Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ergonomics can Help Ease Tension Headaches

Reducing headaches with ergonomics ...

"According to the October 2008 issue of Prevention Magazine, up to 20% of chronic headaches may be caused by shoulder or neck tension. Often, this tension is caused by poor posture while sitting at a computer or from chronic stress. The following symptoms are related to tension headaches:

* Pain at the base of the skull
* Aches behind the eye sockets
* Sore shoulder muscles or neck muscles

In contrast, mild to severe pain in the temple or the forehead may be caused by hormone changes, acute stress, dehydration or diet triggers such as with red wine or chocolate.

The Mayo Clinic offers these suggestions to help relieve or prevent tension headaches:

* Exercise Regularly - Exercise helps to relieves stress, relaxes the muscles and increases the levels of one of your body's natural stress relievers, beta-endorphin. Yoga, massage, and stretching can help prevent tension headaches.

* Manage Stress - Stress is a common trigger for tension headaches. Try the following techniques to help reduce daily stressors:
1. Relaxation techniques such as biofeedback training and relaxation therapy can help reduce stress. Biofeedback teaches you to control certain body responses such as muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure. Cognitive behavior therapy teaches stress management techniques by providing skills that help you cope with life events more positively. Deep breathing, yoga, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation are also techniques that can help you control the stress response.
2. Plan ahead and organize your day.
3. Allow more time to relax.
4. If caught in a stressful situation, try to step back and allow emotions to settle.

* Live a Healthy Lifestyle – All of the behaviors that are important for general good health will also help prevent tension headaches.
1. Follow regular eating and sleeping schedules.
2. Avoid excess caffeine and other diet triggers.
3. Stay well hydrated.
4. Stay physically active.

* Relax Tight Muscles - Muscle tension is associated with tension headaches. Applying heat or ice to sore muscles may ease the tension. Try both and see which works the best for you. Massage can also provide relaxation of muscle tension.

* Improve your Posture - Good posture places less strain on muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. It provides for more efficient movement. For more information, link to the articles listed below.

* Ergonomics- Following ergonomic strategies while working at the computer or at your desk will help improve working posture. For more information, link to the articles listed below.

Additional Information:
o Basic Ergonomic Principles
o Ergonomic ABCs
o Neutral Position – Elbow, Shoulders, Neck
o Perfect Posture – The Basics"    (Continued via BellaOnline, Marji Hajic)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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