Tension headaches are one of the most commonly experienced headaches, with the pain of the headache felt on both sides of the head, lasting a few minutes to several hours or days. Despite not being the most severe type of headache, they are still very debilitating and can have a huge impact on the persons life. Luckily, there are plenty of options that can help!
What are the symptoms?
These will vary between individuals but usually the pain feels like a tight band around both sides of the head, often described as starting at the base of the head or above the eyebrows. Other presentations can include:
- Tension or pain in the neck and shoulders
- Headache impacting the whole head
- Lasts minutes to days
- Mild to moderate severity
- Mild intolerence to light and noise
What causes a tension headache?
There is a lot we don’t know about what causes a tension type headache but we do know common triggers and factors that contribute to the headache. To simplify things here are the major modifiable factors that contribute to tension type headaches:
- Stress and lack of sleep
- Neck pain and tension – Tight and over worked muscles and joints of the cervical spine
- Posture – Contributing to the above!
How to ease tension headaches
Stress and Lack of Sleep
Not all stress can be avoided but there are things we can do to make sure our bucket isn’t over flowing (bucket being our tolereance level and the water being stress). Firstly, check in with what is filling your bucket, are you taking on too much?
Try meditation, breathwork, daily walks or activities you used to love but are no longer doing. This will not only empty your bucket but also help build a larger one.
Improve your sleep quality! This can include going to bed at a consistent time, reducing screen time an hour before bed, eliminating afternoon caffeine and making sure you get 6-8 hours per night.
Neck Pain and Tension
There are many reasons for neck pain and tension but a good place to start is improving posture and being more active.
A quick trick to improve your posture is to simple bring your chest forward and up, as if you were pumping your chest up slightly or taking a large breath in. This will help align your head over the centre of your body and place less stress on the muscles and joints supporting your head.
If you are sitting all day while studying or working, make sure to take regular 30 minute breaks to move around. This can include simply stretching the neck, performing head circles or flexing and extending your whole spine. We recommend doing 2-3 sets of your 2 favourite movements or exercises.
Mild dehydration can sometimes trigger a tension headache or cause a dehydration headache with a similar presentation, so upping the water intake and avoiding caffeine will help! Always have a water bottle near by and consider having one coffee instead of two or reducing the size or potency.
Try out these handy tips and if you would like to know more about how we can help at BOLT Chiropractic or would like to book an appointment, please give us a call on 08 6154 6561 or Book Online today!