DO YOU SUFFER FROM HEADACHES?

Do you experience pressure around your head and/or neck?
Can it feel like a tight band around the head?
Is your headache felt on both sides of your head or only one side?
Is there a lot of stress in your life?

Tension-Headaches

Credit: https://www.physio-pedia.com/images/f/ff/Tension_headache.jpg


If so, you may be suffering from tension-type headaches, or tension headaches.
The good news is this condition can be managed conservatively through education and physical therapy treatment techniques. This article will outline the mechanisms involved, common symptoms and what to look out for, risk factors and most importantly, how you can treat this pain at home.

Here at Physiophi, our aim is to educate you, the patient, to enable you to manage your pain. If however you still need more guidance we have physiotherapy clinics located in Jindalee and Darra to accelerate your recovery. Our physiotherapists Maysam and Gilbert have extensive experience in dealing with tension headaches and can help to restore your quality of life.

Tension-Headaches 2

Credit: https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/sites/default/files/images/2019/06/13/100281688_L.jpg


HOW COMMON ARE TENSION HEADACHES?
Studies have shown that approximately 38% of the population experience tension headaches every year. Additionally, women in their third and fourth decade of life have the highest risk. Around 10% of the male population suffer from tension-type headaches at least once a month.

WHAT ARE THE PRESENTING SYMPTOMS?
There are two classifications for tension-type headaches.

Episodic tension headaches:
  • Occurring less than 15 days in a month
  • Duration can be a few hours to days
  • Symptoms of a tight band of pressure around the neck and/or forehead
  • Headache present right and left sides of head, but can be single-sided
  • Mild to moderate intensity which is relatively constant
  • No nausea, aura or double-vision (more commonly associated with migraines)

Chronic tension headaches:
  • Occurring more than 15 days in a month for three consecutive months
  • Moderate to severe pain levels
  • Impact on daily living
  • Symptoms of a tight band of pressure around the neck and/or forehead
  • Mild nausea can occur

Tension-Headaches 3

Credit: https://www.drshehadi.com/4-common-types-of-headaches-symptoms-duration/


WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HEADACHE AND A MIGRAINE?
Migraines and tension headaches can present similarly. It is important to know the differences between the two to form a better understanding of what you are suffering from.
  • Migraines usually have a throbbing pain
  • Tension-type headaches have a more consistent ache or pain
  • Migraines often only affect one side of the head
  • Tension-type headaches typically affect both sides of the head
  • Migraines can be accompanied by nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound and/or aura
  • Tension-type headaches usually do not have any symptoms aside from mild nausea with chronic tension headaches

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR TENSION-TYPE HEADACHES?
It is unclear what causes tension-type headaches. Studies show that tension headaches could be a result of imbalances of pathways in the brain. In our experience, simple factors such as poor posture and stress have been common risk factors. The list below outlines additional risk factors:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Static postures: Texting, computer work or simply not moving the head for a long time
  • Sleeping awkwardly
  • Eye strain
  • Drugs or alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Previous head and neck injuries
  • Jaw clenching and grinding of teeth
  • Hormonal changes (specific to the female populace)

WHAT CAN I DO AT HOME FOR MY TENSION-TYPE HEADACHE?
In order to answer that we need to understand briefly how tension-type headaches may be caused. The most common presentation that we see in the clinic is from tension in the neck, shoulder and upper back muscles.

Tension-Headaches 4

Credit: https://musculoskeletalkey.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/C47-FF1-6.gif


There are numerous muscles that attach into the neck and base of the skull. Postures and activities that force the head into flexed positions (for example looking down at your phone in your lap while browsing or texting), can cause these muscles to be stretched. When these muscles are tight, trigger points can form. These trigger points and resultant muscle tension contributes to tension-type headaches.

Here are some simple tips that can help with relieving tension headaches:
  • Neck exercises in the form of ranging and stretching
  • Relaxation therapy such as meditation and deep breathing
  • Massage and release work
  • Heat or ice application
  • Postural correction
  • Reduction of poor habits: eg. texting and reading with a flexed neck

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO HELP MY TENSION-TYPE HEADACHES?
If your tension-type headaches are not getting better you may need to consult your experienced Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists at “Physiophi” who excel at accelerating your recovery to have you pain free and moving freely.

PLEASE CONTACT US ON: (07) 3172 4332 TO HAVE A CHAT WITH OUR FRIENDLY STAFF OR SIMPLY BOOK ONLINE AT: WWW.PHYSIOPHI.COM.AU

Reference List
Ashina, S., Mitsikostas, D. D., Lee, M. J., Yamani, N., Wang, S. J., Messina, R., Ashina, H., Buse, D. C., Pozo-Rosich, P., Jensen, R. H., Diener, H. C., & Lipton, R. B. (2021). Tension-type headache. Nat Rev Dis Primers, 7(1), 24. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41572-021-00257-2
Burch, R. (2019). Migraine and Tension-Type Headache: Diagnosis and Treatment. Med Clin North Am, 103(2), 215-233. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mcna.2018.10.003
Cumplido-Trasmonte, C., Fernández-González, P., Alguacil-Diego, I. M., & Molina-Rueda, F. (2018). Manual therapy in adults with tension-type headache: A systematic review. Neurologia (Engl Ed). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nrl.2017.12.004
Do, T. P., Heldarskard, G. F., Kolding, L. T., Hvedstrup, J., &Schytz, H. W. (2018). Myofascial trigger points in migraine and tension-type headache. J Headache Pain, 19(1), 84. https://doi.org/10.1186/s10194-018-0913-8
Dommerholt, J., Thorp, J. N., Chou, L. W., & Hooks, T. (2020). A critical overview of the current myofascial pain literature - January 2020. J Bodyw Mov Ther, 24(2), 213-224. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2020.04.001
Jensen, R. H. (2018). Tension-Type Headache - The Normal and Most Prevalent Headache. Headache, 58(2), 339-345.
https://doi.org/10.1111/head.13067
Kahriman, A., & Zhu, S. (2018). Migraine and Tension-Type Headache. Semin Neurol, 38(6), 608-618. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0038-1673683
Madsen, B. K., Søgaard, K., Andersen, L. L., Skotte, J., Tornøe, B., & Jensen, R. H. (2018). Neck/shoulder function in tension-type headache patients and the effect of strength training. J Pain Res, 11, 445-454. https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S146050 Nielsen, A. (2017). Acupuncture for the Prevention of Tension-Type Headache (2016). Explore (NY), 13(3), 228-231. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.explore.2017.03.007
Robbins, M. S. (2021). Diagnosis and Management of Headache: A Review. JAMA, 325(18), 1874-1885.
https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2021.1640
Scripter, C. (2018). Headache: Tension-Type Headache. FP Essent, 473, 17-20.
Song, T. J., Cho, S. J., Kim, W. J., Yang, K. I., Yun, C. H., & Chu, M. K. (2016). Anxiety and Depression in Tension-Type Headache: A Population-Based Study. PLoS One, 11(10), e0165316. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0165316

TOP