How to Prevent a Cervicogenic Headache
Prevention is always the best medicine. By preventing shoulder stiffness and misalignment of my neck,
I get far fewer of these headaches.
- For instance, I have found that when I sleep with my head flopped to the right,
- I’m sure to wake up “in trouble.” So, I have a few methods to prevent this:
- I prop my pillow up slightly on both sides, usually just using towels underneath.
- If I’ve been getting mild headaches that I know are caused by misalignment, I wear my cervical collar to bed. It’s not the most comfortable thing, but it is way better than the severe headaches that can develop.
- I have several different pillows that work well depending on my needs. Sometimes, I need something firmer; other times, I need something soft.
- I also try to spend 15 minutes a day on my Real-Ease Neck and Shoulder Relaxer. I have prevented imminent cervicogenic headaches by doing this—even in the middle of the night when I wake up feeling one starting up.
- Because of I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, I get regular treatment from an osteopath who does low-impact manual therapy. Most of you won’t have the chronic problems that I have and may only need a few treatments.
- Work on your posture and ergonomics. Be sure that when you work at your computer, for instance, you have good ergonomics. Customize the keyboard and monitor heights and angles to your needs. Sit up straight Our teachers and parents were right. It might temporarily feel uncomfortable to remain in good posture, but your effort will be worth it.
- Get up regularly and move around. We used to spend more time standing and walking than we do now. If you are at work, walk over to your coworker’s desks instead of calling or emailing them. Drink water: refilling and going to the restroom will get you away from your computer. Take a walk around your house, inside or out. Get up and look out the window.
- Many wearable fitness devices (like a Fitbit) encourage 250 steps per hour. This corresponds to the simple advice my physical therapist gave me to be more mobile. If you are goal or numbers oriented, these devices can be great motivational tools.
- Stay away from your smartphone. The position or posture you’re in when using your smartphone tenses the muscles around your neck and aggravates the spine. This was hard for me at first, but the headaches reminded me not to play those addictive games for so long!