5 Simple Stretches To Relieve Headaches

5 Simple Stretches To Relieve Headaches - Leading Edge Physiotherapy

Are you one of those people that regularly suffer from headaches associated with day to day living, or poor postures?  Are you looking for relief of your headaches – that doesn’t rely on taking medication?

Then read on – you will be pleasantly surprised to hear that there are lots of simple things you can do to help reduce or relieve your headaches – naturally.


A large majority of headaches are a result of the muscles and joints around the upper neck becoming too tight, putting pressure on nerves at the top of your spine.

This then shoots pain to the back of the eyes and the forehead.

People who suffer this affliction can wake with it first thing in the morning, or it can develop during a long work day – particularly if you have a desk based job.


The good news is that gentle stretching exercises can help alleviate the aches associated with tight muscles around the neck and upper back.

These really simple stretches can be done first thing in the morning, as well as during breaks at work to help minimise tightness and decrease the potential of tension related headaches.

They can be performed without any fancy equipment and only takes a few minutes whilst sitting at your desk.



Chin Tuck Stretch

Gently bend your head forwards with one hand whilst guiding your chin towards your chest with the other until you start to feel a stretch at the back of the neck.  Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat a few times

Cervical Extensor Stretch

To further stretch these tight muscles at base of the skull, with the head bent forwards, turn the head about 20-30 degrees to one side.

If you turned to the left, then use the right hand to gently tilt the head forwards.  You should have your hand hold the base of your skull whilst doing this stretch, to feel the stretch underneath your fingers.

Hold for 5-10 seconds only, then turn the head 20-30 degrees to the right, then use the left hand to stretch the other side.  Repeat 5 times each side

Lateral Flexion Stretch

Sitting on your left hand, take your right hand over your head to hold your left ear, then gently pull your head to the right – you should feel a stretch down the left side of your neck towards the shoulder.

Hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.  Repeat 3 times each side

Cervical Rotation

Turn your head to the left to look over your shoulder as far as possible.

Hold for 2-3 seconds, then turn to the right and hold as well.  Repeat 10 times each way.

This allows the little joints on the side of the neck to help slide on each other.

Shoulder Rolls

To finish off your stretching session, gently roll both your shoulders forwards 5 times, then roll them backwards 5 times.

This will allow the muscles that you have been stretching to help loosen up as well

Try to perform these stretches regularly if you are prone to headaches to help prevent them coming on.


Tight muscles are generally the result of a number of different causes.  These can include:

  • Poor Ergonomics (or working postures)

  • Reduced Flexibility

  • Bad Posture

  • Repetitive Actions

  • Increased Stress and Anxiety

If the above stretches do not start to relieve your symptoms quickly, we would advise you to make an appointment with one of our excellent physiotherapists.

They will be able to make a thorough assessment of your neck and surrounding muscles, as well as reviewing your work postures and ergonomics to see if they are contributing to your pain.