Witch Update: Throwdown Headaches

09 Dec

Sitting next to Kates massage couch , you learn a lot.

Especially in the weeks following the london throw down open qualifier which had   the simple task of back squatting as many times as you could in 3 minutes.

Its was a great challenge, a great exercise, but  it also  dished out tension headaches  galore.

I first learned about tension headaches from Greg Glassman who characterised them as occurring under times of great intensity  but were so elusive that they never showed up on MRI’s  or any other health  test.

Never the less, when you get one, its like being smacked in the back of a head by a baseball bat ( I mean cricket bat, this is England after all). If you get one during a wod its quite a shock and there is no way you can continue.

I got my 1st tension headaches back in 2007: I think I actually puked from pain in the second round of Helen as I got to kettlebell swing 10. Whilst this may be a bit too much information, Id also started going out with Kate round about this time, and discovered that the tension during sex also  brought an agonising headache on.

So what causes it? Basically exhausted neck muscles!. If you slouch at your office all day long, your neck has to do a lot of work

The problem is  that you  then go and do some functional exercise, like the throwdown wod. You start off with good form, but by the end of the workout, you begin hauling with your neck. I discussed this under the title of Deadlift neck here. The advice is good for squatting as well as deadlift. It really is essential that you keep that neck neutral.

That said, lots of people crank their necks back and dont get headaches, so WTF?  THe issue isn’t one of  a couple of wrong moves, its that, all day long you beat up on the same muscle group. If you slouch at work  for 8 plus hours   your neck muscles work like hell. Now, in the gym  you make them lift heavier weights too?

But, still, not everyone gets a headache. What normally happens is that something changes: here is where  “Kate magic” comes in: There is no such thing as an easy cure: the ideal spell hits your problem from a variety of angles.

“Get an eye test”: in many cases  the eyes can suddenly change, and you use your neck  to fine tune your sight . “Ask yourself, what has changed” When I got my attack Id started studying quite a lot and now remember sitting in a darkened lecture hall  squinting at a screen show.  Are you reading more,  has your workstation  changed: in fact was it  ever right. your posture may not be “that bad”, but  your head is quite heavy, and if its not balanced on the top of your spine thats a lot extra neck work for 8, 12, 16 hours a day.

For treatment, its a good amount of trigger point work  ( and fascial release etc etc) on  the neck,  and upper body  (with particular finishing attention to the ancillary breathing muscles) and a regime of stretches and your determination to get a better posture at work.

As your mum used to say, “stop slouching”

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