I’ve been trying different ADHD meds because while the first helped, it gave me dry mouth at higher doses and I never had that “aha” moment. The other options all had the side effect without the benefits.
What I realized going back to the first is that the effect is subtle.
For me, ADHD meds are like glasses for my brain.
When I first got glasses for astigmatism, I barely noticed an immediate difference. I had been straining my eyes to focus so hard I would get headaches when I read.
Before ADHD meds, I’d been straining to focus and maintain executive functions so hard I’ve had fatigue, brain fog and headaches, that improved with the meds.
When I shared about this experience on TikTok, someone mentioned a lifetime of chronic headaches and when I shared my experience with stretches that helped, many asked for more information, so I’m sharing it here!
** Disclaimer, I am not a medical professional, this is just something that worked for me. **
Myofascal Stretching – I was a chronic physical therapy dropout until I was trying to get pregnant and stuck to it until the physical therapist gave up on me. At that point, I got referred to acupuncture. However, there has been one stretching tool that made such a difference that I did them religiously for about 5 years. These stretches targeted my chronic headaches that I had had about 50% of the time for at least a year. The headaches stopped, and as long as I kept them up, they didn’t come back. After a while I got out of the habit, and it probably took another 5 years before the headaches came back. Now I’m back to doing them every night. I have searched online for something describing these stretches, but can’t find anything that does. I decided to share here what worked for me.
Fascia is the connective tissue surrounding your cells. The way it was described to me, if you over stretch, the fascia can snap back like a rubber band. Myofascal stretching uses micro stretches that you hold for a minute or so until you feel a release. The ones I did focused on my neck tension. It is important to note that the pictures below are exaggerated to show the difference in each move. When I actually started doing them, you could barely see my head move. The key is to stop the second you feel a slight stretch – not pain. Then hold for a minute.
Nightly headache prevention stretches:
1. Look down – hold
2. Tilt head to the side – hold
3. Keep head tilted and look down – hold
4. Keep head tilted and look up – hold
5. Repeat steps 2-4 on other side
The above stretches worked most of the time and kept not only headaches at bay, but also improved my tendency to get car sick. I have, on occasion though, experienced nauseous headaches or motion sickness. The following stretches help with nausea so much that I stop and do them any time I feel it coming on, and they stop it in its tracks!
1. Lean head back with head support, either behind your head upright, or laying down (a towel behind your neck to support is helpful)
2. Look to one side – hold
3. Look to the other side – hold
This concept can be applied to other areas of tension by just passively stretching the area that is tense and holding for a minute or until released. I have done this when my jaw is tight by simply holding my mouth open. Just remember to stop and hold at a slight stretch sensation and before it feels like pain.
Mindful Moments – When I learned the myofascial stretches, they also had me do another powerful exercise which I like to call Mindful Moments. I had a watch set to go off every hour on the hour. When it went off, I just observed in the moment my level of pain and my level of tension. This tool was very powerful in helping me observe my body as things progressed. If I had a full blown headache, nothing outside of sleep could make it go away. If, however, I could feel it creep up the back of my neck before it hit my head, I could stop and stretch and prevent the headache. I’m actually thinking I need to do this again, so that I can observe how my body is reacting throughout the day to work tasks etc.