How a Pain in the Ass Can Give You Headaches–and How to Get Rid of It

I suffer from really bad headaches. The throbbing kind that shoots pain every time you move. The one that makes your eyes water involuntarily. The one that makes you pukey. The one that makes your world spin. I've had them all. Sometimes all together. I also have atrocious posture, and bad work habits (I'm referring to the ergonomics of working, though my work discipline could also use some work). I never really realized that the headaches and the posture and being on my butt hunched over the keyboard more than half the day could actually be related. Yes, I am slow that way.

During my deadlines-from-hell weeks, I become a pill-popper of almost Gregory House proportions. Rix, my fitness guru of a sister, finally helped me see the light. She said, and I quote: "Headaches are associated with tight asses or lazy ones." Eep! Guilty on both counts (though I assume she was referring to the condition of the butt muscles). Now, in case you're wondering how that pain in your ass climbs all the way up to your head, here's the scientific explanation from Rix, in simplified couch potato terms: "Muscles from foot to to head are connected by a fascial sling. If one or more of them are dysfunctional, the others have to compensate. That makes it pull on muscles that are connected to neck. We [experience] it as a headache." I therefore conclude that I have a dysfunctional butt. Which doesn't sound too nice.

So how to deal with your tight/lazy/dysfunctional ass? It's surprisingly simple! I roped in my uber-fit sister-in-law Teena to demonstrate. Aside from the fact that she does the moves better than I do, she also is more photogenic. And she has way nicer workout clothes. Please note that we are not professionals.  (Rix saw these pictures and critiqued them already, but she said they would do. In my mind, she said, "That will do, Pig. That will do."). Also, this is not meant as medical advice. If you do suffer from bad recurring headaches, you may want to consult your doctor.  And if you are a non-literal tight or lazy ass, you may want to seek counseling.

I call this set of moves the Kikay Squats. I know they have a more technical name, but it slips my mind.

Step 1. Assume the position: Feet hip-width apart, knees loose (meaning they aren't locked or stiff), back straight, tummy in, hands and arms by your side. Take this time to smile. If you're like me, and don't really exercise much, this may be the last you'll smile in some time.


Step 2. Technically, this isn't step 2, it's just photo 2, with a bit more info on the squat. Doing a squat is like attempting to sit down on a chair. Except there is no chair (do you take the blue pill or the red pill? Non-Matrix fans, ignore this part). So you bend your knees with your butt sticking out back, your back straight, torso leaning forward slightly.

IMG_5010Step 3. Now pretend you're sitting on the lap of Hubby (yours, not mine. Or Santa Claus, if you prefer), and Hubby is not directly behind you, but to your side. So as you bend your knees and stick out your butt, you have to push your butt to the side. But keep the squat basics: back straight, blah blah. Do this six times on the right side (of course, you do know that you have to stand back up to repeat the move, right?).

IMG_5011Step 4. Now do it six times on the left.

IMG_5014Step 5. You can level up by reaching over your head in the direction opposite where your butt goes. It's like calling the waiter in a really busy restaurant. While sitting on Hubby's lap.

IMG_5018Here's that move on the opposite side (and Teena's wondering when the shoot will be over). Do this six times on each side as well:

IMG_5020That's it! These kikay squats help loosen and mobilize your butt muscles. And if you really want to know why that matters, here's Rix again, verbatim: "When we talk about mobility, there are three main mobility highways: ankles, hips, and thoracic spine. Since muscles are connected from foot to head, these three spots are where most of the muscles get gunked up (yes, "gunked up" is a technical term). Therefore we feel tight, or to the extreme, and we feel pain. Tightness means the range of motion one joint can do is less than what it is meant to do. Squats strengthen the legs, and if done properly, give a good butt." So after you do these Kikay Squats properly, give your butt a pat and say, "Good butt, good butt."

And if you want the step-by-step directions from a pro, here is Rix's version:

1. Give baby squats  by pushing hips back, like you are about to sit. Allow arms to reach forward and up.

2. For the kilay squats, allow hips to gently move to right/left as you do the baby squat. Pretend you are nudging someone with your hips. Let arms naturally reach forward.
3. To add more stretch through your upper torso, lift the arm of same side hips are going and reach it over head to the opposite side. Remember, says Rix, "All move should feel gentle, rhythmical, and subtle."
I did these last week, and I didn't have to pop a pill! What a joy! Hope these exercises help you. Next time, I'll share Rix's tips for mobilizing your ankles.




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