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Tension Headaches – Causes and Chiropractic Treatment Options

Tension Headaches Treatment in Bellevue, NE

Headaches (HA’s) in general make up one of the most common causes of human pain. If you have ever had a headache you know how debilitating they are, and how much they affect the quality of your life. However, not all headaches are created equal. In our December blog we are going to talk about the most common type of primary headache the TENSION HEADACHE, and what you can do if you are suffering with them.

foot showing where plantar fasciitis is commonly experienced
Tension headaches typically begin with pain in the back of the head and radiate to the top of the head. Described as “band-like” or “cap-like” pain.

What is a Tension Headache?

  • Pain from a tension headache typically impacts the whole head however, may begin in the back of the head or above the eyebrows

  • Many people describe the pain as a cap or band-like sensation, which encircles their skull. Others describe their pain as a muscle tension in their neck or shoulder region.

  • Pain frequently described as constant and pressure-like

  • Unlike migraine headaches, tension headaches are not associated with nausea or vomiting and do not have symptoms such as flashing lights or blind spots.

  • Occur more commonly in women and according to the World Health Organization 1 in every 20 persons in the world suffer with a daily tension headache.

Common Causes of Tension Headaches:

Lack of Sleep

Nutritional deficiencies/Low caloric intake

Increased Stress

Muscular tension caused by poor posture (Neck Pain)

Muscular imbalances in the neck, shoulders, chest, or back (Upper Crossed Syndrome)

Management of Tension Headaches

The typical medical management of tension headaches involves the use of prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications. Other supportive treatments include stress management, ergonomic changes, and massage. It is important to remember that although OTC medications are used for tension HA’s that they are medications and may have side effects and potential interactions with prescription medications. It is important to consult a health care professional if you have questions regarding OTC medications and their use.

diagram of tension headaches due to poor posture

The Behm Muscle & Joint Clinic Approach to Tension Headaches

At Behm Muscle & Joint Clinic we are able to use our conservative health care services and address the causes of your tension headaches. Our approach involves a full case history and functional evaluation of your range of motion, muscle imbalances, and posture. We are able to address your biomechanical issues by combining joint mobilizations of your neck and upper back, soft tissue therapy (Active Release Techniques, Myofascial Release, etc) to decrease tension in overactive muscles. Correct muscle imbalances in you posture (Upper Crossed Syndrome) by incorporating rehabilitation exercises to engage muscles that may have been weak by chronic poor posture/overuse.

Research shows that Chiropractic joint mobilizations and soft tissue therapy are great treatment options for SUSTAINED Tension-Type headache relief. In the Boline et al study (1995) Chiropractic care was compared to the medication amitriptyline for tension headaches. During the treatment phase both Chiropractic care and medication care patients improved however 4 weeks after cessation of the study the medication group returned to pre-treatment status and the Chiropractic care patients showed continued improvement.

If you are someone you know is suffering from Tension Headaches and is not finding relief from prior treatments, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 402-292-1450 or schedule a consultation online. Our clinic is a Preferred Provider for the majority of health insurance companies

Content written by Dr. Adam Behm, DC, CCSP®

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