Reading time: 5 minutes
Regardless of whether it's a computer, cell phone or tablet, we often spend hours staring at different displays, often several at the same time. This behavior can quickly overwhelm our brain and body and lead to unpleasant consequences, such as headaches. We give you 5 tips for headaches in the office.
How do headaches occur?
One of the main triggers for headaches in everyday life is strain on the eye muscles, also known as computer vision syndrome or office eye syndrome. It occurs when we look at the monitor for hours without changing our line of sight. Natural vision usually means tilting our head slightly and lowering our eyelids when we look at things up close. Staring straight ahead puts strain on our eyes and requires increased energy consumption.
If multiple screens are used that require different viewing angles, the eyes have to work even harder. This can cause the visual system to fatigue and try to shift the load to other parts of the body. The result is tense muscles, for example in the neck or jaw.
Incorrect posture and stress promote headaches
If your eyes are strained, your field of vision often becomes blurry. That's why many people sit hunched over at their desk. This non-dynamic posture can also cause tension, for example in the neck, shoulder or head area. In addition, the forward tilt prevents economical breathing and thus oxygen supply. The body often reacts to this with tension headaches, which are often perceived as oppressive and constricting.
Stress, caused by constant multitasking and the constant flood of information, can also cause tension in the muscles and therefore headaches. These can cause various physical stresses, including nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and noise, and impairment of our ability to think.
The role of the brain in headaches
If severe headaches are left untreated for a long period of time, they can become chronic problems that significantly reduce the quality of life. Our brain plays a crucial role here. There are different types of headaches that can be caused by different mechanisms in our brain. Migraines, for example, are caused by increased activity in certain areas of the brain.
Our nervous system also influences how we perceive and deal with pain. When pain signals from affected areas such as the muscles or blood vessels in the head reach our brain, they are interpreted and processed there. This affects the intensity and duration of the headache. Psychological factors such as fear or stress also contribute to how strong we feel the pain.
Headaches: 5 exercises for more relaxation
But how can you get rid of annoying tension headaches? To answer this question, we brought in Luise Walther, an expert in neurotraining, to help us. She tells us 5 effective tips for a more relaxed working life with less pain:
1. Take screen breaks
Constantly staring at displays tires our eyes. Give them the gift of relaxation in their everyday work by letting your gaze wander into the distance for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. You can also relax your eyes with the following exercise:
To relax your eyes, close them and place both hands on your eyes. Breathe in and out evenly and deeply through your nose and hold this situation until you no longer see flashes or blobs of color, but can see a completely black image.
2. Incorporate exercise into everyday office life
With short breaks in movement you can mobilize tense muscles and bring new oxygen into your body:
Walk and talk
Stand in front of the arrow board with your arms stretched out in front of you. Now follow the direction of the arrow with your arms: arrow up, both arms up. Down arrow, both arms down. Arrow to the right, right arm to the right and arrow to the left, left arm to the left.
3. Stress management
Feelings of stress can be reduced through good workplace management. For example, try these suggestions:
- Avoid multitasking wherever possible. If you're working on important projects on the screen, turn your phone off and away.
- Only check your emails at set times and process them directly.
- There should only ever be the documents on your desk that you need for the current activity.
Cervical and thoracic spine mobilization with green glasses
Press your palms together, inhale deeply and, as you exhale, rotate your arms and head in opposite directions. Come back to center as you inhale. When you exhale you rotate again in the opposite direction and when you breathe in you come back to the center. Now pull both hands apart, take a deep breath and repeat the exercise sequence. The green glasses can also reduce your muscle tone.
4. Relaxation techniques
High workloads and a tense posture can affect our breathing. We breathe shallowly and briefly and do not supply our body with enough oxygen. Small breaks are therefore a useful companion for your everyday work:
Attach the breathing belt around your stomach just below your ribs with slight resistance. Breathe in and out in a relaxed manner against the resistance of the breathing belt for at least two to five minutes.
5. Eye training
Our eyes are also controlled by muscles that can become tense. You can train your eyes with this exercise:
Eye mobilization with arrow chart
Stand in front of the arrow board. Move your eyes in the direction of the arrow without moving your head: arrow up, eyes up. Right arrow, eyes right, down arrow, eyes down, left arrow, eyes left. Stop if it becomes stressful for your eyes.