How to Address Tension Headaches
by Ashley Black
Most treatments and medications simply “manage” the symptoms instead of addressing the root cause. Although there’s been much speculation about the cause of tension headaches, most treatments fail to address the fascia.
Fascia is a soft tissue that “holds us together,” permeating and supporting every structure and system in the body. Nerves and blood vessels run through the fascia, and if the fascia becomes tight, it can compress and restrict blood flow, nerve signal, muscles, and joints, which can cause “myofascial” pain and tension.
Fascia recoils when the fascia becomes unhealthy and adheases together and to other structures – typically as a protective mechanism – and causes restriction and tension throughout the body. Fascia runs from head to toe and fingertip to fingertip, and understanding the fascia system is crucial to understanding where your fascia has recoiled and how it’s affecting you.
How Fascia Affects the Brain.
Just look at how the brain is covered and penetrated by fascia! It’s insane to me that the fascia so visibly affects the brain, but still, no one is talking about fascial treatment for relief from tension headaches. It seems so obvious to me!
When fascia recoils in the brain, it can clamp down so tightly that it can feel like a boa constrictor has wrapped itself around your head. Anything that affects your nervous system can put the fascia on “high alert” and can eventually cause pain and restriction. Fascial recoil can cause many of the symptoms associated with tension headaches by compressing and “choking out” the nerves, blood vessels, and soft tissues.
When you address the fascial system and release the tension and adhesions, you can alleviate and sometimes completely eliminate the symptoms of tension headaches!
My Tips for Relief from Tension Headaches
I’m going to walk you through the 7 steps and show you exactly how you can address the fascia in your upper body and help relieve your tension headaches!
What You’ll Need: heat, oil, and your FasciaBlaster® tool of choice.
The FasciaBlaster® is a self-use tool designed to restore the fascia, which helps reduce pain – and sometimes helps alleviate the symptom!
Follow this video tutorial for steps 1-6
Step 1: Prep the fascia with external & internal heat!
Heat puts the fascia in a more relaxed, pliable, and receptive state for more effective treatment. Internal heat can be any type of exercise, and external heat can be a hot bath, shower, or sauna. It’s also so important to hydrate with electrolytes and lots of water!
Step 2: FasciaBlast the arms and hands
Apply oil to your bare skin and use the FasciaBlaster® on the entire arm to open the fascia from your neck to your fingertips.
Step 3: FasciaBlast the chest
Tight fascia in the “pec line” can pull the head and neck forward causing tension and making it almost impossible to maintain correct posture. Loosen up the pecs to allow your head and neck to rest on top of the spine and your shoulders to open up and relax.
Step 4: FasciaBlast the jawline and temples
Many of the lines of fascia that run throughout the body intersect at the jaw. Learning to loosen up adhesions with your FasciaBlaster® tool of choice can help relieve tension and restriction.
Step 5: FasciaBlast the sides and back of the neck
Fascia can tighten around the muscles in your neck and traps and cause them to feel tense and restricted. You can use this technique to loosen and relax the neck muscles and target the hump at the base of the neck.
Caution: Very light pressure should be used to carefully avoid the carotid artery.
Step 6: FasciaBlast your head
Use hair conditioner to avoid tangles and scrub the fascia that covers the entire scalp. Doing this step every day will help keep those tension headaches away!
Step 7: Correct your posture
If your head and neck are forward, your shoulders are rounded, or you have a sway back, these misalignments can cause tension in the fascia and contribute to headaches. It’s imperative to make sure your entire structure is in alignment, but it takes practice!
The Wall Test
Watch this video tutorial to learn a simple test you can do to evaluate your posture and identify areas of fascial recoil and restriction throughout your body so you know where to focus on FasciaBlasting, stretching, and opening!
- Stand against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your heels against the wall.
- Align your feet like railroad tracks and pretend there’s a stake in the middle of your feet that secures your feet to the floor.
- Now look down and make sure your ankles, knees, and hips are in alignment with your feet.
- Take a deep breath, then pull your belly button into your spine, straightening and elongating your core. Now cough once, feel your abdominal muscle engage, and hold that abdominal contraction. Cough again if you need to.
- Then take both hands and slide them down the sides of your body, relaxing your shoulders, traps, and arms.
- Lift your chin, and push your head and neck back against the wall.
- Now take your hand and make sure you have the width of 4 fingers behind your neck, and 2 fingers between the small of your back and the wall.
THIS is correct posture!
- How does that feel? Are you able to maintain that stance?
- Do you feel tension or a slight burning sensation anywhere in your body?
- If you try to align one area, do others “pull” or try to compensate?
The goal of this test is to show you how you should be standing, and if it’s far off from your natural standing posture, you now know what the goal is and what areas to FasciaBlast in order to increase your range of motion and reduce tension. Practice this as often as you can throughout the day, and you’ll soon be able to maintain this posture while standing and also during your daily activities.
If you follow this 7-step program and practice these methods often, you may soon experience relief from the tension caused by fascial recoil.
The FasciaBlaster® is an incredible tool, and once you learn to take care of your fascia, the results can be amazing!