Tension headaches are the most common form of a headache, and it is no wonder in today’s stressful world. We’re going to take a look at seven different triggers for tension headaches. Then we will discuss many of the possible treatment options. We will conclude with an alternative therapy that more and more headache patients are finding success with.
Tension Headache Triggers
It feels like a band has been wrapped around your head is gradually being tightened. You’ve got a tension headache again. What happened? You probably experienced one of the following triggers.
- Stress – This is the number one trigger for tension headaches. Stress results in tension being stored in the neck. Before long a headache is in full swing. We’ll comment further on the connection between the neck and headaches later on in our article.
- Lack of Sleep – If you get headaches, it is important to sleep 7 to 8 hours per night on a regular schedule. Even just one rough night can lead to a headache the next day.
- Missing a Meal – Blood sugar fluctuations can also lead to headaches so be sure not to skip any meals even if you are busy or do not feel hungry.
- Eyestrain – Sometimes headaches can be the first indicator that a person needs glasses. If you find that your headaches happen during meetings when you have to look at a faraway screen, while you are reading small print, or while driving, it may be time to head to the eye doctor.
- Overexertion – You may have simply overdone it. Overexertion headaches can be from either physical or emotional strain. Try to avoid strenuous exercise if you already have a headache. Good coping mechanisms for emotional stress are also important if this is a trigger.
- Trauma – Sometimes the onset of a headache condition follows a head or neck injury such as a car accident or a sports injury. If you have suffered whiplash or a concussion, the underlying cause of your headaches can once again be related to the neck.
- Posture – Here’s one more way not caring for the neck can lead to headaches. Poor posture while lifting, at the office, or even during recreation can lead to neck pain and the type of tension that causes headaches. You may also need to replace your pillow or change your sleep position if you find that you frequently wake up with a headache.
5 Ways to Prevent Headaches
There are a few different schools of thought when it comes to headache prevention. Most of them have to do with tracking triggers and avoiding them. However, the last form of care we will discuss is used in an attempt to take care of the underlying cause of headaches.
- Stress Management – Since stress is the number one trigger, many view stress management as the number one preventative method. How can you reduce stress in positive ways (especially since common stress relievers like smoking or drinking alcohol can actually cause more headaches)? Several of the best ways to reduce stress include daily exercise, deep breathing techniques, taking a walk, relaxing reading, participating in your favorite hobby, listening to soothing music, or taking a hot bath.
- Ice – Inflammation is common after injuries. Ice is the natural enemy of inflammation in the body. Always use something between your body and the ice such as a towel. Be sure to keep ice sessions brief, perhaps just 20 minutes at a time. The neck is usually the area that is experiencing the inflammation, so an ice pack that wraps around the back of the neck and across the shoulders may be a good investment if you get frequent headaches.
- Posture Corrector – Since the neck is so closely linked with headaches, a posture corrector may be just what you need to use better posture whether you are on the job or on the couch. Core strengthening exercises can also help to keep the spine straight. Try to avoid long periods of sitting. If you work in an office, try to get up at least once per hour to stretch and move around.
- Get New Glasses – If your headaches are related to eyestrain, you may need to get a pair of glasses or a new pair. Perhaps your prescription needs to be altered. If you work in front of monitors and mobile devices all day, you may need glasses with a special coating to block blue light and reduce the glare.
- Upper Cervical Chiropractic – Misalignments of the top two bones of the neck can create changes in blood flow, brainstem function, and other complications that can lead to chronic headache conditions. Correcting this misalignment via precise and gentle adjustments is what this subspecialty of chiropractic is all about.
The Best Way to Get Natural Headache Relief
If you suffer from headaches on a regular basis, especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma, we want to encourage you to give upper cervical chiropractic a try. This safe and cost-effective method of care has been able to help numerous patients in case studies. To learn more about the process of upper cervical chiropractic and what it may be able to do to help you, contact a practitioner in your local area to schedule a consultation. You may be a few low force corrections away from finding a practical source of relief for your chronic headache condition.