Tension headaches occur as the most prevalent types of headaches, occurring more often in women than in men. Research shows that 48 percent of women and 38 percent of men suffer from tension headaches.
Each year, patients spend more than $2 billion on over the counter headache medications. In fact, people spend a lot of money and effort seeking remedies for headaches. Remedies such as prescription medication to over the counter drugs, both of which cause side effects and rebound headaches. People also seek alternative headache treatments like meditation, acupuncture, and chiropractic.
In fact, chiropractic adjustments are a proven treatment for tension headaches, but there is more to it than just adjustments. Chiropractic offers a whole body approach to treatment that can not only relieve the pain of headaches, but help prevent them as well.
What are Tension Headaches?
The most common type of headache pain is the tension headache.
Tension headaches produce pain ranging from mild to moderate that feels like a tight band is wrapped around the head and neck. While stress can be a factor in the cause of these headaches, it still isn’t well understood how these headaches originate. Symptoms of a tension headache include:
- Aching, dull pain in the head
- Sensation of pressure or tightness on the back and sides of the head or across the forehead
- Tenderness in the shoulder muscles, neck muscles
- Scalp muscle contractions
- but, NO sensitivity to light
There are two categories of tension headaches: chronic and episodic. There
are two primary factors that identify each type. The length of the headache and the frequency can help you determine which type of tension headache you have.
- Chronic Tension Headaches
- Length of Headache – hours and can be continuous
- Frequency of Headache – occur 15 days or more a month for three or more months
- Episodic Tension Headaches
- Length of Headache – 30 minutes to a week
- Frequency of Headache – occur less than 15 days a month for three or more months
There are two primary risk factors for tension type headaches:
- Women – Research shows that nearly 90 percent of women will experience tension headaches throughout the course of their life. Only 70 percent of men will experience tension headaches in their lifetime.
- Middle Age – Tension headaches increase as people approach 40 and peak at middle age, or when a person is in their 40s. However, anyone can get a tension headache, regardless of age.
Lifestyle Changes to Treat Tension Headaches
Diagnosis and treatment from a chiropractor can relieve tension headaches through traditional spinal adjustments and soft tissue manipulation. Your chiropractor may also suggest applying heat or ice packs to the area around your neck, shoulders, or head. A warm bath or shower may also help relieve the pain and discomfort.
Your chiropractor may also help you improve your posture. Poor posture is a very common contributing factor for many types of headaches.
Stress management is another way that you can learn to relieve and prevent headaches. This is typically a combination of minimizing stress in your life and learning relaxation techniques. They can also provide advice on lifestyle and nutrition.
Chiropractic for Tension Headaches
Your Doctor of Chiropractic will sit down with you to discuss your history,
including your headaches. He or she will conduct diagnostic tests including x-rays, MRIs and others to determine if there are underlying causes for your headache triggers. They will recommend various lifestyle changes including dietary changes and exercises that you can do to reduce stress.
Your doctor of chiropractic may also perform chiropractic adjustments, or soft tissue manipulation which will help return the body to proper balance, improving spinal function and alleviating stress on the body and system. This helps to relieve pain as an immediate treatment, but when performed consistently, chiropractic can also help prevent tension headaches, allowing you to live pain free.
Don’t suffer with headaches! Schedule an appointment today.