All about tension headaches | What can you do about it?

Tension headaches are very annoying and can hinder your daily life. Do you ever suffer from a dull oppressive pain on one or both sides of your head? There is a good chance that you suffer from tension headaches. It is not always easy to determine the cause, because there are many factors that can cause tension headaches. In this blog we tell you everything about the causes, symptoms and treatment of tension headaches. We also provide useful tips to reduce this type of headache.

Tension headaches are also known as muscle tension headaches. Both names mean the same thing.

What is a Tension Headache?

There are different types of headaches, including tension headaches, cluster headaches, and migraines. Tension headaches feel like a squeezing pain on the sides of your head. The headaches come back regularly, the frequency of which varies per person. You can suffer from it every day or a few days a month. You can often still carry out daily activities such as work, sports and hobbies. Tension headaches are therefore not dangerous, but they are a clear signal from your body that something is not right. Most people immediately turn to a painkiller when they have a headache. This may give immediate relief, but does not solve the problem. Sometimes painkillers actually make the headache worse.

Chronic tension headache 

Do you suffer from tension headaches more than 15 days per month for at least three months per year? Then we talk about chronic tension headaches. The most common cause of this is the overuse of migraine medication and painkillers. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between this form of tension headache and migraine.

Causes of tension headaches

It is sometimes difficult to determine the cause of a tension headache. As the name says, it can be caused by too much stress and tension. In many cases, headaches come from the neck. For example, due to incorrect posture or work pressure, joint tightness or movement is limited. This causes the muscles of the neck and shoulders to tense and tighten. Surrounding nerves become irritated and overloaded, resulting in headaches. Tension headaches can also have other causes such as:

  • fatigue
  • lack of sleep
  • wrong attitude
  • overload of the chewing muscles
  • irregular life pattern
  • chronic cold
  • dental disease
  • anemia
  • excessive use of caffeine
  • hormonal fluctuations
  • release of tension after a busy period

Did you know that tension headaches are the most common type of headache? Almost 50% of all headaches are tension headaches. Women suffer more from it than men.

Tension headache symptoms

How do you know if you have a tension headache? You will often notice this by one or more of the following symptoms:

  • pain on both sides of your head
  • pain around your head, like a kind of tight band
  • sensitive muscles of the shoulders, neck and head
  • less appetite
  • sensitive to loud noises or bright light
  • the pain does not get worse with exertion
  • the pain is mild to moderate and quite bearable
  • The duration of the headache can vary from half an hour to several days

Tips to reduce tension headaches 

Do you suffer from tension headaches and do you want to know what you can do about it? A healthy lifestyle helps reduce headaches. Try the tips below:

  1. Take it easy

If too much stress and tension is the cause of your tension headache, take it easy. Look for the right balance. Relax and you will notice that your headache will soon subside.

2. Take a warm bath

The heat relaxes your muscles, reducing headaches. Add some magnesium salt for an extra relaxing effect. A day at the sauna is also a good idea. 3. Book a massage If you suffer from a headache, a massage of the neck and skull can help. The massage relaxes the muscles, which often reduces your headache.

4. A good night’s sleep

Pain is an energy eater. If you are tired, you are less able to deal with a headache, which often leads to more fatigue. During your sleep, your body relaxes and heals, an important process. Poor sleeping posture prevents muscles from relaxing properly. A good mattress and pillow are crucial for a good night’s sleep.

5. Healthy food

There is no scientific evidence linking diet and headaches, yet plenty of people notice that their headaches increase when eating certain foods. Keep a headache diary to find out if this is the case for you. Did you know that excessive caffeine consumption can cause headaches? Caffeine is in coffee, (ice) tea, energy drinks, cola, chocolate milk and dark chocolate. Alcoholic drinks are also known to be a trigger.

6. Keep moving

Movement helps you to relax and keeps your body healthy and fit. Try to exercise for at least half an hour every day. Take a walk, bike to work, hit the gym, or take up an active hobby like dancing.

Treatment of Tension Headaches with Chiropractic

Chiropractic can help with various types of headaches. During a first consultation we discuss your complaints and general health. This is followed by a physical examination, in which we not only look at the complaint, but also at the functioning of your entire body. This results in a personal treatment plan with the focus on reducing the tension headache. This is done through gentle pressure techniques that bring the body back into balance. The tension of the muscles decreases, so that the tension headache decreases, occurs less often or even disappears completely.

Would you like to know more about what chiropractic can do for tension headaches? Would you like to get rid of your headache in a natural way? Make an appointment for an initial consultation. You do not need a referral from your GP for this.

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