Effective exercises to relieve tension headaches


Headaches are extremely common nowadays and can be brought on by stress and induced knots in the muscles of the neck and back, commonly referred to as trigger points.

Trigger points play a large role in chronic pain and acute headaches, and applying self-trigger point massage can give you a great deal of relief.

It is very easy to find a trigger-point - they are a point in a tight muscle, which is hard and sore to touch and often refers pain elsewhere in the body.

These 3 exercises below are effective technique’s that will help ease the tension in the muscles, contributing to your headaches and, may help prevent them from occurring the future.

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise

Diaphragmatic breathing is the body's most natural way of breathing as the stomach area rises and falls without effort. But as we form bad habits, we overuse the muscles in our chest, shoulders and neck to assist with shallow breathing. This exercise helps you relax, and encourages you to use your diaphragm to breathe deeper.



  • Lie on your back with your knees bent
  • Use a yoga block or pillow under your head if you require
  • Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your ribcage.
  • Inhale through your nose. You should inhale into your abdomen, so the hand on your stomach moves upward, while the hand on your chest remains as still as possible.
  •  Inhale until you cannot take in more air comfortably.
  • As you exhale, tighten your stomach muscles. The air should be pushed out through your stomach as you exhale.
  • Breath through pursed lips as you let the breath out.
  • Counting is unnecessary. Just exhale until you cannot comfortably continue to breathe out.
  • Continue this exercise for about 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Trapezius self-trigger point release

The trapezius is a common muscle that is exposed to over-use and is a major source of headache pain.



  • Place a tennis ball between the wall and upper part of your trapezius
  • Turn your body away from the wall
  • Roll back on ball until you find your tender spots. 
  • Apply pressure on the trigger point area for 1-2 minutes 
  • You can control the location and pressure by moving your body.
  • Repeat on other side.
  • Use your good judgment–do not press so hard or long that you hurt yourself.

3. Suboccupital self-trigger point release

The suboccipital muscles are located at the base of the skull and when these muscles are in tight, they produce tension headaches.



  • Place the foam roller down sideways
  • Lay down on your back over the foam roller, with your knees bent
  • Keep your pelvis relaxed and your feet comfortably placed on the floor
  • The foam roller should be placed against the 2 bones at the back of the skull (at the hairline) and not in the neck. 
  • Once you have found the two bones, tuck your chin down and gently press the back of head into the foam roller. 
  • Now slowly turn your head to the left and then to right side continue this movement for 1-2 minutes


Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47