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Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. Most people have experienced a tension headache at some time in their lives. They are usually felt as a “band” around the head or behind the eyes and are often associated with neck stiffness or pain.
Who do tension headaches affect?
They can develop at any age, but are more common in teenagers and adults. Women tend to suffer from them more commonly than men.
What causes tension headaches?
Tension headaches result from pain that is referred from dysfunctional muscles and joints of the neck and shoulders. This can be exacerbated by, a variety of factors such as:
- Stress and anxiety. Many people ‘hold their tension’ in their neck and shoulders exacerbating tightness and pain.
- Squinting. This can increase tension in the muscles around the eyes, the back of the head and also neck and shoulders.
- Poor posture. Places greater strain on muscles of the neck and shoulders.
- Increased sitting/ lack of physical activity. This increases stiffness of the muscles and joints.
- Muscle imbalances or faulty movement patterns. This result in certain muscles becoming overworked and tight.
- Tiredness. Lack of sleep can lower pain thresholds predisposing to pain and headaches.
- Food sensitivities. May present as headaches.
Can tension headaches be treated?
Yes, because tension headaches result from dysfunctional muscles and joints they therefore generally respond very well to manual therapies which address these structures. However, for best and long-lasting reuslts all contributing factors must also be addressed.
How can I prevent tension headaches?
In order to prevent tension headaches you must address the underlying cause(s) specific for your case. For example, if poor sitting posture is resulting in strain of the muscles of the neck casuing headache then your posture must be corrected. If stress and anxiety trigger your headaches then relaxation or mindfullness mediation can help. If chronic sitting and lack of physical activity is the culprit then integrating exercise into your daily lifestyle is a must.
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“I had long term back pain and severe headaches but after seeing Steffen my headaches were cured almost completely! I also feel I have a lot more understanding into why I get pain and how to avoid headaches and back pain in the future.