Pilates for headaches: Stretch to relax and calm down the muscles

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Pilates expert Hollie Grant told Express.co.uk: “The causes of headaches can be vast, and the list of potential triggers can be long.

“Anecdotally, however, I train many clients who feel that tension in their neck and shoulders, or poor posture when sat at their desks, can lead to, or exacerbate their headaches.

“They have also found that Pilates really helps reduce the severity or regularity of them.”

Hollie, who also detailed “one of the best” exercises to soothe back pain, went on: “We know that our sedentary lives have a lot to answer for when it comes to posture, and sitting at desks, looking down at phones, and generally spending too much time inactive, does not go hand in hand with a strong body.

“It’s important we find a balance between strengthening the muscles that are weak in the neck and shoulders (that just don’t show up to help support you) and relax and calm down the muscles that end up showing up too much (this should help reduce aches and pains).”

Hollie, who runs a London Pilates Studio and also provides home training and hosts the Bun in The Oven podcast, reccomended assisted roll downs to help soothe a headache.

What is a roll down?

A roll down helps to keep the spine flexible and healthy, and also help increase flexbility in the legs.

How do you do perform a roll down?

Holly explains: “Start in standing with feet hip-width apart.

“Interlace the fingers and rest the hands on the back of your head (like you’re cupping the back of your head).

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“Inhale, and as you exhale start to roll down a vertebra at a time, keeping the legs straight, until you are folded in half.

“The hands on the back of the head add weight to the stretch but you don’t need to actively ‘pull’ on the head.

“Just hang. Stay here for 30 seconds, and then let the arms go and hang down, and roll up one vertebra at a time to standing.”

This should help relax your muscles and soothe your head.

What other remedies could soothe your headache?

Swap hot and cold

Try swapping a cold and hot compress on your head to soothe tension headaches.

Swap an icebag covered with a thin cloth and a heat pack to relives the muscles.

Try applying this to the back of the neck or the forehead.

Try breathing exercises

Breathing exercises can help to soothe the muscles and soothe headaches.

Try breathing in for five seconds and out for five seconds. Try to relax.

Drink water

It is important to drink enough water to stay hydrated. Dehydration may well cause a headache.

Rehydrate with water or a rehydration drink like Powerade. Avoid coffee and alcohol, which will dehydrate you.

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