Let’s Talk Tensions Headaches

17th May 2019
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Let’s Talk Tensions Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common cause of acute headaches effecting a huge population of people each year. This type of headache can affect one’s work, school and even social life and can be incredibly frustrating and taxing on the body.

Causes of Tension Headaches:

Tension headaches can have a vast range of internal (within the biomechanics and physiology of your body) and external (outside of your body and into your lifestyle environment) factors that can bring up or keep a persistent tension headache constant throughout your life.

Internal Factors:

  • Sustained whiplash injury or traumatic injury
  • Poor posture or sustained bad posture
  • Cervical Disc Irritation
  • Overactivity of the muscles within the neck and shoulder
  • Cervical instability or weakness
  • Cervical degeneration (arthritic changes within the joint)
  • Sinus problems

External Factors:

  • Stress and/or anxiety – usually accompanied by grinding your teeth
  • Work/desk environment (Very Important)
  • Sleeping habits and pillow set up
  • Bad habits (holding a bag pack on one shoulder for example)

It’s important to remember that there could be more than one root cause, and can usually be a mix of both internal and external factors

Signs and Symptoms:

Usually a tension headache is pretty self-explanatory, but the distribution of the headache can vary depending on what is the root cause. For example: a cervicogenic headache due to sleeping on too high a pillow can vary from one caused by an overactive upper trap muscle from too much stress and bad posture. The usual feeling is tension or tight band of pressure around the head, eyes, or neck. These symptoms can be accompanied by muscle pain or fatigue as well as nausea or dizziness.

What can we do about it?

As clinicians we are determined to find the root cause of the problem, whether it’s postural, stress, work environment or just overuse or weakness of a certain muscle group.

Your appointment will involve the following steps:

  1. An initial chat will help us start to determine the root cause of your pain, how it is impacting your life and what action we need to take to start your recovery process.
  2. An analysis of posture, muscles and strength to determine how we can alleviate the symptoms, as well as palpation of the spine and surrounding neck/shoulder musculature to find out any other internal factors that could be causing that headache.
  3. Treatment will start as soon as possible (like today!): Depending on what is found in the step 1 and 2. an initial treatment will be carried out to alleviate the pain straight away! Additionally, a treatment plan will be constructed tailored to your specific findings and pain, and an explanation of what it entails and how we can progress. Some treatment examples can include:
  • Advice on bad habits, bed and work environment
  • Muscle fascial release, trigger point and dry needling for overactive and symptomatic muscles
  • Spinal manipulation and traction to increase synovial fluid production and correct alignment of the spinal segments (it also feels great, and can often reduce pain if joint stiffness is one of the causes)
  • Muscle stability and strengthening of weak or under active muscles which comes hand in hand with postural correction

These are just a few examples of how we can alleviate pain and help you live a better lifestyle pain free. If you are suffering from any pain at all, we are here to help, so please get in touch.

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