Tension Headache

By Jay Herrera, DPT
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people, bedtime and rest concept - man lying in bed at home suffering from headache

Tension Headache, What Is It?

There are many, many causes of headache, ranging from simple stress to tumors.  The focus of this article will be on musculoskeletal tension as the root cause of your headache. Like many people, you are probably often living a hectic lifestyle. If  so you most likely are experiencing physical stress and emotional stress day to day at varying levels. Your work can sometimes be stressful as you may have project deadlines to meet or repetitive tasks to complete. Maybe you spend all day hunched over a computer keyboard. erhaps you have a heavy manual labor job that requires you to lift objects or maybe reach overhead repeatedly?!

No Matter what your lifestyle, you will most likely internalize the physical or emotional stress and your body will hold this created energy and produce muscle tension. For most human beings, a common location for this retained tension is the back of your neck (base of your skull) and upper back (upper traps). When you have a chronic state of this tension, it can refer pain to the back, top, front, or even sides of your head. This can often times produce a tension headache.

What Is The Best Way To Alleviate Tension Headache?:

Reducing stress levels can help almost immediately for most people. Engaging in consistent light to moderate intensity exercise several times per week can also help not only in the short term but for long term management of tension headaches. Receiving soft tissue massage by a massage therapist may help as well to alleviate and manage tension.  Physical therapy and chiropractic soft tissue manipulation intervention along with joint manipulation of the neck spine segments may help to alleviate your tension headache pain.

Is it common to have at least mild tension headache pain from time to time; however, if the problem is moderate to severe and chronic, consulting a healthcare professional may be recommended to rule out any medical conditions that can cause headaches. Ensuring good circulation, no tumor growth, no infectious disease, no fractures, and no arthritis are all examples of organic disease that can cause headache.