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Tension Headaches: Causes & Solutions

Posted on 14th November 2016 by

A tension headache is the most common type of primary chronic headache, affecting around 3% of the general population and accounting for 40% of headaches seen within a specialist Tension Headaches Physiotherapyheadache clinic.

They are more common in young adults but can occur at any age. They are often linked to periods of high stress or emotional distress.

A tension headache will often affect both sides of the head, with a tight band or vice like grip around the forehead. They can last from 30 minutes to several days, but on average will last 4-6 hours.

There tends to be a strong association with poor posture and often trigger points within the head and neck muscles will either cause or contribute to this type of headache.

There are a number of causes for developing tension headaches:

  • Stress
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Poor posture
  • Irregular meal times
  • Eyestrain
  • Teeth clenching/grinding (also known as Bruxism)
  • Prolonged uncomfortable positions

Tension headaches can be classified as either:

  • Episodic – fewer than 15 days within a month
  • Chronic – over 15 days a month for over 6 months

How we can help you

Our speciality is working with muscles. Given that tension headaches are caused by the muscles around you neck area, seeking help at goPhysio for these types of headaches can be very effective. We would start by thoroughly examining the neck region to find out exactly what may be causing your headaches. We will then put together an active treatment plan which may include:

  • Postural rehabilitation and education
  • Strengthening any weak muscles in the neck & upper back
  • Using hands on techniques to ease any trigger points or tight muscles
  • Mobilising stiff or sore joints

Through working with you, we will aim to ease any immediate issues that are causing you pain or distress but more importantly arm you with the tools to help stop these types of headaches being a frequent part of your life.

Some people find a regular, deep, soft tissue massage with one of our professional massage practitioners can be a highly effective way to keep headaches at bay. Surprisingly, doing regular postural exercises, such as Pilates, can also be of great benefit. These exercises will help you focus on strengthening key areas and postural muscles, which longer term can help reduce the build up of unnecessary tension.

If you suffer with the distress of regular headaches and think they may be tension headaches, get in touch. We’ll be able to carry out a full assessment to find out what issues may be causing your headaches.


2 thoughts on “Tension Headaches: Causes & Solutions”

  1. The Prevalence of Headaches - Go Physio Blog on 30th January 2017 at 1:50 pm said:

    […] are benign, often recurrent but are not caused by an underlying disease or structural problem. Tension type headaches are the most common type of primary […]

  2. The Prevalence of Headaches: Types and Causes - goPhysio Blog on 27th March 2017 at 4:12 pm said:

    […] are benign, often recurrent but are not caused by an underlying disease or structural problem. Tension type headaches are the most common type of primary […]

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