When we sit for long periods of time, while driving, or working at a desk, we tend to hunch over forward. When doing this, or when participating in the majority of activities that we do as humans, we are using (shortening) our chest muscles.
Regardless of whether we are taking photographs, playing instruments, using our cell phones, or brushing our teeth, our arms are out front. The pectoralis or chest muscles are shortening to bring our arms together, and the rhomboids and medial trapezius muscles in our middle and upper backs are lengthening.
How does this relate to Headaches?
The lengthening of the muscles behind us tends to cause pain, tension, and discomfort that crawls up the back of our necks. This tension can move into the back of our heads possibly causing headaches. When we feel this way, what is the first thing we think to do? We want to clasp our hands together out front and stretch out our back muscles. Please don’t do this! I know how good it feels. It can feel absolutely amazing! However, we are only exacerbating the issue as we are stretching muscles that are already too long.
How do we relieve the upper back pain?
Simple. We borrow a tennis ball from our four-legged friend, and roll it around on our chest, under our collarbones, and to the left and right of our sternum. There is no need to roll over top of bones; keep the tennis ball on the muscle tissue. Once we have requested that the chest muscles relax, which may cause some pain, so be gentle at first, then we can clasp our hands together behind us, and stretch our chest muscles. There are many different ways to stretch out our chest muscles. Stay tuned for future posts regarding this topic.