There are several different categories of headaches. These are sinus, cluster, migraine, and tension headaches. When it feels like a rubber band is tightening around your skull or you have a pain that travels over the head and rests behind the eyes, you are probably experiencing a tension headache—and those can be a real pain—no pun intended. Usually, these kinds of headaches are due to stressors in our lives—not a symptom of a serious condition.
Tension headaches can also cause you to have sleep problems and trouble eating. In some cases, it can be a trigger for a migraine headache.
In one of my previous blogs I explained how chiropractic care and acupuncture can alleviate sinus pain. This blog will discuss how chiropractic adjustment and acupuncture relieve tension headache discomfort.
One of the reasons chiropractic care and acupuncture is effective for the relief of tension headaches is that most of the time, muscle tension begins in the neck. There are a group of muscles at the base of the skull called suboccipital muscles. This group of muscles controls small movements between the first couple of vertebrae of the spinal column and the skull.
There are many different triggers for a tension headache. Stress, anxiety, depression are common triggers. Also, when you do not maintain good posture, take frequent brakes from your computer screen, stretch during the work day, or experience a neck injury—this can put strain on the subocciptal muscle group. Muscle strain can cause something called a subluxation in the upper back and/or neck. The definition of a subluxation is “a slight misalignment of the vertebrae, and is regarded in chiropractic theory as the cause of many health problems.”
Chiropractic Adjustment and Tension Headaches
Chiropractic is a natural treatment for tension headaches, and headaches in general. There are medical treatments, including injections, but it is always a good idea to begin with the least invasive treatment. When the spine is realigned through adjustment, this relieves pain that is caused by tightened, fatigued muscles. Usually your chiropractor will massage the muscles to promote relaxation or may include a stimulation treatment to block pain receptors, which also helps the muscles to relax.
Acupuncture and Tension Headaches
Chinese medicine practitioners have used acupuncture for centuries to treat a variety of conditions. Many chiropractors are trained in this ancient art. There have been several studies that demonstrate acupuncture relieves headache pain. The basic premise of acupuncture is balancing the energy or “Qi” of the body by inserting needles into specific points on the body. This re-balancing eliminates tension and pain. The positive effects of acupuncture last for days to weeks after treatment. The great thing about acupuncture is that while it sounds scary—you will probably not feel a single thing during treatment, except relaxed.
If you suffer from tension headaches, contact me today for a consultation!