Headaches from running

Headaches from running

 

I recently treated a client with headaches that only came on when running. By working on her neck posture together with specific breathing cues, she is now able to run without triggering neck pain or headaches!

 

Have you ever thought about how you breathe? And how this could be related to neck pain or headaches?

You breathe 12-16 breaths per minute at rest. So that is 17,000 to 23,000 breaths each day! Any bad habits are multiplied manifold.

 

Running out of breath pic

 

 

The diaphragm, a sheet of muscle that contracts to draw air into your lungs, is controlled by nerves from your neck. So poor neck posture affects the efficiency of your main breathing muscle and makes you overuse your neck muscles to try get enough air in. This becomes a cycle of the neck muscles being overly tense with breathing and making it difficult to hold your neck in a good posture….so how do we break this cycle?

Physiotherapy can be immensely helpful. In my client’s case we used joint mobilisation, massage and acupuncture to allow her to relax the tense neck muscles. Then she could work on strengthening the posture muscles of her neck.

 

Becoming aware of your breathing pattern is the first step, try this exercise:

 

Breathing x's sketch

 

 

1. Sit up tall. Place one hand gently on your shoulder, and notice if your shoulder lifts up as you breathe. If it does, you are overusing your neck muscles. See if you can release tension in your neck, shoulders and jaw.

 

2. Next, place your hands on the outside of your ribcage. Can you feel much sideways movement at the ribcage? This is your diaphragm working, as the dome shape of the diaphragm flattens, the ribcage expands laterally. Then, place your hand on your abdomen. Can you feel much rising and falling movement here?

 

If you would like to see if your breathing pattern may be contributing to your neck pain or headaches, contact Alla on 9399 7399.