also teaches proper posture; a common source of tension headaches is bad posture caused by habit, stress and office chairs with improper lumbar support.
Yoga moves to relieve migraines
Do you sit at a computer all day? This Eagle Arms pose will open up your shoulders and upper back, relieving tension headaches:
- Sit upright on the floor in a cross-legged or lotus position.
- Breathe in while slowly raising both hands towards the ceiling, stretching out to the sides.
- Exhale slowly, bringing your right arm underneath your left, bending the elbows and entwining the arms together in an upright positions, palms facing.
- Breathe in while lifting your arms up and away from the body.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds, breathing slowly.
- Repeat, reversing arms.
Some neck stretches are helpful for relieving neck and shoulder stress which lead to migraines. Try this move with the lights down, eyes closed and some soft music.
- Sit upright in a comfortable position, as before, with your back straight.
- Tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder. Aim to touch your ear to your shoulder without raising the shoulder, allowing the neck to control the movement.
- Take two deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly.
- Without moving the left shoulder, gently lower the right shoulder, releasing the tension on your right shoulder blade.
- Repeat with the right ear.
- Tuck in your chin. Roll your head up and towards your left, looking over your left shoulder.
- Roll your back in and over to your right shoulder, breathing slowly.
- Avoid tilting the head backwards.
- Repeat as many times as you like, holding for a few moments at tension spots that are particularly stiff. Breathe into the tension zones.
- Bring head back to center and take a few relaxing breaths.