Get fast headache relief with 4 exercises and pressure points

Unfortunately, headaches are common and can be very limiting. There are also many different types of headaches, all of which are slightly different.

Fortunately, you can usually quickly relieve a headache yourself through several exercises and pressure points.

In this article, I will explain to you exactly which causes of headaches there are and how you can relieve most of them yourself with our 4 exercises.

So read on quickly to relieve your headache yourself.

  1. The cause of headaches
  2. Headache Symptoms
  3. Headache treatment with 4 exercises
headache pressure points

The cause of headaches

Each type of headache has its cause. The most common cause of headaches is stress or tension. Stress causes your neck muscles to stiffen, causing a headache. We call this a tension headache.

Another cause of headaches is a stiff neck. When the cervical vertebrae are limited in their movement, this can also radiate to the head. In most cases, the upper cervical vertebra cannot move sufficiently, causing pain radiating to the forehead. However, the restriction can also be lower in the neck, causing the headache to pull up through the back of your head. We then speak of cervicogenic headaches.

The third common type of headache is migraine. The cause of migraine is not yet fully understood, but it is suspected that a stimulated cranial nerve causes it. That also explains why vision problems almost always accompany the headache.

The fourth type of headache is a cluster headache. Cluster headaches are also a neurological disorder, about which very little is known. It is a very severe headache, often combined with pain in the eye on one side. The headache is so intense that sometimes people bang their head against the wall to feel a different pain. Unfortunately, there is no treatment yet for this form of headache.

The last known form of headache is a medication-dependent headache. This is a headache that is caused by a dependence on, for example, paracetamol. The headache then arises as a withdrawal symptom, just as it can with coffee. This often happens in people who take 8-10 paracetamol per day for a more extended period and then suddenly reduce significantly.

I am now going to discuss the symptoms for each headache form by which you can recognize the headache.


Headache Symptoms

You can easily find out what type of headache you have based on your symptoms. When you diagnose your headache right, your treatment will be more effective.


Muscle tension headache

Muscle tension headaches are often present for a long time, up to several days in a row. It feels like pressure on the head on both sides and on top of the head. You often feel it pulling up from your neck. The headache is of moderate intensity.


Cervicogenic headache

The duration of cervicogenic headaches is often shorter than muscle tension headaches, only for a few hours at a time. The headache is on one side of the head and is accompanied by neck pain on the same side. The neck is stiff and restricted in turning to the side of the headache. The intensity is moderate to intense, and you can experience radiance from your neck to your arm.



It is known that migraines come in attacks. An attack can last between 4 hours and 3 days. The headache is palpable on one side and pulsating in nature. The headache is often severe and increases with physical activity or exposure to light or sound. It can also be accompanied by nausea, and you may see spots.


Cluster headache

Cluster headaches also occur in attacks, which can last up to 8 hours. The pain is present on one side of the head and is very intense. Typical features are movement restlessness, a runny nose on the same side as the headache, and a watery eye. You also often see that the eye is not entirely open on the side of the headache. These signals indicate a neurological cause of the headache.


Drug-dependent headache

Drug-dependent headache is a mild, nagging form of headache, which resembles a tension headache. The headache disappears when medication is retaken, whereby medication for tension headaches has a minimal effect.

Headache treatment with 4 exercises

To relieve your headache yourself, it’s essential to tackle the cause as far as possible.

It means you need to make sure your neck and neck muscles are supple and strong, so they don’t get overloaded. For that reason, the exercises mainly help against muscle tension headaches and cervicogenic headaches. Because migraine often goes together with tension headaches, you can ensure that your migraine attack is less severe by doing these exercises.

Furthermore, there is medication available for migraines that can relieve a migraine attack.
In addition, you can reduce the tension in your neck muscles by pressing the pressure points in the specific muscles. These pressure points are also called trigger points. The tension in this trigger point causes radiating pain in the head and tension in the muscles. By pushing on the pressure points, you reduce the tension and the radiation to your head. This provides immediate headache relief.

I am now going to describe the physical therapy exercises that will help you relieve your headaches.

Headache relief treatment with 4 exercises

Headache exercise 1: Improving neck mobility

The first headache exercise focuses on improving the mobility of the neck. By making your neck more flexible, your neck pain will disappear, and with it, your cervicogenic headache.

A flexible neck reduces the pressure in the joint and also the strain on the neck muscles. It allows them to become smoother, eliminating the radiating pain to the head.

The exercise goes like this:

  • Wrap a towel around your neck
  • Take with your left hand the right side of the towel, and with your right hand the left side
  • Now lift the hand that is in front up until the towel is at the same height as your cheek
  • Now pull with your arm and the towel your head in the full rotation to the side
  • Repeat this ten times and then change to the opposite side by changing your hands
  • Finally, grab the towel standard and lift your arms and look up at the same time

In this video, you can see how to perform the exercise.

Repeat the exercise 2 times a day. At first, it will be painful and feel stiff. Try to rotate your neck as far as possible, despite the pain. You will notice that it gets easier and easier.

headache exercise 1 increase the mobility of your neck

Headache exercise 2: Stretching your neck muscles

The second headache exercise focuses on reducing tension in the neck muscles. As already explained, headaches are, in most cases, caused by stiff neck muscles. By stretching the neck muscles, the tension decreases, which also decreases your headache. In many cases, the headache disappears completely with this stretching exercise.

In addition to stretching these muscles, there are also essential pressure points that cause radiance. By pushing and holding these pressure points for a long time, you will notice the tension and pain decrease quickly.

The exercise goes like this:

  • Place your hand on top of your head
  • Bend your neck sideways by pulling down your head
  • Also, rotate it a little bit to the same side
  • You will feel stretching of your trapezius on the other side
  • Hold this for 10 seconds and repeat it three times

In this video, you can see how to perform the exercise.

Repeat this exercise twice a day. I would also advise you to do it on both sides since usually both sides are affected.

These two exercises will often be enough to get rid of your tension headache.

However, when poor posture causes tension, this won’t solve the main problem. To do this, you have to adjust your position to give fewer problems to your neck.

headache exercise 2 stretching your neck muscles

Headache exercise 3: Training your deep neck muscles

The third exercise focuses on strengthening the deep neck muscles at the front of your neck.
Many people sit with their heads forward. This can cause the muscles in the front of the neck to weaken because they are used less. It puts more strain on the muscles at the back of the neck, which can lead to overload. The overload can again cause headaches.

Research also shows that training these deep neck muscles leads to fewer headaches.

The exercise goes like this:

  • Lie on your back on a hard surface
  • Pull in your chin like you’re making a double chin
  • Hold this position and lift your head 2 cm
  • Hold this as long as possible
  • Repeat the exercise 5 times a day

In the photo you can see what the exercise looks like

When performing the exercise, it is about quality and not quantity.

As soon as you notice that you can no longer keep your chin tucked in, stop and rest for a while.

If you don’t do this, you’ll be performing the exercise with the wrong muscles, causing more tension in your neck, which will lead to more headaches.

The more often you have performed the exercise, you will notice that you can keep it up for longer. Ultimately, the idea is that you can hold it for about 20 seconds.

Headache exercise 3: Training your deep neck muscles

Headache exercise 4: Improving your posture

The last headache exercise aims at improving your posture when sitting. This puts a proportional load on your neck muscles, making them less likely to become stiff and cause headaches.

When you lean forward, gravity pulls your head down. To counteract this, your neck muscles at the back tighten. By pulling your chin in a bit, you automatically stretch your upper back and neck, tightening the deep neck muscles from exercise 3. This distributes the load on your head and neck over more muscles so that they are less likely to be overloaded.

In the photo, you can see the difference between a passive and active posture and what this does for your muscles.

Make sure to keep your head straight and don’t look down when you try to tuck your chin in. This puts more stress on your neck and neck muscles.

The exercise will feel strange at first, but it will feel more natural as you practice more.

Headache exercise 4: Improving your posture


As you can see, there are many exercises that can help relief your headache. If you still have questions after reading the article, feel free to send me an e-mail.