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How are Headaches Related to Stress?

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We hear this almost every day in our offices: “I’m very stressed!” Singapore can be an extremely stressful place, and many people feel that they are being pulled in a thousand directions at once by competing pressures and obligations.

Related Resource: Managing Your Mental Stress Guide

We have to recognize that stress is a real health issue that will lead to real consequences in your life.

When you experience a stressful event, say, for example, your boss yells at you for some reason, a certain region of your nervous system gets activated. Think of your nervous system as your master wiring network that controls and coordinates all of your body functions.

A mental stressor activates your sympathetic nervous system, your fight-or-flight, rapid response system.

Your sympathetic nervous system causes a chain reaction inside of you to help you do the things that would be necessary if you had to rapidly run away from danger or fight off a threat. Your brain, through your nervous system, almost instantly facilitates this fight-or-flight response. It happens at the speed of a thought.

When this happens, certain aspects of your body function increase, and certain things decrease.

Related Article: Stress Management: Your Innate Stress Response

Many of us are constantly triggering our stress system by repeatedly exposing ourselves to stressful events. Many people feel that stress is inevitable, like it’s a normal part of life.

Are you addicted to stress?

Some people become addicted to being busy and stressed out. If they are not juggling a thousand things at once, they are not working hard enough or achieving enough.

How does stress relate to your migraines and headaches?

There are two major mechanisms at work during your stress-response that can contribute to migraines headaches:

  1. Increased blood flow, especially to your brain
  2. Increased muscle tension

Muscle tension is the more common of the two negative effects above. Often, during a stressful moment we may feel our shoulders tighten, our upper neck stiffen, our eyes may tense, or our jaws may clench.

These muscle tension patterns can affect your cervical spine, irritate the delicate nerves of your upper neck, and lead to migraines and headaches. More on this in a moment.

Remember, these effects are fundamentally a result of a thought triggering a certain part of your brain, and your brain facilitating a normal process in response to a perceived threat.

Rest and Relaxation

It’s important to make stress reduction a daily priority. You brush your teeth every day; you should actively manage your mental stress as well.

Related Resource: Managing Your Mental Stress

Slow breathing, especially when you utilize your diaphragm muscle, profoundly inhibits your sympathetic nervous system and can create a state of deep calmness.

Inducing a relaxed and calm state, will often reduce headaches and migraines in minutes.

Take the First Step

There is no reason to continue dealing with migraines and headaches.

Chiropractic has a long track-record of helping people with many types of pain, symptoms, and health challenges.

Schedule a no-obligation spinal checkup to find the cause of your migraine or headache and to see if chiropractic is right for you.

It all starts with a checkup. Make a change today!

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