Certain headaches—typically the ones involving shooting pains in the neck, scalp, temples, and sides of your head—don't respond that well to medication. "That kind of headache is almost always caused by tension in the upper back and shoulders, " says Jyotsna Sahni, MD, a staff doctor at the Canyon Ranch Resort and Spa in Tucson, AZ.
The good news is that yoga takes tension head-on. So when you feel those first stabs, start by unclenching your jaw—another major tension spot-by lightly touching the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth. Then practice these poses to stretch the shoulders and back.
Photo by Beth Bischoff
1. Come onto all fours with your back flat.
2. Slide your hands forward and lower your forehead to the floor, keeping your hips elevated. Hold for 5 to 10 long, deep breaths, allowing tension to release from your shoulders and upper back. Repeat three times, twice a day if possible.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Lie on your back with your arms by your side, palms facing up. Bend your knees and place the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to fall toward the floor. Inhale as you extend your arms out to the sides and then overhead. Hold for 5 to 10 long, deep breaths, relaxing your whole body into the floor with each exhale. Practice this pose once a day.