If so, then you are among the 30-80% of the U.S. adult population who suffers from occasional tension headaches. Approximately3% suffer from chronic daily tension headaches. Women are twice as likely to suffer from tension-type headaches as men. Mostpeople with episodic tension headaches have them no more than once or twice a month, but the headaches can occur more frequently. Chronic tension headache suffers can have headaches for more than 60-90 days.
So what causes Tension Headaches?
There is no single cause for tension headaches. This type of headache is not an inherited trait that runs in families. Tension headaches are usually triggered by some type of environmental or internal stress. The most common sources of stress include family, social relationships, friends, work, and school. In some cases, tension headaches are caused by tightened muscles in the back of the neck and scalp. This muscle tension may be caused by
- Inadequate rest
- Poor posture
- Emotional stress, including depression
Unlike migraine headaches, there are no associated neurological symptoms (muscle weakness or blurred vision) with tension headaches. In addition, severe sensitivity to light or noise, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting are not symptoms usually associated with tension headaches.
How are tension headaches treated?
The goals of treatment for tension headaches are to prevent further attacks and relieve any current pain. Your physician may prescribe medications such a pain relievers, muscle relaxants, or antidepressants. Medications do not cure headaches and over time, pain-relievers and other medication may lose their effectiveness. Identifying the stressors or factors that may be triggering your headaches is very important in alleviating your pain. Physical Therapy is another option that your physician may perscribe or recommend.
How can Elite Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy help?
Elite’s physical therapists will conduct a through examination that includes a review of your health history. The therapist will ask you questions and will perform tests to determine the most likely cause of your headaches. Listed below are some questions our therapist may ask to help identify causes.
- You will be asked :
- To recall any pervious injuries to your neck, head and jaw
- The location, nature, and behavior of your pain and other symptoms
- To draw your areas of pain on a body diagram
- Perform tests of muscle strength and sensation
- Examine your posture with sitting, standing, and performing various activities
- Measure the range of motion of your neck, shoulders, and other relevant parts of your body,
- Use manual therapy to evaluate the mobility of the joints and muscles in your neck
If it appears that you do have tension-type headaches, our physical therapists will work with you to design a plan of care to meet your goals. If the evaluation indicates that you may have a different type of headache—such as sinus, migraine, or cluster headache—the physical therapist will refer you to another health care professional for additional diagnostic tests and treatment.
Elite Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy’s therapists will work with you to correct the problems that are causing your pain and will help you learn to prevent headaches through simple changes to your posture and lifestyle.
Improve neck mobility: Our use specialized techniques called manual therapy and trigger point dry needling to increase movement and relieve pain and to stretch the muscles of the back of the neck.
Improve your strength: We will teach you exercises to increase the strength of the muscles that help stabilize your upper back and neck to improve your posture and endurance and make it easier for you to sit or stand for longer periods of time without discomfort.
Improve your posture: Elite’s therapists will teach you ways to improve your posture. Whether it is simply pushing your chest out or pulling your shoulders blades backwards and together, slight modifications to everyday living can make a vast improvement in posture.
Modify your workstation or home office: Tips may include:
- Using a headset instead of a regular phone
- Adjusting your computer screen so that it is no lower than the level of your eyes
- Finding an appropriate desk chair
- Adjusting the position of your computer mouse
See if Elite Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy can help you alleviate your headaches and provide you with the necessary tools to prevent them in the future.