We carry the majority of our tension (and our pain) in our heads, necks, and shoulders. Notice at the end of a long day how you feel. Most likely, you’ll find your head blaring with pain and your shoulders squeezed up to your ears. This month on PainDoctor.com, we looked at common headache conditions and treatments, as well as cutting-edge research on pain. We also looked into some neck and shoulder pain conditions, such as text neck and frozen shoulder syndrome.
14 symptoms to help diagnose your headache pain
The first step to managing headache pain is figuring out what type of headache you’re suffering from. The cause of your pain will determine the best way to treat that pain, in the majority of cases. This month, we looked at four uncommon headache conditions, the causes of each, and their general treatment options. We looked at:
- Cervicogenic headaches: Headaches that are typically felt in the base of the skull that are caused by trauma at the cervical area of the spine.
- Vestibular migraines: A rare form of migraine that includes the symptoms of dizziness and vertigo along with the common symptoms of head pain.
- Ocular migraine: An exceedingly rare form of migraine that is typified by auras and other visual symptoms, but is not accompanied by pain.
- Cluster headaches: Finally, we looked at cluster headaches. These are another rare form of head pain that come on quickly with an intense amount of pain that is usually clustered around one eye.
Many of those conditions are more rare, so we also looked at one of the most common causes of head pain: migraines. In our “10 Causes of Migraines” post, we discussed the different stages of migraine, as well as the most common causes of them, ranging from genetics to hormonal changes to diet.
12 tips for neck and shoulder pain
Just as specific factors can lead to specific forms of headache, neck pain is often caused by our daily habits. This month, we looked at two in particular that are the largest known culprits: smoking and texting.
In our “Do You Suffer From Text Neck?” post, we noted that
“Texting puts a tremendous amount of strain on your neck. An adult head weighs approximately ten pounds, and tilting it downward to view or send a text can place an additional 60 pounds of pressure on the delicate vertebrae of the cervical spine. This pressure can result in a more permanent placement of the head called forward head posture (FHP). Forward head posture results when the weight of your head begins to move (and stay) forward of the center of your shoulders. This exerts pressure on your cervical spine and can result in other serious physical conditions.”
Likewise, smoking can cause damage to the cervical spine. A recent study found that current smokers had more cervical degenerative disc disease, cartilage loss, as well as lowered bone density and absorption of key vitamins. In our post on the subject, we discussed some straightforward and research-backed ways to quit smoking today.
Another daily habit that you can start including to help with neck pain is yoga. In our post on neck pain and yoga, we looked at the research backing up yoga for neck pain, and shared six poses you can do today to start reducing your neck and shoulder pain.
Similarly, we also looked at frozen shoulder syndrome–a shoulder pain syndrome that can often be managed with shoulder exercises and stretching. In our “8 Frozen Shoulder Exercises” post, you’ll learn low-impact and gentle exercises that can help you work through a frozen shoulder condition.
5 new findings from headache research
This month, we also looked at some of the most cutting-edge studies from headache and pain research. Learn more about:
- How a pain clinic in Houston performed the first DRG stimulation procedure in the state
- New findings into how cells actually remember pain, which could lead to future chronic pain therapies
- Why more accurate injections could help with targeted headache pain relief
- How researchers have found that green light therapies may actually help migraine sufferers
- Why tracking migraine symptoms and triggers can lead to better pain management
22 ways to manage headache pain with lifestyle changes
As we discussed, so much of headache, neck, and shoulder pain is caused by our lifestyles and habits. Because of this, though, by changing some simple habits, you can help reduce your headache pain. It just calls for a bit more mindfulness and a few small changes throughout your day.
Our “20 Headache Remedies at Home” post looks at some of the simplest changes you can make to combat headache pain. Tips range from making sure you’re properly hydrated to taking a walk to coloring.
You’ll find many of these tips repeated in our post that discusses eight tips for avoiding migraine hangovers. As we noted:
“Sufferers report that a migraine hangover can be just as debilitating as the migraine itself. They may feel foggy and slow-moving. Echoes of the migraine may resound in their head if they move too quickly. Overall, a migraine hangover may only last for 24 hours, but self-care is essential during this time.”
Finally, we discussed a hot topic among migraine sufferers: daith piercings. While some swear by this simple method for relieving migraine pain, there’s little research to back up claims. In our post on the subject, we looked into what daith piercings are and why some say that they can prevent migraines.
12 headache diet tips
Finally, this month we looked at how diet and headache are related. We shared:
- Four headache-friendly recipes, including a maple-baked rice porridge recipe with fruit, a cherry ginger shrub recipe, a cooling summer noodle bowls recipe, and a strawberry smoothie recipe
- Six small changes you can make in your diet in order to prevent and avoid migraine pain
- Research on how magnesium may be able to help manage migraine pain
- A discussion on how (and if) caffeine and migraines are linked, and if so, what you can do about it
What was your favorite post this month on PainDoctor.com?