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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Waking Up With Head Pain? What Causes Morning Headaches?

Do most of your headaches occur during the night, or as soon as you start to get out of bed? Then it's possible that sleeping positions and movements that strain your neck are responsible for your head pain.

It always amazes me that we can hurt ourselves even in our sleep, but we do.

Sometimes it's a matter of sleeping with your head tilted (Your chin is tilted toward or away from the bed. Your neck is not in line with your spine.)

Check your neck position before you fall asleep. You may need a different pillow, or even a pile of small, flat pillows stacked to fit you better.

If you're a back sleeper, just use a small roll behind your neck to fill in the natural curve of your neck. Use as little as possible behind your head.

If you sleep on your tummy, that can cause a lot of strain for your neck muscles.

Some people tell me that they just cannot change their sleeping habits, or cannot fall asleep in a different position.

Perhaps practicing relaxation techniques laying flat on the floor would help their muscles get used to being in a different position. It's worth a try.

Perhaps deep breathing using their whole torso, chest and belly, would allow them to slip into sleep in a different position.

Perhaps a stretching or yoga class, to wake up all of their muscles and help get muscular balance, would be their ticket.

Sometimes we wake up feeling fine, but by the time we get out of bed, we have a headache or migraine. What's happening?

Here's one possibility.

I would wake up feeling well. Then I would twist my neck and stretch my head around to see the alarm clock. That twist and stretch aggravated my neck enough that I would get instant migraine!

It actually took me quite a long time to figure that out. It happened several times before I realized the cause of those migraines. When I quit doing that twist and stretch, of course the head pain quit also.

Could that be your possibility? Or, perhaps you can think of something else you may be doing to cause your headache to start when you woke up feeling fine.

If it feels like you're straining your neck by sitting straight up, try rolling to your side and push yourself up with your arms while keeping your neck in a straight, neutral position.

One of my clients always awoke feeling fine, but by the time she was in the kitchen with her coffee, her head pain started. Right after she took the first deep drags on her cigarette, her headache started. Every morning.

What do you suppose was the cause of her headache?

Because she was a smoker, and because she inhaled strongly, using the muscles in her jaw and temples (the temple muscles are related to the jaw muscles) she caused those muscles to become tight and restricted. That caused her morning headaches. Like many morning headaches, once they started, they tended to stay all day.

So the plan is to avoid your headache in the first place.

Pay attention to what's going on that may be creating head pain for you. Change the position, posture or movement you suspect and see if that makes a difference.

A simple change could make all the difference in the world. Awareness is the first step in the right direction.

"Because You Deserve To Feel Better"