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Body Wellness: Tension Headaches

By Dr. Kelly Herta, DC

Tension Headaches are a condition involving pain or discomfort in the head, scalp or neck, usually associated with muscle tightness in these areas. Tension headaches are one of the most common forms of headaches. They can occur at any age, but are most common in adults and adolescents.

 

Tension headaches result from the contraction of neck and scalp muscles. One cause of this muscle contraction is stress. Any activity that requires the head to be held in one position for a long time can also cause this muscle contraction.  Such activities include typing or use of computers, and repetitive work with the hands. Sleeping in a cold room or sleeping with the neck in an abnormal position, like sleeping on too many pillows, can also trigger tension headaches. Other causes may include spinal misalignment, eye strain, fatigue, alcohol use, excessive smoking, excessive caffeine use, and overexertion.


Symptoms of tension headaches include:

  • Dull or pressure-like pain in the scalp, temples or back of the neck
  • Tension on both sides of the neck
  • A feeling of a tight band or vise on the head
  • Pain that is increased or triggered by stress, fatigue, noise, or glare
  • Sleep disturbances

 

There are several different treatment options to choose from including muscle relaxants, pain medication, massage, and chiropractic care. Unlike medication Chiropractic treatment serves to find and correct the actual cause of the problem. Chiropractors perform a thorough exam and consultation of each patient to help find the source of the problem. The information gained by the exam and consultation is then used to design a program to not only relieve the pain but also correct any problem. As a result, patients will not only experience a decrease in pain, but they also learn how to prevent tension headaches from reoccurring in the future.

 

Active Release Technique can also be used along with chiropractic care. Active Release Technique (ART) is a patented non-invasive soft tissue technique that can be used to relieve muscle tension. Through ART the soft tissues of the body are restored to their optimal strength, tension, and flexibility resulting in a decrease in the pain, numbness, and weakness often felt with tension headaches.

 

For more information, Dr. Kelly Herta, DC at Aligned Health Chiropractic & Wellness Center. 27875 Smyth Dr. # 100, (661)295-5200.

Read more articles from Dr. Herta's Body Wellness series by clicking here.