Atlas Muscles and Headaches, Oh My!

Atlas Muscles and Headaches, Oh My!

One of the physical problems I’ve dealt with for years is headaches. For years I would go to just about any type of practitioner in hopes that they could “diagnose” the cause so that I could then figure out a solution. As it turns out the secret was muscle strength and my atlas.  But more on that in a moment. 

I’ve been put on strict eating plans, told I have Candida, Low blood sugar, I’ve been muscle tested, allergy tested, given gobs of vitamins, massaged, cracked, thyroid tested, hormone tested, given acupuncture, acupressure, omg the list goes on and on. I’ve pretty much spent a fortune trying to get to the bottom of it. 

Then one day I went to a Chiropractor who specialized in treating Athletes and Accident victims. This actually was a real turning point for me. He had several techniques and therapies at his fingertips, one of them being a special deep muscle massage therapy.  

My weakness has always been my Atlas, specifically on my right side. In the past I would get adjustments to my Atlas, from another great Chiropractor. I always got relief and my headache would almost always vanish immediately. It was Nirvana, but the problem was that it was never lasting.  

Sometimes I would leave his office and during the drive home, or simply while backing out of his parking lot, I would manage to turn my neck the wrong way or something stupid and bam there would go my Atlas out of whack again. So frustrating…and expensive. 

Ok so here I was with the new Chiro, sports injury guy. I saw him a few times, got some relief, but same problem; it was only temporary. After maybe my third visit he told me he felt the problem was that the muscle in my back, between my shoulder blades, was weak.  

This lack of muscle was causing my neck to jut forward. This created tension which then would cause my Atlas to go out of alignment, resulting in a headache or even migraine. It really made sense to me.   

He then did something I really didn’t expect. He recommended that I do Pilates to strengthen that muscle which would then eliminate any slouching and neck jutting forward. I trusted him even more now because he could have encouraged me to keep spending money to see him, but instead he recommended I go do Pilates. 



So, long story short, I did the Pilates, several times per week, and it worked!! I got so hooked I continued for two years. It didn’t take long at all for my headaches to start dissipating but I chose to just continue as I was enjoying the full body strength I was gaining from this exercise. 

This was quite a few years back now and since then, I’ve learned some at home tricks I want to share, in addition to the suggestion of getting your Atlas checked by a Chiropractor, if you suffer from an abnormal amount of headaches. 

Ok so first off, if you know your Atlas is contributing to neck tension and headaches, you may want to consider doing Pilates, with a trained instructor, who knows how to assist you correctly in strengthening the correct muscles. I did private one-on-one classes. 

Ok so these are some things I do at home that work for me; 

I take plenty of Magnesium to keep my muscles relaxed. I prefer a powdered one called “Calm” but I do also rotate taking various forms like Magnesium Glycinate. If I feel any tightness starting in my shoulders, which for me can be a warning sign of headache soon to follow, I simply take more magnesium that day.  

The next thing I do is I place a heating pack on my shoulders and neck. I have one made of cloth, filled with millet seeds. I just keep heating it in the microwave and putting it on the area as needed, as often as needed.  

A nice relaxing boost you can add in is to take some Lavender Essential oil and just place some drops directly on to the heating pack, then place the heating pack on your neck, oil side facing into the neck. Lavender is very relaxing and calming.  

This really does work for me in both preventing, and alleviating a headache. But truthfully I rarely even get one anymore. 

truly believe prevention works best, especially with headaches. I just find that it’s easier to prevent one than it is to get rid of one. Just my experience.  

Good luck and I hope this helps!