Tension headaches: The most common type of headaches in adults.
Tension headaches usually involve contracted (tense) muscles of the scalp and/or neck, often caused by stress and anxiety.
What do they feel like?
Most people feel pressure or tightness in the forehead or the back of the head where the skull meets the neck. Some people feel pain behind the eyes.
How to manage tension headaches.
Many people carry stress in their neck, upper traps and temples (from grinding teeth). Here are some simple ways to prevent and relieve tension headaches.
1. Rollout and Stretch!
To release the tight suboccipital muscles at the base of the head, tape 2 lacrosse or tennis balls together and place it behind your head where the skull meets the neck. Let the weight of your head press into the balls and roll up down along the neck.
Tight upper traps can trigger tension headaches. Too loosen the muscle, sit on your right hand and bring your left ear to shoulder, then rotate the head down and to the left. Hold for 30 seconds then repeat on the Left.
Grinding teeth brings pressure to the temples and muscles on top of the skull. Lightly massage the tense areas/trigger points.
2. Maintain Good Posture!
Poor posture adds strain to the muscles behind the neck. Work on keeping your shoulders back and chin up, and avoid staring down at a handheld device or computer.
Drinking water can also help minimize the strength of the headache.
Tension headaches can get worse throughout the day, so be proactive if you feel one coming on!
Sometimes these stretches don’t quite cut it. Chiropractic treatments like manual therapy and mobilization techniques get the joints moving more freely and identify the weak or tight muscles that need attention. From there, rehab exercises can be performed to strengthen the muscles that need it, and stretch the ones that are too tight.