Tension headaches are one of the primary complaints for new patients who visit my chiropractic office in San Diego. This condition may seem like a minor health issue to those of us who do not suffer from chronic or severe headaches. But they can have a major role as to how the patient and the population are generally affected.
There are five basic kinds of headaches — tension, toxic, sinus, cluster and migraine, this post will focus on tension headaches because they are the most common.
The most common type of headache, by far, are tension headaches. Roughly 4 out of 5 people are subject to tension headaches that occur from time to time, while five percent of that group will experience a tension headache every day. Tension headaches also affect women twice as much as men.
The duration of tension headaches can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several days on average. They are typically described as a band-like pain with pressure, or throbbing of the head or scalp. There are other, more migraine like symptoms that some people experience but these are the most common symptoms related to this type of headache.
Patients can experience a significant increase in both the severity and the frequency of the headaches with both physical and environmental stress. Common stimuli that can magnify symptoms of a tension headache include emotional stress, depression, not getting enough rest or sleep, excessive noise, bad posture, whiplash car accidents, muscle tension in the neck or upper back and chiropractic subluxations causing pressure on the nerves. More often than not, muscle tension headaches normally occur due to a combination of the above mentioned causes.
Chiropractic treatment for muscle tension headaches includes adjustments to help improve pain free range of motion and relax the muscles. In addition to adjustments we also include therapeutic ultrasound and electrical muscle stimulation to help relieve the muscle tension that causes the headache. Most patients find chiropractic care effective in relieving muscle tension headaches.