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Tension Headaches...

Tension Headaches:

A tension headache is a muscle-contraction-type headache. They originate from the muscle and can be from trigger points and other myofascial pain syndromes.

Causes:

  • stimulating trigger points as well as other factors including trauma ( to the head, neck and or spine such as whiplash), acute muscle overload, fatigue, infection (such as sinusitis), chilling of the muscle ( open window), and emotional stress.
  • sleep disturbance of deep restorative sleep. Present with myofascial pain syndromes.
  • postural imbalances such as a forward head posture, hyperkyphosis and scoliosis (abnormal curvatures of the spine)
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction

Home care for Tension Headaches:

Some helpful tips on how to decrease your tension headaches between Massage Therapy treatments…

  • Hydrotherapy can help treat a tension headache before, during or after Massage Therapy treatment. A hot bath or hydrotherapy application can help soothe affected muscles and contrast applications (alternating warm and cool towels on the head and neck) can help flush out the area affected decreasing the swelling and inflammation that is causing some of the discomfort.
  • Breathing exercises can help decrease stress levels as well as pain.
  • Self massage, as long as it isn't too vigorous, can also help relieve the aggravated muscles.
  • Foam rolling, if done properly can also be extremely effective in decreasing tension headaches.
  • Slow, full pain free stretches to affected muscles in the neck, shoulder and upper back area before and after activity. Also, strengthening exercises to weakened muscles can help correct postural imbalances.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as this stresses the neck muscles. 

Please contact me with any questions you may have about how Massage Therapy or Structural Integration can help relieve your tension headaches.