Tension Headache Overview and Chiropractic Care For Them
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. They are characterized by mild to moderate pain that usually is focused across the forehead. The exact cause of tension headaches is not fully understood. It has been shown that chiropractic treatment may help substantially with tension headaches, especially if the cause can be figured out and then this root cause worked on for symptom and frequency reduction.
Misalignment of the cervical spine, called vertebral subluxation, along with changes in certain brain chemicals, like serotonin and endorphins, have also been linked to these headaches. Although we don’t know the exact cause, there are certain triggers we know that can bring on these headaches. They include allergens, poor eyesight, poor posture, stress, anxiety, teeth clenching, alcoholic beverages, and poor ergonomics in the work environment.
The most common symptom that patients with tension headaches experience is mild to moderate aching head pain. This pain may spread across the forehead or may feel like a tight band around the entire head. Other symptoms may include a sensation of tightness around the sides or the back of the head, scalp tenderness, mild nausea, or loss of appetite. Typically triggered by stress, these headaches may last for up to a week in some patients or could be short lived and less than a day in others.
For some patients, chiropractic care can alleviate the discomfort of tension headaches resulting in an improved quality of life and increased ability to function. A care plan begins with a thorough examination, where the chiropractic doctor learns about the person’s history, symptoms, and different types of triggers that may lead to tension headaches. The chiropractor may then formulate a customized treatment plan to treat the pain that best fits the patient’s needs.
The chiropractor’s treatment options may include spinal adjustments, acupuncture, acupressure, relaxation techniques, nutritional supplements, massage, muscle work, stress management techniques, or spinal decompression treatment. The goal of care is to diagnose and treat the cause of the problem which will thereby minimize the duration and frequency of the tension headaches and to aid in stress management.
Care from a chiropractic doctor is a safe, effective, and noninvasive form of treatment that may help very much in patients experiencing tension headaches. A continuing care plan may be recommended to ensure long lasting benefit to decrease the headache occurrence. Typically one or two visits will not be enough to alleviate the symptoms appropriately.