Millions of people suffer from chronic headaches. If you’re one of them, you know they can interfere with your quality of life significantly. Did you know you can practice Pilates for headache relief?

If your headaches are a result of stress, poor posture, or a problem with your neck or spine, Pilates can help! You may also benefit from other lifestyle changes as well. Let’s look at the most common types of headaches and what we can do to about them.

Types of Headaches

The most common types of headaches are tension headaches and migraines. Stress causes most tension headaches. When you’re stressed, you tend to do things like tighten your muscles, clench your jaw, or hunch your shoulders. You may also sleep poorly or skip meals. These are all potential headache triggers.

Stress can also trigger migraines, which are vascular headaches. Other migraine causes include hormonal changes, sensory overload, and reactions to foods or ingredients in foods.

Whatever the cause of your tension or migraine headaches, you may find Pilates for headache relief effective. If this is a surprise because you always thought Pilates was all about the core, read on!

Pilates is For the Whole Body

Since it is a workout for the whole body, Pilates offers exercises that can help relieve headache pain. According to Australian physiotherapist Peter Tziavrangos, one of the most beneficial aspects of mat Pilates for headache relief is not the physical exercise, but the meditative effect of practicing mindfully.

Since mindful practice helps us master staying in the moment, it can help reduce stress. But Pilates also helps with body awareness. We become more mindful of that clenched jaw or more aware of that trigger food or hunger that is causing our head to ache! We may also sleep better when we practice Pilates regularly.

Pilates for Headache Relief

In addition to mindful movement to reduce stress and help with headaches, some specific Pilates exercises that can help correct problems with alignment that cause headaches. Neck rolls are one example. Neck rolls help strengthen the muscles in your neck, which can help with “forward head syndrome,” a type of misalignment that can lead to headaches. You can also do neck rolls to reduce chronic muscle tension in the neck. The exercise improves range of motion, which enables better posture.

And don’t forget the core. If you practice Pilates, of course you can’t forget the core! Core work does help with headache relief. One reason is core work requires breathwork. So, again, you are increasing the flow of oxygen when you work on strengthening your core.

A strong core is also the basis for good postural alignment. With good posture, you’re less likely to put your body in a position that will lead to headache pain.

So, now that you know you can practice Pilates for headache relief, what are you waiting for? If you need some help designing a program that works for you, or if you want some individualized attention to keep you on track, let’s talk. I’m here to help!

About Susan Sommers

Hi, I’m Susan Sommers. I’m a native New Yorker, living on the Upper West Side. Pilates Body NYC provides private in-home Pilates instruction, focusing on mindful movement that enables you to reconnect with your body. My mantra is fitness is achieved one thought, one step, and one day at a time. It is a commitment you make to yourself to treat yourself right and give your body what it needs as you age. I believe that Pilates is much more than exercise. I practice it as a way of life that brings strength, awareness, and mindfulness to everything I do. My wish is to help you experience the same.
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