Do you ever suffer headaches? Some people suffer a lot of headaches while others not so much. SO many situations can lead to headaches. One of the most treatable kinds of headaches (without popping pills) is the tension headache. Depending on where you hold your tension, these types of headaches stem from muscles and fascia in the neck, jaw, face or scalp that are tight. Often for me (especially when technology is ‘acting up’ LOL) the headache stems from scalp and jaw tension, often referred to as TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint. Broken down, Temporo refers to your temple and Mandibular refers to the Mandible or jaw bone. Could I be clenching my jaw? Hmmmm. The best way I have found to manage and treat this type of tension is self-massage. Massaging my temples and scalp with my fingertips is very soothing and surprisingly effective to relieve this tension. For the temples, I will use small circular motions at the temples fanning into my hairline in a wide triangle above my ears. For the jaw I have discovered that it is really effective to push my thumbs up under my cheekbones starting beside the nose and using small micro-movements, gradually working out toward my ears. I rub the muscles in front of ears, with mouth open and closed. I also push my thumbs or fingers under the line of my jaw starting in front of ears and working toward my chin. I’m always surprised by how much tension can build up in these muscles. Finally massaging the ears and the area behind the ears is amazingly soothing.
Body rolling balls can also be effective to relieve myofascial tension, particularly if your fingers or thumbs do not enjoy applying deep pressure. I have used the Yamuna Bodyrolling ball (about 6” diameter) to release the same areas described above. For this you might stand with the ball against the wall or lie on the floor for deeper pressure. Other balls that work really well are the Acuball and the Acuball Mini. The Acuball has acupressure bumps covering it and can be heated. These are really nice features. The Acuball Mini is small and perfect for travel. It’s size (about as big as a golf ball) allows you to massage the small contours of your face and head. All of these balls are available at Balanced Motion Pilates and Yoga. A simple tennis ball or a small hard ball that a dog might play with also make handy myofascial release tools.
Of course, be prepared for a lovely hairstyle after rolling or massaging your scalp. If not using oils, this is easily rectified with a brush. But don’t even get me started on how lovely it is to have a professional massage the scalp. Simply put, that is bliss! Maybe a bit oily but who cares?! Try it when you next have a massage.
I hope none of you have headaches today. But if you do, please give these non-medicinal treatments a try and may you get immediate and lasting relief.
Lisa Goddard BA, BScOT, Certified Pilates Mat & Reformer Instructor, Owner