For seemingly random pains in the head revealed.. read on.
How often do you really note where your headache is felt? I know you might be thinking, “um, obviously in the head?”, and while you’re not wrong… I mean more particularly WHERE in the head.
You see, locating specific points of where pain is felt in the head will give you clues as to its onset causes.
For instance, did you know that a headache felt in the back of the head is an indication of eye strain?
At the back of your skull is a something called the “occipital bone”. It is called that because within that part of the skull is the “occipital” lobe of the brain. Your occipital lobe is the centre of the brain responsible for vision, and is known as your primary visual cortex.
Just below the occipital bone are a set of muscles known as your sub-occipitals. There are 8 of them, or more accurately, 4 sets of 2, mirrored on either side of the dividing line. When you’ve been straining your eyes all day, staring at a screen for instance, these muscles will strain as well. The pain in the back of the head that you’re feeling is really the tension in these specific muscles.
So what can you do? You can massage the area, but also give your eyes a break. Maybe clean your screen, and clean your glasses if you wear them.
Finally, if this is a regular occurrence, be sure to see an optometrist to make sure you have the right prescription. If you don’t wear glasses, this may be your body telling you it’s time to get some.
Ok, so what if my headaches aren’t felt in the back of skull? What if I feel it in the sides of my head?
Ah, well then my friend it sounds like you’re suffering from “tension” or stress headaches. How do I know? Well people who are typically tense or stressed have a tendency to clench their jaw.
The muscle that’s doing the clenching is known as your masseter. Your masseter is a wonderful muscle that allows you to talk, and eat and yawn and so on. It also happens to be the strongest muscle in your body…
People who clench their jaw tend to develop an awful habit of grinding their teeth. So if this sounds like you, pay attention.
Your masseter ends at the TMJ or “temperomandibular joint”. Just so you know, your TMJ is where your “mandible” or jaw bone hinges. Just above this is where your temporalis muscle begins. When the masseter is tight, in all it’s strength, it pulls down tightly, affecting the temporalis and causing tension in temporalis. And where is temporalis? It can be found fanned out on either side of your head, or “temporal” bones.
Ipso facto your tension headache.
So what do you do? Well, you can start by taking a few deep breaths and giving yourself a chance to rest. Ask yourself, “do I need to feel this stressed?” or maybe “what can I do to stress less?”
Maybe that means going for a walk, or doing a meditation. I find listening to soothing music very helpful. Yoga Nidra is also a good idea.
What can you do more proactively? You can massage your jaw. If you want more clues on how to do this you can find it in my book Self-Care Solutions @ Work
Now, these are just two types of headache, but they are very common types of headache.
If you are thinking to yourself… well Giada that’s great an all… but that’s not where I feel my headaches.
That’s completely fine and you shouldn’t be worried.
Here’s what you do: go to https://askgiada.com/learnmore and schedule yourself a discovery call. Together we can talk it out and figure out exactly where your pain is coming up, and I’ll be able to point you in the right directions of self-care and alternative help.
Listen, headaches are frustrating. I know, I get it. And it can be easy to just go straight for the tablets that will make your pain go away. What I’m saying to you is, do a bit more detective work the next time the pain arises. Maybe give yourself a few chances to resolve it on your own before turning to the pain pills.
Sometimes headaches are an indication of hunger, sometimes dehydration. Sometimes it’s neck tension.
There’s so many things it can be, and once you figure out your patterns and strains, you’ll be better equipped to handle them naturally in the future!
And remember, always take good care.