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recurrent headaches | recurrent migraine

Recurrent headaches? Is it your diaphragm?

Written by Dr Elise Fuller

diaphragm | diaphragm function

How can you get reoccurring headaches from your diaphragm?

Recurrent headaches from your diaphragm? That’s the thing that helps you to breathe isn’t it?

Yep, that’s the one!

Funnily enough, the diaphragm does more than help you breathe. It’s also a huge muscle! It spans the base of the chest (ribcage), separating the chest from the abdomen like a big dome. It attaches to the chest bone, the lower ribs and the lower vertebrae of the spine.

And since it’s a muscle, it’s going to also have the capacity to be tight.

Whilst its main function is commonly known as the breathing muscle, it also has the job of depressing the lower ribs.

What happens with the diaphragm?

So if you can imagine something pulling down your lower ribs, you can see how your upper body goes with it. The upper torso starts to round, slumping you forward.

Now here’s the fun part. Your eyes will always try and stay level to the horizon to keep you balanced. So as your torso folds forward, you would expect your head to curl with it… except it doesn’t. Your face & eyes remains looking forward.

If you slump down through your tummy, but keep your eyes looking forward, how does that feel though your neck? Pretty jammy though the neck isn’t it? This means there is a fair bit of extension going through your neck, causing your skull I to be compressed over the neck joints.

How can this cause recurrent headaches?

All the muscles in the back of the neck are now shortening and contracting. This in itself will be driving a lot of tension through the neck and head.

Annnd hello headaches!

All because of that compression and tension in the skull. Whilst the diaphragm is not directly connected to the neck and skull, the knock-on effects of it being tight can be very influential on the body. So, if you have reoccurring headaches, and treating other areas of the body hasn’t 100% hit the spot, the diaphragm is definitely a consideration.