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Tension Headaches


Tension Headaches

How a Chiropractor Can Help with Tension Headaches

Millions of people experience tension headaches every day. While this condition is mostly benign, it could negatively impact the person’s quality of life when it becomes chronic.

Due to the diversity of causes that lead to headaches, an accurate diagnosis and management plan can be difficult to obtain.

As a general rule of thumb, tension headache is a benign symptom that stems from sleep deprivation, fatigue, or drastic weather changes. However, it can also be the result of more severe conditions. Moreover, consistent headaches can negatively impact your quality of life.

On this page, we will cover tension headaches, then switch gears to how chiropractic care can help patients with this condition.]

Tension headaches

Tension headaches are extremely prevalent and result from the contraction of the skull muscles. They present as dull pain localized in the front or back of the head.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tension headaches affect around 5% of the worlds population.

According to studies, women are more likely to experience a tension headache then males.

Tension headaches arise from extreme fatigue, poor sleep, extreme temperatures, and caffeine withdrawal. The good news is tension headaches rarely require any special medical treatment. However, if conventional medical treatment fails to improve your symptoms, a headache chiropractor can be helpful.

What are the symptoms of tension headaches?

Besides the dull head pain, tension headaches may present with other symptoms, including:

  • Tenderness around the area of the forehead and scalp
  • Pressure around the forehead
  • Distractibility (i.e., difficulty to focus on one task)
  • Irritability and fatigue
  • The absence of nausea or vomiting

What causes tension headaches?

The exact causes of tension headaches are still unclear. Scientists believe that this condition occurs when the muscles surrounding your head and neck contract or are in spasm.

There is also some evidence that tension headaches are the result of activating specific neurons in the periphery. These neurons are responsible for transmitting sensory information from the body to the brain. This includes temperature, touch, and pain.

The most prominent factor that determines how susceptible you are to tension headaches is genetics. So, if your parents often experience this condition, you are at a higher risk.

Some common triggers of tension headaches include:

  • Fatigue
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Bruxism (i.e., tooth grinding)
  • Lack of sleep
  • Skipping meals
  • Dry eyes
  • A cold or flu
  • A sinus infection
  • Caffeine
  • Poor posture
  • Eye strain
  • Dehydration
  • Emotional stress

Unfortunately, managing tension headaches with over-the-counter (OCT) drugs, such as acetaminophen, can backfire. Those who suffer from chronic tension headaches might experience this symptom a few times a week. Therefore, it is impractical to take OCT drugs every other day. Remember that acetaminophen and other OCT painkillers carry some serious side effects, especially when misused.

For instance, going over the recommended dose of acetaminophen can lead to rapid liver failure. This is why it is always recommended to seek natural solutions – Enter Chiropractic Care.

How can we relieve your tension headache?

The American Chiropractic Association states that spinal manipulation is a very effective treatment modality in addressing different types of headaches. More specifically, chiropractic adjustment that targets the neck area can relieve a number of headaches (e.g., tension headaches, migraines, cluster headaches).

The chiropractor will adjust the segments of your spine that in need of an adjustment to optimize the function of the central nervous system followed by some other modalities that we offer. With the right treatment plan, this will improve your stress levels and alleviate the tension around your muscles.

Despite the various etiologies of headaches, a stressful lifestyle and tense muscles seem to always be on the list of risk factors. Whether you spend too much time sitting on a desk or driving to work, the insidious buildup of stress can manifest as headaches.

Getting the help of a headache chiropractor would also mean you will get tips on your current fitness level, exercises, posture, and how to relax.

Your chiropractor can help you pinpoint the triggers of your headaches, as well as some practical tips to control them. The therapies used to address chronic headaches are diverse and include manual therapy, rehabilitation, and lifestyle modifications.

In the upcoming sections, we will detail some of the chiropractic therapies and how they help with headaches.

1.      Manual therapy

As the name implies, the chiropractor will use special techniques to manipulate your spine and adjust its alignment. Mostly, your chiropractor will focus on the neck region since it can be the source of many headaches.

It might take a few sessions before the real results of manual therapy become apparent. However, scientific evidence suggests that even one session of manual therapy is enough to yield impressive results.

2.      Rehabilitation

Frequent headaches are a form of chronic pain. Therefore, rehabilitation therapy can be very useful in addressing them.

Your chiropractor will plan specific rehabilitation modalities to help you recover from chronic headaches.

3.      Electrical stimulation, acupuncture, and ultrasound

Recently, researchers found some compelling evidence that some therapies, such as acupuncture and ultrasound, can help patients with chronic pain.

Finding the best treatment for you remains a process of trial and error. Therefore, you need to be patient before you find the right solution.

4.      Lifestyle changes and education

Depending on your medical history, your chiropractor will be able to provide you with tailored advice that fits your condition. Not the generic tips listed on every website out there.

5.      Referral and co-management

If the chiropractor sees that your condition requires specialized medical care, he/she might refer you to a neurologist or another healthcare professional.

Regardless, you might still benefit from receiving both treatments – medical and chiropractic care.

Takeaway message

Chiropractors can help you deal with many forms of chronic headaches, especially when conventional treatments have failed.

We hope that this page managed to highlight the crucial role of chiropractic care in helping with different types of headaches.

If you have any questions about headaches or would like to schedule with the Doctor, feel free to call/text us at 347-395-1717 or use the contact