Chiropractic care for neck pain can effectively treat a multitude of issues and injuries that cause neck pain.

A man sitting at his desk suffering from neck pain.

How A Chiropractor Can Help Those Suffering from Neck Pain

The neck is a complex section of the spine housing multiple vertebrae, ligaments, and tendons. It is susceptible to neck pain, limiting your range of motion and causing immense discomfort.

Instead of popping a pain-relieving med, try chiropractic care for neck pain. The all-natural, non-invasive treatment focuses on your spine to effectively treat neck pain. Here’s how a chiropractor can help those suffering from neck pain and why you should visit a chiropractor.

What Causes Neck Pain?

When your bones, ligaments, or tendons become inflamed or injured, you experience neck pain. The origin of the pain may be in the neck or other parts of the spine. The causes of neck pain include:

Vertebral Subluxation

A vertebral subluxation is a change in the alignment of your vertebrae that decreases the function and movement of the neck while causing pain. Sustained postures, whiplash, stress, or poor posture can cause vertebral subluxation.

Cervical Herniated Disc

Herniated discs in the upper cervical region press on nerves and cause sharp or dull pain that can even radiate to the arms.

Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

CDDD is a condition that describes your cervical discs’ wear and tear. The pain is radicular, and CDDD can cause herniated discs or pinched nerves that cause stiff neck and neck pain.

Fracture

A neck fracture occurs after trauma. Car accidents, falls, high-impact sports injuries, and sudden twists can cause one of the vertebrae to fracture, leading to neck discomfort.

Inflammation of the Windpipe

Viral or bacterial infection can inflame the windpipe or trachea, translating to neck pain at the base of the neck. Tracheobronchitis could also result from whiplash or poor posture that causes inflammation.

Bone Spurs

Bone spurs are bony projections in your neck that press on the nerve endings, causing pain. Bone spurs commonly occur with osteoarthritis.

Dislocation

A dislocation is similar to a fracture, but the ligaments of adjoining bones tear and forcefully separate them.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition where new bone formation doesn’t keep up with old bone removal. It can cause fractures and pinched nerves in the neck.

Irregular Spinal Curvature

The general curve of the cervical spine may warp beyond its normal state. Scheuermann disease, poor posture, and arthritis may cause irregular spine curvature or scoliosis, resulting in neck discomfort.

A chiropractor is examining a man to treat neck pain.

How Does a Chiropractor Diagnose Neck Pain?

Chiropractic diagnosis employs a range of spatial motion tests, mobility evaluation, and spinal alignment assessment. The chiropractor may order an X-ray, MRI, or other imaging tests to pinpoint the cause of neck pain.

A complete spinal analysis includes the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar sections since neck pain may be a symptom of complications in the rest of the spine. After an accurate diagnosis, the chiropractor will create a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

How Can Chiropractic Care Help With Neck Pain?

Chiropractic care for neck pain employs chiropractic treatments that differ from traditional chiropractic adjustment. The treatments are subtle but effective. They reduce inflammation, ease pain, improve central nervous system function, and reinstate your neck’s range of motion.

Chiropractic Treatments for Neck Pain

Here are some chiropractic treatments that work best for neck pain:

  • Cervical Mobilization: The chiropractor employs smooth manual adjustments on the neck, performing spinal manipulation by moving the vertebra from side to side and oscillating forward and backward to move the neck in the restricted direction. The non-thrust treatment realigns your upper cervical region to eliminate neck pain.
  • Cervical Manual Traction: The patient lies on their back while the chiropractor employs an adapted form of manual therapy called the flexion-distraction technique. The forward and backward extension realigns your spine, relieving neck pain.
  • Mechanical Traction: Mechanical traction relies on a device and specialized table to administer measured chiropractic adjustment to decompress the spine and realign it, improving range of motion and easing neck pain.
  • Cervical “Drop” Techniques: The method uses a unique table with a drop piece where the patient lies either sideways or on their stomach. The chiropractor will apply medium to high pressure on the neck region until the piece drops. You may hear a cracking sound with this technique.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to chiropractic treatment. The chiropractor may employ one or multiple techniques to treat neck pain and use complementary therapies, like massage therapy, soft tissue therapy, and ultrasound stimulation.

When Should You See a Chiropractor for Neck Pain?

Neck pain should be treated with urgency. You should immediately see a chiropractor when you notice neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and radicular pain, especially after an auto accident injury, a hard fall, or sudden movement.

Also, as you age, it is imperative to visit a chiropractor for spinal manipulation to avoid degenerative disc disease that is common with old age.

Don’t see a chiropractor if you take blood-thinning medication or have cancer, significant bone deformations, or aggravated osteoarthritis.

What Are the Risks Associated With Seeing a Chiropractor for Neck Pain?

The risks include stroke, worsening a herniated disc, soreness, and compression of nerves. A chiropractor who uses instrument-assisted devices and focuses on realigning your spine rather than cracking reduces risks.

Are Chiropractors Covered by Insurance for Neck Pain?

Most insurance plans cover chiropractic treatment costs. Some insurers foot the total bill while others cover chiropractic neck pain treatment up to a certain percentage. Before seeking chiropractic treatment for neck pain, please consult your insurance agent to understand what costs they cover. Most vehicle and medical insurance provide enough coverage to offset your chiropractic bill.

Conclusion

Neck pain stops you from enjoying your hobbies and impacts your quality of life. Chiropractic care for neck pain is your safest bet when looking for effective neck pain remedies. Chiropractic adjustments have many benefits that transcend noticeable pain relief. Get tailored solutions for your neck pain by scheduling an appointment with a qualified chiropractor.

 

When dealing with lower neck pain, there are many ways to treat it. Learn what chiropractic care does to help alleviate symptoms.

A woman winces and holds her lower neck because of neck pain.

Chiropractic care is a non-medical treatment that helps relieve pain in joints and muscles. Chiropractors use their hands to apply force to misaligned joints along the spine. This alternative treatment helps improve the body’s physical function and promotes self-healing.

Neck pain is increasingly becoming a global problem. The general prevalence of neck pain is between 4.8% and 79.5%. On average, 28.5% of the population experiences neck pain every year. This rate is higher among women and people in high-income countries.  

There are many ways to treat lower neck pain. Learn what chiropractic care does to help alleviate symptoms. 

Common Causes of Lower Neck Pain

Lower neck pain can be a recurrent problem. It can last a few days or several years, depending on the cause. Lower neck pain can result from:

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that results from degeneration of joint cartilage. Cartilage is a flexible tissue that reduces friction between two bones and functions as a shock absorber. In time, this cartilage starts to wear out, which gradually becomes painful. This problem is more common in older people and individuals with obesity.  

Physical Strain

Overusing your neck muscles due to poor posture or physical exercise can cause neck pain, for example, when you bend your neck for hours when using a smartphone or a computer. Also, most people experience neck pain at work after facing in one direction for too long or sleeping all night in the same position.     

Injuries 

Neck injury occurs when the head jerks forward, followed by a sudden backward movement. This injury, also called whiplash, causes muscles and ligaments of the neck to move beyond their motion range. Whiplash may result from a car accident, crashing during a sport, and other traumatic events. 

Other causes of lower neck pain include:

  • A herniated disc, which occurs due to slipping or rupturing of the disc
  • Health conditions such as meningitis and cancer
  • Mental stress that leads to tightening of the neck muscles
  • A bone spur, which is a bony growth at the joints 

A man rubs his lower neck because of neck pain.

Symptoms of Lower Neck Pain

Symptoms of lower neck pain include:

  • Muscle stiffness that makes it difficult to turn your head  
  • Pain in the neck and head that worsens when you move your neck  
  • Possible numbness, weakness, and tingling in your arms depending on the cause of the pain
  • Difficulty maintaining balance when you walk 

Chiropractic Examination and Diagnosis

Before treating neck pain, a chiropractor needs to understand the cause. During a consultation, the chiropractor will ask questions to understand more about your pain. You’ll have to describe the pain, the frequency of the pain, and your symptoms. Some causes are easy to identify, such as when you have an injury. But others may not be obvious. 

A chiropractor will also want to know about your occupation and family history. If your job requires working too long behind a desk, the cause could be poor posture. Your medical history will help determine whether the problem is recurrent and whether it’s a symptom of an underlying condition. 

Sometimes, lower neck pain could result from a bone fracture or tumor. An X-ray may be necessary to reveal such problems. In these cases, the chiropractor will refer you to a different doctor for treatment.  

Most chiropractors use palpation to feel the spine with their hands. Palpation helps detect spines that are out of alignment or stuck. During the examination, you’ll feel pressure and sense the areas with inflammation. Those are the areas that need a chiropractic adjustment. 

The chiropractor will also check your range of motion. In this test, you move your head in lateral and vertical motions. Sometimes, you might be able to turn your neck 90 degrees on one side but only 50 degrees on the other side. This imbalance indicates that something isn’t right.     

A chiropractor is adjusting a man's neck to treat lower neck pain.

How Does a Chiropractor Treat Lower Neck Pain?

Chiropractors help relieve lower neck pain by ensuring spines are well aligned and properly functioning. When the system is in good order, you shouldn’t feel pain and discomfort. To do this, chiropractors use different adjustment techniques, as shown below.  

Chiropractic Adjustments for Lower Neck Pain

  • Cervical mobilization. This technique is also called low-velocity, low-amplitude (LVLA). It involves using less force to move your spinal joints within tolerable limits. It requires you to lie on your back. Then, a chiropractor holds your head and extends it from side to side. Then they increase the range of motion to figure 8 and rotational movements. After the stretching, your neck’s vertebrae become more flexible.
  • Cervical spinal manipulation. Also called the high-velocity, low-amplitude technique (HVLA), this intervention requires more force to make the joints move within the anatomic range of motion. The chiropractor makes sudden motions while twisting your neck. You’re likely to hear a popping sound during the session. A chiropractor can use one or both cervical spinal manipulation and cervical mobilization techniques, depending on the need. 
  • Cervical traction. The practitioner holds your head and pulls it gently away from your body. The aim is to create spaces between vertebrae and relieve pressure from nerves and discs. A chiropractor can do this manually or mechanically. Manual cervical traction involves pulling the head using hands and holding the position for about 10 seconds. In a mechanical approach, your chiropractor uses a harness to support your head. Then a machine pulls the harness with controlled force.    

Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Low Neck Pain

Chiropractic care can help you in the following ways:

It’s a Non-invasive Treatment 

Chiropractic care for lower neck pain is a non-invasive treatment that doesn’t involve surgery. It takes longer to recover from surgery, and some people consider it risky. Even though chiropractic is a non-medical procedure, it’s an effective treatment for neck pain caused by poor posture and injuries. 

Studies show that chiropractic care is effective in some individuals experiencing lower back pain. The same mechanism applies to lower neck pain. Most people with lower neck pain report feeling better after undergoing the sessions.     

Reduces Inflammation 

Chiropractic care helps realign the spine to its normal position. As a result, the pressure on the muscles reduces as the joints start functioning normally. When your body functions normally, it doesn’t produce inflammatory agents like neuropeptides. 

Increases the Range of Motion 

Chiropractic treatment reduces muscle spasms and neck stiffness and facilitates blood flow and the proper functioning of the nervous system. You can turn your head to a higher degree and find it easier to perform daily activities. Increased range of motion can help you perform better in sporting activities.   

Reduces Pain and Discomfort 

Neck pain can make you uncomfortable, especially when you need to turn frequently in different directions. It can cause fatigue and minimize your productivity. But chiropractic care helps relieve the neck pain, giving you comfort and energy to do your day-to-day activities.      

Reduces Reliance on Pain Relievers 

After chiropractic treatment, your headache and neck pain may reduce significantly, so you may stop or reduce the intake of pain relievers. Some pain medications like opioids have side effects such as feeling sleepy and increasing blood pressure. Furthermore, pain relievers may be expensive and they don’t cure the problem. On the other hand, chiropractic care promotes healing, which reduces the chances of feeling pain in the future.

Reduces the Cost of Treatment 

Chiropractic care reduces the chances of taking expensive pain relievers and eliminates the need for surgery. Research shows that patients who go for chiropractic care reduce treatment costs by 28% compared to those who choose surgery. 

Boosts the Immune System 

Spinal manipulation relaxes the muscles and promotes fluid movement. It also reduces pressure on the nerves and blood vessels. As a result, body cells and tissues regain strength, enabling them to fight bacteria and viruses. People who go to chiropractic sessions are less likely to have a cold or flu

Lowers Blood Pressure 

Chiropractic care for lower neck pain may help relax the cervical vertebra at the top of the neck. The relaxation of these vertebrae reduces pressure on the blood vessels, allowing more blood to flow. As a result, the overall blood pressure decreases.  

When to See a Chiropractor 

If your lower neck pain interferes with daily activities, you should see your chiropractor. Sometimes, neck pain may be an emergency, especially when:

  • It occurs after an accident
  • It happens persistently for a week
  • It includes other symptoms such as headache and numbness in the arms
  • It’s accompanied by swelling
  • You can’t touch your chest with your chin

Chiropractic manipulation for lower neck pain doesn’t hurt. It also involves lower risk than surgery, especially if you go to a well-qualified chiropractor recognized by the American Chiropractic Association.

Conclusion 

Anyone can have lower neck pain, but the risks increase with age. Chiropractic care for lower neck pain is less invasive and cheaper than surgery. It doesn’t have the side effects of some medical treatments. Other than relieving pain, chiropractic care has many other benefits. It increases your range of motion, reduces inflammation, and boosts your immunity. 

If you have neck pain that makes you uncomfortable, chiropractic care might help you find relief. However, this treatment may not be appropriate for all patients, especially those with bone fractures and underlying medical conditions. Consult your doctor to see if you are a suitable candidate for chiropractic care for lower neck pain.

FAQ

Is Chiropractic Safe for Neck Pain?

Chiropractic neck adjustments are safe when performed by a trained and licensed chiropractor. When performed by an experienced licensed professional, risks associated with chiropractic neck treatments are rare.

What happens after a chiropractic adjustment for lower neck pain?

Patients may be given exercises to do after chiropractic adjustments for the lower neck to improve their posture and range of motion. Chiropractors often give cold or heat therapy to reduce pain. Topical analgesics such as lidocaine patches may also be used. Chiropractors may suggest exercises for maintaining spinal health.

 

 

Migraines can be unpredictable and debilitating. Chiropractic care can help reduce pain and relieve symptoms.

A man rubs his forehead because he is suffering from a migraine headache.

How a Chiropractor Can Help Those Suffering from Migraines

Chiropractic care is an alternative treatment that helps relieve pain in body muscles, especially the back. Some people who experience headaches have used chiropractic care to relieve pain. However, there’s limited information to support the effectiveness of this method. 

The effectiveness of chiropractic care for headaches may depend on the cause of the pain. If your migraine headache results from muscle stiffness and neck pain, chiropractic care may work for you. 

Understanding Migraine Headaches

A headache can either be primary or secondary. A secondary headache is a symptom of an underlying health condition, but a primary headache is not. It occurs due to physical strain. A migraine is a primary headache that starts on one side and spreads to the other side of the head. It worsens if you engage in physical activities or expose yourself to lights and sounds. About 1 in 6 American adults suffer from a migraine headache every three months. 

Migraines can result from stress, physical strain, and sleep deprivation. In some people, migraines can come from drinking alcohol, wine, caffeine, or eating processed food and food with additives. Women can experience migraines due to hormonal changes and taking medications like oral contraceptives. Other factors that can cause migraine include changes in weather and some drug overuse. 

Stages and Symptoms of Migraines

Migraine appears in four stages as follows:

  1. Prodrome: Also known as pre-headache, it’s the first stage of migraine. It signals that a migraine is coming. Therefore, you can take action to prevent headaches. Symptoms of prodrome include fatigue, irritability, difficulty sleeping, muscle stiffness, trouble concentrating, and depressed mood. This stage can last several hours or days, and symptoms may differ depending on individual cases. 
  2. Aura: An aura is a group of symptoms that affect your speech, motor, and sensory system. It’s easy to mistake it with an impending seizure or stroke. This stage can last from five minutes to an hour. Symptoms include tingling in the body, numbness, temporary loss of sight, and visual disturbances.         
  3. Headache: Headache comes in varying levels. Sometimes it can be mild, but it’s usually throbbing or drilling. It starts from one side of the head and spreads to the other. And it can last for four to 72 hours. 
  4. Postdrome: Also known as a migraine hangover, this stage can last for a few hours to a few days after the headache. Its symptoms include feeling tired, inability to concentrate, and being in a bad mood.  

Some people may not go through all four stages. Also, the symptoms and duration of each stage may vary depending on the person. 

A woman rubs her temple because she is suffering from a migraine headache.

Signs You Are Experiencing Migraines

Some migraines may not have severe headaches, but others can have pounding pain and you could experience nausea and vomiting. If you can localize the pain to a specific area of your head, you could be having a migraine attack.

Also, migraine can increase your sensitivity to bright light and loud sounds. If you start showing symptoms of aura and prodrome, you could be having a migraine.

Can a Chiropractor Treat Migraines?

Research concerning chiropractic care as a proper treatment for migraine is still ongoing, but medical professionals associate migraine with physical strain, blood flow, and nerve signals. Chiropractic care is known to improve the functioning of the nervous system and blood flow, and it helps relax stiff neck muscles that cause headaches. There seems to be a link between chiropractic care and migraine prevention.   

Chiropractic Care for Migraine Headaches 

A chiropractor can use various techniques to treat migraine, as shown below.

Chiropractic Adjustments for Migraine Headaches

Neuromuscular massage: This trigger point therapy focuses on specific points within the back, neck, shoulders, and head. The purpose is to release pressure from the surrounding nerves to prevent transmitting pain signals to the brain. 

Multidisciplinary care prevention: This treatment combines stress management techniques, physical therapy, dietary counseling, and relaxation techniques to reduce migraine.  

Muscle and Soft Tissue Therapy 

Physiotherapy for muscles and soft tissues provides relaxation from physical strain. A physiotherapist uses their hands or equipment to stretch muscles and soft tissues. This process produces the same effect as massage and chiropractic care.  

Massage Therapy 

Massage therapy focuses on various body parts, such as the feet, back, and neck. It may involve the use of hot stones and cold stones and can be intense or relaxing. Some types of massage may work better than others. It depends on the location of trigger points for each person.

A chiropractor is treating a man for migraine headaches.

Why Chiropractic Treatment Is a Good Choice for Those Who Suffer From Migraines

Chiropractic care for migraines has the same effect as massage. Both can make you relax and reduce stress levels. If the cause of your migraine was stress, then chiropractic care can treat you by relieving stress. Also, chiropractic care helps reduce fatigue, neck pain, and muscle stiffness, which are possible causes of migraine. 

Chiropractic care for migraines helps reduce reliance on headache medications. Studies show that overuse of pain relievers can lead to more headaches, and pain relievers like opioids are known to cause addiction. On the other hand, chiropractic treatment has no such side effects. 

Conclusion 

The use of chiropractic care for migraine sufferers is still undergoing research, and there’s incomplete evidence due to the placebo effect. Whatever the case, some patients have successfully recovered from migraine after taking the treatment. 

If you have constant migraines and want to reduce your reliance on drugs, you should consider chiropractic care. But first, consult your doctor to ensure this treatment option is safe for you. You can receive treatment from your chiropractor, physical therapist, or massage professional.

FAQ

Is massage or a chiropractor better for migraines?

The most effective treatment is to combine therapeutic massage and chiropractic care. Chiropractors will likely recommend massage therapies accompany chiropractic treatments. 

Can neck misalignment cause migraine headaches?

Spinal misalignment is a common cause of migraines. Misalignment aggravates the nerves that run through the spine and up to the head. Pressure or irritation on these nerves can cause headaches.

Can a neck adjustment help treat migraines?

Chiropractic neck adjustment manipulates the upper cervical spine which impacts the way nerves send messages to the brain. By manipulating the spine, chiropractors can impact blood flow to the central nervous system. This helps to treat and prevent migraine headaches.

 

 

Neck pain is felt by people of all ages and can range in severity. When someone is experiencing neck pain, they need to get to the root of the problem as soon as possible so treatment can be sought. It is important individuals are aware of the signs they should look for to determine if they need a neck pain doctor NE Portland.

What Are the Common Causes of Neck Pain?

Most people will experience some degree of neck pain in their lives. Most of the time, the cause is something simple that can be resolved quickly. In some cases, neck pain can have a more serious cause that needs to be investigated by the neck pain doctor NE Portland.

  • A poor sleeping position is one of the most common reasons for people suffering from neck pain. Improper pillow support and a poor position can lead to neck strains that become painful.
  • As a person ages, their neck can become painful because of wear and tear. The bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons can all suffer from wear and tear damage.
  • Neck pain can also result from whiplash caused by a car accident. Whiplash can be treated, but it does take time to recover from this injury.
  • Acute torticollis causes the neck to become painfully stuck in an awkward position. Some people say they have a crick in the neck when this happens.
  • Stress and anxiety are both common factors causing neck pain. These both cause tension in the neck, which makes the muscles tight and leads to pain.
  • Brachial plexus injuries can also cause neck pain. This injury affects a series of nerves that connect the hand to the spinal cord. In this type of injury, pain can radiate from the neck and down to the hand.

Schedule a Chiropractic Appointment For Neck Pain Relief

Neck pain can be acute or chronic in nature. Both types can be treated by a chiropractor. When individuals are suffering from neck pain, a chiropractor will get to the root cause and offer non-invasive treatments that bring about relief. Call to schedule your appointment right away.

Headaches can be devastating for people, especially when they become chronic. Many people do not realize they can find relief from their pain by seeking treatment from the Woodburn chiropractic clinic. These treatments seek to correct the root problem of headaches so they can be overcome as quickly as possible.

Understanding the Common Cause of Chronic Headaches

One of the most common reasons for chronic headache development is subluxations of the cervical spine. When the neck vertebrae come out of their natural alignment, they can place undue pressure on the surrounding soft tissues, including the nerves, Nerve compression can cause tension headaches and sometimes migraines. If a person is suffering from chronic headaches, they need to seek treatment right away.

What to Expect From Chiropractic Treatment

When individuals come in for chiropractic treatment, they first give a detailed health history and discuss their symptoms with the doctor. The chiropractor will perform a thorough examination that includes some tests, depending on the type of headache the patient is experiencing.

The muscles of the neck will need to be relaxed before the chiropractic adjustment. This is accomplished using heat and massage. Once the muscles are relaxed, the individual will undergo a manual adjustment of their spine. This treatment moves the vertebrae back into their normal positions so there is no longer pressure on the nerve tissues and pain can be reduced or even eliminated.

Will Individuals Need Ongoing Treatments?

While some headaches can be treated with only a couple of adjustments, some may need ongoing treatment, especially in the beginning. The individual will be given exercises to perform at home so they can continue their therapy between visits.

Most people are able to experience relief with ongoing treatments. As the supportive structures of the neck become stronger, the chronic headaches begin to greatly diminish and sometimes go away permanently. The Woodburn chiropractic clinic can help people experience relief.

Call for an Appointment

Dealing with chronic headaches can be exhaustive. Instead of reaching for a prescription or over-the-counter pain medication, it is important to seek natural chiropractic care. These treatments are non-invasive and can even help to improve a person’s overall health.

What do you get if you combine stress, repetitive activities, and poor posture? As a result, you get tension headaches.

They encircle your head like a too-tight crown. Fortunately, you can do a lot on your own to prevent or relieve tension-type headaches.

A Recipe for Trouble

Work pressures, relationship stress and other life challenges can cause tension headaches.

When you add repetitive activities and poor posture to the mix, the pain starts in your neck and shoulders, slowly travels up the base of your skull, and then wraps around your head.

For instance, the following activities can contribute to tension headaches:

+ Constantly looking down at your cell phone
+ Working at a computer all day
+ Driving for hours without rest
+ Playing video games for hours
+ Clenching your jaw at night or during the day
+ Sleeping on your stomach

These activities overstretch the muscles on the back of your neck and weaken them, increasing your susceptibility to tension headaches. The second part of the problem is that using any muscle too much leads to pain – and in some cases – muscle spasms.

Episodic vs. Chronic

Episodic tension headaches are often tied to stressful events. They typically come on quickly and are fairly painful. These headaches resolve once the stressful event is over or when you take over-the-counter medication.

Chronic tension headaches can recur daily. They may come on as you wake up or after a long day of work or activity. The muscles in your neck and scalp tend to stay contracted. Pain and tightness develop on both sides of the head, in the forehead and at the base of the skull.”

7 Ways to Manage Tension Headaches

+ Minimize stress. Try to avoid or limit stressful events as much as possible.

+ Take breaks. Limit the time you spend looking down at your phone. Also, take breaks on long drives.

+ Adjust the way you sleep. Try sleeping on your back or on your side with a body pillow and your neck in neutral posture.

+ Exercise and stretch. Use a therapy cane or a hard therapy ball to massage out or stretch your neck and shoulder muscles.

+ Consider drug-free treatment. Try massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, or acupuncture.

+ See a dentist. If you’re clenching your jaw and getting headaches, look for a dentist knowledgeable about temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. The right mouth guard can really help.

What about rubbing your temples when a tension headaches starts to build — does it help? Muscle tension varies, so rubbing on your temples may not bring relief, but rubbing on the tender spots, or trigger points, in your neck and shoulder muscles can help.

If tension headaches don’t go away after trying these suggestions, it may be time to look at the psychological stress in your life.

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