The stretch that changed my life

I am not over-exaggerating when I say that this stretch, known as the slump stretch, has changed my life.

Why? Because this stretch has helped me get rid of my headaches, almost for good!

I have always been a headachy person, since I was about 12 and in the midst of puberty. For a few years I got migraines, which didn’t actually return until after I had Elora. I don’t get migraines often, and if I do get one, it doesn’t last too long if I catch it quickly, take some codeine and then sleep it off for an hour. However, I am a long-time sufferer of headaches, mainly tension headaches.

During pregnancy I tend to get a lot of tension headaches. During my pregnancy with Elora I had them so often that my OBGYN wanted to send me to neurology for some testing. So far during this pregnancy I have had some nasty headaches, some of which have been quite debilitating.

Whenever I have a sore back or neck, Monte reminds me to do the slump stretch. It is a stretch that we learned during rowing. It is a nerve stretch, and tends to help pains that originate in the neck, spine and the back of the legs. I started doing this stretch regularly, wanting to do anything to stop the headaches. I didn’t want to be taking a lot of pain killers, even if paracetamol and panadeine are alright to take during pregnancy. The pain killers don’t really help with the headaches anyway.

This is me at the beginning of the slump stretch:


Sitting down on the floor, bring your ankles up towards your buttocks. Raise your toes and hold them in your hands. Gently lower your forehead so it is resting on your knees. You will probably feel a stretch at the back of your neck. Sometimes you won’t be able to even put your forehead on your knees (for example, first thing in the morning), but you will still feel the stretch. Don’t stretch in a position that is painful. Nerve stretches feel weird and uncomfortable, but they should not hurt.

Gradually move your ankles away from your body, whilst still holding onto your toes. You will feel the stretch become stronger as you move your toes away. When the stretch is uncomfortable, stop there and hold it.

I tend to stretch for a minute or so, gradually moving my feet away from me, holding the stretch for a while, until it becomes less intense, and then moving my feet away again. You should hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds for maximum effect.

Since doing this stretch regularly, about 4-6 times a day, I have not been experiencing terrible headaches. Sometimes I wake with a headache, but after doing the stretch a few times the headache goes away. I have no qualms about taking my shoes off in my office and stretching there; my workmates have even joked about joining me in doing some yoga.Being almost headache-free has changed my life.

If you choose to do the slump stretch, be it at your own risk, as I can’t take responsibility for any injury occurred. There are different forms of the slump stretch, such as the seated slump stretch, which is less intense. You can find results on Google. You might prefer to consult a professional before you go ahead and do stretches like this. I’m not a physiotherapist. I’m a mum and a teacher and I got lucky in finding a relief for my headaches.