What happens when you combine stress, repetitive motion activities, and poor posture? For so many people the answer is a tension headache. Work pressures, relationship struggles, daily stress, and other life challenges can all be triggers for tension headaches.
Tension headaches are described as a dull pain, tightness, or pressure that starts typically in your neck and shoulders, then slowly travels up the base of your skull and then wraps around your head. These headaches are also called stress headaches and are quite common for adults.
Common Symptoms Of Tension Headaches
Tension headaches are distinctive and can be very painful. On the bright side, they are rarely an indication of a more serious condition and more often as a result of a stressful time. Tension headaches can also trigger a migraine for many people.
- Muscle tightness or soreness in the neck, jaw, and shoulders.
- Squeezing pain or dull pressure that originates at the back of the head and then moves forward over the top and sides described as a tight band or vice around the head.
- Difficulty focusing.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Decreased appetite.
- Pain or pressure on both sides of the head equally.
15 Common Triggers Of Tension Headaches
- Jaw clenching or grinding.
- Depression or anxiety.
- Certain medications.
- Keeping your head in one position for too long such as from using a cell phone or computer.
- Neck or head injury, regardless of it being old or new.
- Hormonal changes.
- Sleeping with the wrong pillow.
- Skipping meals.
- Eye strain.
Treatment For Tension Headaches
- Keep a headache journal. Journaling the headaches is very useful in pinpointing the triggers you need to avoid.
- Lifestyle Changes. Such as limiting alcohol, avoiding certain foods, regular exercise, proper sleep, and relaxation techniques.
- Over the counter and prescription medications.
- See A Dentist. Especially if the headaches are triggered by clenching and grinding.
- Chiropractic Care. Chiropractors recognize that spinal tension can deeply affect many areas of the body, and they can treat this underlying tension to ease the frequency of your headaches.
- Rest and relaxation. Sit in a quiet, dark room with your eyes closed and just relax for a bit. Consider meditation, breathing deeply, and visualizing a peaceful image.
- Acupuncture. With increased blood flow in the head and neck, acupuncture has been known to help relax the muscles there.
- Massage. Massage can be done to ease the pressure brought on during a tension-related headache. By focusing on the neck, shoulders, and head, massage can decrease the pain and relax muscles that are triggering the pain.
As you have gathered, tension headaches are often triggered by things that are difficult to avoid. In today’s fast pace, our lives are full of family, work and community obligations that are often the cause stress which can then trigger tension headaches.
Understanding what is the cause of the tension headache can help us understand the changes in our lifestyle and thus the best treatment for when these unwanted headaches arise. However, tension headaches are your body’s way of telling you that it is under stress and indicating a change is needed and learning to listen to our body is a must!