Strength training could reduce tension headaches
There may be another benefit to strength training. According to the findings of a small-scale Danish study, strengthening the neck and shoulder muscles may help prevent—or reduce the pain of—tension headaches.
To conduct their study, researchers from the Danish Headache Center compared 60 adults with tension headaches to 30 healthy individuals. The participants’ neck extensor muscles were tested when they leaned their heads back. Neck flexor muscles were tested when they bent their heads forward. The strength of the trapezius muscle running down the back of the neck into the shoulder was also tested.
The healthy people in the study had 26 percent stronger neck extension than those with tension-type headaches. The participants without tension headaches also had more shoulder strength when they raised each arm out to the side.
Past studies have suggested that forward leaning head posture and weaker neck extension might be contributing to tension headaches. Also, according to the researchers, the frequent use of computers, laptops and tablets is increasing the time people sit with a "protruded head posture." They noted that working a physical therapist or trainer to strengthen your core muscles may help you avoid using medications to treat tension headaches.