What causes tension-type headaches?


What causes tension type headaches?
What causes tension type headaches?

What causes tension-type headaches is a common question we get as neck health experts.

Tension-type headaches, also known as tension headaches, is the most prevalent primary headache disorder worldwide.  It is characterized by a dull, aching pain that typically affects both sides of the head.

Myofascial structures in the neck and face typically cause tension-type headaches.  However, the exact cause of tension-type headaches is not fully understood. Several factors and triggers have been identified that can contribute to their development,

Common causes of tension type headaches

  1. Muscle Tension: One of the most widely accepted theories is that tension-type headaches are related to muscle tension and contraction in the head and neck region. Stress, anxiety, and poor posture can lead to increased muscle tension, which can trigger headaches.
  2. Stress and Anxiety: High levels of stress and anxiety can cause muscle tension, leading to tension-type headaches. Stress may also contribute to the release of certain chemicals in the brain that can trigger pain.
  3. Poor Posture: Maintaining poor posture, such as slouching or holding the head in an awkward position for extended periods, can strain the muscles of the neck and scalp, potentially causing tension-type headaches.
  4. Eyestrain: Prolonged and concentrated use of digital devices, reading, or other activities that require intense focus can strain the eye muscles and contribute to tension-type headaches.
  5. Lack of Sleep: Insufficient or poor-quality sleep can increase muscle tension and make individuals more susceptible to tension-type headaches.
  6. Caffeine Consumption: Both excessive caffeine intake and caffeine withdrawal can lead to tension-type headaches in some individuals.
  7. Dehydration: Not drinking enough water and becoming dehydrated can trigger headaches, including tension-type headaches.
  8. Jaw Clenching and Teeth Grinding: Bruxism, which involves clenching or grinding the teeth, can strain the muscles of the head and neck and contribute to headache development.
  9. Medications: Some medications, particularly those that cause blood vessels to constrict, can contribute to tension-type headaches as a side effect.
  10. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, particularly in women during the menstrual cycle or menopause, can sometimes trigger tension-type headaches.

Treatment options for tension type headaches

Specialized physical therapy treatment can assist in alleviating musculoskeletal elements contributing to tension type headaches. An emphasis on myofascial trigger points in key cervical musculature is of upmost focus.  We do not only have the treatment tools necessary to perform this correctly, but we also focus to improve the efficiency of the spine to reduce prevalence of trigger points with our Neck Alignment Program.

We provide a comprehensive treatment approach through our Headache Relief Program.  This includes manual therapy and exercises to improve neck posture and mobility. The primary goal of treatment is to address the underlying cervical spine issues and alleviate myofascial trigger points causing tension type headaches.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today so we can help you!