Tension headaches are a very common reason why people visit our Sydney Chiropractor at Advanced Sports Chiropractic. Headaches affect most Australians. There are often many causes of headaches and these generally involve the neck joints, nerves, and surrounding muscles.
Tension Headache Treatment
Tension headache treatment by our Sydney Chiropractor is aimed at relieving the underlying cause of the headaches.
Depending on each individuals circumstance, tension headache treatment may include:
- massage of tight muscles of the neck, shoulder and scalp to decrease tension
- specific exercises to improve and maintain neck joint function, strength and stability
- mobilization or manipulation of the spinal joints that may be causing a pinched nerve
- posture correction and advice
- recognition of certain triggers of headaches
- improving your nervous systems ability to cope with stress
In many cases, results can be seen within weeks and long term relief is quite common.
Causes of Headaches
Initially, our Chiropractor will look at what may be triggering your headaches. These may include diet, exercise, sleeping posture and work posture.
Other triggers may include TMJ problems (eg. jaw clenching or grinding of teeth), vision problems, and sinus issues. Another very common cause is due to neuro-musculo-skeletal issues, i.e. they are related to the neck regions joints, the nerves exiting the neck, and the surrounding supporting muscles of the neck and shoulders.
There can also be more sinister causes of headaches and these need to be excluded before we will proceed with Chiropractic care. Further testing may be required such as X-Rays, CT-Scans or MRI Scans, or a referral to an appropriate specialist.
Types of Headaches:
A migraine is a specific type of headache that can be experienced once or twice a year, or as often as two or three times a week. The pain is severe, throbbing and usually on one side of the head. A migraine attack may last from four hours to three days, or longer.
Symptoms of migraine headaches can include:
1. vomiting and nausea,
2. light or noise sensitivity,
3. an aura or other visual disturbance
4. or even sensitivity to smell.
Triggers causing Migraine may include:
1. diet such as cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits, alcohol (especially red wine),
2. too little or too much sleep,
3. menstrual cycles (occurs 2 to 3 times more frequently in women than men),
4. chemical exposure,
5. emotional factors such as stress or fatigue,
6. or even relaxation (weekend migraines), whichare often triggered by a period of stress and overwork followed by relaxation.
Tension type headaches are by far the most common, affecting about of 75% of all headache sufferers. People describe tension headaches as a constant dull, achy feeling either on one or both sides of the head, and may produce a feeling of a tight band or dull ache around the head or behind the eyes. The cause is generally from neck spinal joints losing their motion and becoming fixated, which then irritate or “pinch the nerves” causing pain or headaches. This is generally associated with trigger points or very tight muscles around the shoulders and neck, which need to be relieved by soft tissue techniques and stretching.
Cluster headache, nicknamed “suicide headache”, is a neurological disease that involves, as its most prominent feature, an immense degree of pain. “Cluster” refers to the tendency of these headaches to occur periodically, with active periods interrupted by spontaneous remissions. The cause of the disease is currently unknown. It affects approximately 0.1% of the population, and men are more commonly affected than women.
The pain of cluster headaches is markedly greater than in other headache conditions, including severe migraines; experts have suggested that it may be the most painful condition known to medical science. Female patients have reported it as being more severe than childbirth.
Cluster headaches are typically very short in duration, excruciating headaches, usually felt on one side of the head behind the eyes. This is the only type of headache that tends to occur at night. One possible theory is that like migraines, cluster headaches are likely to be related to a dilation of the blood vessels in the brain, causing a localized increase in pressure.
Treatment by our Sydney Chiropractor involves maintaining the integrity of spinal function, removing nerve interference, and reducing tension levels of the surrounding muscles and ligaments.
Rebound headaches are another type that can occur when you use too many painkillers and other pain-related medications. One explanation is that your brain becomes more excitable due to the medication, therefore causing more headaches. Another reason is because you go through withdrawal symptoms as the level of the drug in your bloodstream falls.