It seems hard to imagine, but 3 million people in the United States each year report having tension headaches. They are becoming more and more common. Tension headaches, also referred to as stress headaches, are known for mild to moderate pain that feels like there is a band around the forehead or at the back of the head and neck. Some people only experience them occasionally while others can have them more than 15 times in a month (referred to as chronic tension headaches). No matter how often a person experiences these headaches, they are not easy to deal with. What causes them?
There is no single known cause for tension headaches. There are, however, a number of factors that may contribute to them.
- Mental or emotional stress
- Lack of good posture
- Extreme tiredness
- Not getting the right kind of rest
- Doing too much at one time
These headaches generally come on later in the day and cause the person having them to feel tired and easily irritated. He or she may have muscle aches, tiredness, and sensitivity to light and sound. They are unlike migraines in the fact that they do not come with nausea, vomiting, or problems with vision.
Treatment usually includes some sort of medication to relieve pain and relax the muscles. In severe cases, anti-depressants or anti-seizure medicines may be given. Medications can lose their ability to work as time passes, however. They also are not addressing the root cause of what is making these headaches occur.
Upper cervical chiropractors are successful in treating tension headaches in patients. We focus our attention on making sure the top two vertebrae of the neck are in proper alignment. If they are misaligned, the muscles can become tensed, and the central nervous system may not work properly. This can play a huge role in creating a tension headache. Once we detect a misalignment and begin to correct it, tension headaches may become a thing of the past. A number of patients have found this to be the case.
- Mayo Clinic. Tension Headaches. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tension-headache/basics/definition/con-20014295 (accessed 11 June 2015).
- WebMD. Tension Headaches. http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/tension-headaches (accessed 11 June 2015).