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Tension Headaches and Chiropractic Treatment | Prince Health and Wellness

Tension headaches are one of the most common types of headaches, affecting about 90% of all headache sufferers. The pain typically builds slowly and gradually over hours or days. It is often described as a feeling of pressure on the skull or neck muscles tensing. Treatment options vary depending on severity. Some sufferers can manage with over-the-counter medication, while others need prescription drugs, acupuncture, massage therapy, and even surgery to relieve symptoms and reduce frequency.

At Prince Health and Wellness, we are attentive in dealing with patients who experience tension headaches. Moreover, we want to provide long-lasting relief to prevent the headache from coming back. The risks are there, but with proper and careful chiropractic care, reducing the risks is not impossible. Dr. Ashley Prince as the head chiropractor of Prince Health and Wellness ensures that they provide each patient with safe and effective chiropractic adjustments. 

What is a Tension Headache?

Tension headaches are often described as feeling like a tight band around your head- the pain can be mild to moderate and usually diffuse. Tension headache is the most common type of headache, yet its causes are not well understood.

Tension headaches are a common problem for many people. One of the several popular treatments to address tension headaches is pharmacological interventions in appropriate doses. Also, healthy habits and alternative medicine are beneficial with tension headaches.

Episodic Tension Headaches

The type of headache can last from a few minutes to 7 days, but it is most likely that the pain will be around for less than 15 hours. Episodic tension headaches are also known as common or tension-type headaches. They typically occur at least once every three months because episodic suggests happening only occasionally rather than continuously over time like chronic means (lasting three months).

Episodic Tension Headaches do not usually manifest nausea and vomiting. Still, several people experience severe symptoms, such as sensitivity to light, sound, and aggravation. The symptoms occur due to the stretch in neck muscles during extended head movements.

Chronic Headaches

Tension headaches are a type of headache that can last for hours and maybe continuous. If you have tension headaches 15 or more days per month for at least three months, they're considered chronic. Chronic tension headaches can recur daily. It is possible to get one: 

  • as soon as you wake up in the morning, 
  • after waking from sleep,
  • even when your day is done with stress coming on suddenly during work, and 
  • while doing activities like sports.

Tension Headaches VS Migraines

Some sources say that tension headaches can be difficult to distinguish from migraines. If you experience recurrent tension headaches, this is a manifestation of a migraine. Unlike some forms of migraine, these types of headaches are not often accompanied by visual disturbances or nausea and vomiting. Although physical activity typically makes the pain associated with a migraine worse than it does for one with a tension headache, the difference between migraine and headaches can be hard to determine. For example, increased sensitivity to either light or sound is more common in people experiencing this type of head pain, but they are barely ever reported symptoms.

The cause of tension headaches remains a mystery. Experts used to think they stemmed from muscle contractions in the head, neck, and scalp or heightened emotions. However, recent research has suggested that these are not causes for this condition at all.

Spinal Manipulation for Tension Headache

New research suggests that spinal manipulation might be an effective treatment for tension headaches and neck-related migraines.

The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reports that interventions commonly used in chiropractic care have improved outcomes for the treatment of acute neck pain. The study also found increased benefit when a multimodal approach to treating neck pain is taken, with several instances where it was shown how this method had benefited patients suffering from chronic neck pains as well. Furthermore, according to research published by JMPT in 2011 about migraine and cervicogenic headaches, chiropractors were very effective at providing moderate or better relief. This evidence suggests that not only is chiropractic good for your spine but might be beneficial if you suffer from migraines too.

Headaches can be caused by many different factors, including foods, environmental stimuli (noises, lights), and behaviors. Some headaches are signals of serious health problems, such as disease or brain injury. The remaining 95% of all headaches have no underlying cause other than being a primary headache themselves.

Recent studies suggest that spinal manipulation helps with tension headaches. Most importantly, it can also address other types of headaches and migraines. The type of treatment you receive depends on the recommendations in guidelines or your circumstances. 

A recent study concluded that regular chiropractic care can reduce the frequency of pain and the duration and intensity of headaches. A group consisting of 62 women with tension-type headache disorder was split into two groups. One received spinal adjustments as a treatment for their condition. The other group, in contrast, did not receive any treatment at all. One month following this intervention, those who had undergone spinal adjustment showed a statistically significant improvement in physical functioning or bodily pain compared to the participants who did not receive spinal manipulation.

A recent study has found that spinal adjustments are more effective in treating tension headaches. Spinal adjustments showed a longer-lasting effect than amitriptyline. Doctors often prescribe amitriptyline (Elavil) to treat chronic pain, but it is also used for reducing or stopping the symptoms of other conditions such as anxiety and depression. Amitriptyline achieves this by making serotonin more available in your brain. A low dose can help improve mood while treating or preventing ongoing sources of pain.

Participants of the study were split into two groups. One group received chiropractic manipulation, and the other received amitriptyline. After six months, participants who had been given both treatments showed improvements. However, those with only an adjustment still felt significantly better even after twelve months.


Spinal Decompression

Chiropractic treatment with spinal decompression has been the most successful health science because it immediately goes to the cause of headaches. Spinal decompression involves stretching your spine using either an extension table or a similar motorized device that relieves pain and increases functionality within your back. It alleviates symptoms from chronic headaches.


Tension Headaches are the most common of all headaches and can be built from poor posture or a stressful day at work. This type of headache can feel as mild to moderate pain in the form of a tight band around your head. Still, it is not just about feeling better. You should always take care when dealing with any ailments that could affect how well you function daily. Stretching out those neck muscles is fantastic for relieving some tension without having to spend money on expensive treatments like massage therapy sessions.

Dr. Prince can develop and provide specialized exercise programs based on your condition and your physical abilities. The appropriate exercise regimen works better than the general ones.

Myofascial release

Myofascial release is a gentle technique that applies sustained pressure to the fascia, removing stress and symmetry for it to be elastic. Myofascial release can be used on many different problems such as chronic pain from migraine headaches which is one of its most common uses.

Fascia produces tension, which is why it is so effective in reducing headaches. Fascia works by compressing and stretching the tissue to reduce abnormal stress on your head and neck. This process can be used for migraine relief as well. If you are experiencing chronic migraines that persist despite trying several treatments, Myofascial release prevents the migraines from recurring.

However, myofascial release can be used to help alleviate these strains and prevent future ones from occurring. One thing to remember about this treatment is it does not provide relief for any underlying causes of emotional headaches and should never replace medical attention or therapy when needed.

Dr. Prince is committed to educating you about the power of chiropractic and empowering you with information on how it can help your health. At Prince Health and Wellness, our goal is to empower people with the tools they need by providing sustainable health. To do this, we offer chiropractic care and hope that our patients will take advantage of these services to better their lives through wellness.

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