How a Manual Physical Therapist Treats Tension Headaches

The majority of headaches are tension type (up to 90%). Tension type headaches are caused by trigger points in the muscles of the neck and head. Tension type headaches are generally bilateral, of mild to moderate severity and generally described as achy, tight or pressure type pain. Pain can be at the base of the skull, radiate from the neck, back, into the eyes, on top of the head or the face. They are generally not associated with nausea, vomiting or auras; which can be related to cervicogenic or migraine headaches.

massageThe majority of headaches are tension type (up to 90%). Tension type headaches are caused by trigger points in the muscles of the neck and head.

Tension type headaches are generally bilateral, of mild to moderate severity and generally described as achy, tight or pressure type pain. Pain can be at the base of the skull, radiate from the neck, back, into the eyes, on top of the head or the face. They are generally not associated with nausea, vomiting or auras; which can be related to cervicogenic or migraine headaches.

General factors that increase symptoms of tension headaches include: stress, sleep deprivation, bad posture, eyestrain, hunger and fatigue. Stress can increase holding patterns and muscle tension leading to increased headaches. Sleep deprivation can cause decreased healing of tissues in the body leading to chronic inflammation. Poor posture is almost always associated with headaches and can lead to increased stress and strain of tissues and joints in the body. Eyestrain can lead to increase of muscle tightness at the base of the skull due to common nerve pathways.

Treating Tension Headaches:

A Manual Physical Therapist can assess and treat dysfunctions of joints, muscles, fascia and nerves of the cervical spine. Improving balance and mobility of the cervical and cranial joints and soft tissues can significantly improve tension headache symptoms.

Therefore tension type headaches can be treated with soft tissue mobilization of trigger points in the muscles of the head and neck. Joint mobilization is used to improve alignment of the spine and mobility of the cranial sutures. Nerve tension can be treated manually to improve function of nerves. Exercise for the cervical spine is also used to improve and increase overall strength and stability. In addition, relaxation techniques along with education on proper posture and body mechanics are all important components in the prevention of tension headaches.

Elite Health Services, located in Old Greenwich, CT is a world-class provider of certified functional manual based physical therapy, personal fitness, golf & triathlon performance training, massage therapy and wellness related services. Our team of highly skilled and dedicated professionals take a no-excuses approach to providing exceptional care, and delivering exceptional results. To receive updates on upcoming events and to receive F.R.E.E health and wellness articles enter your email address here today!

 

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