Tension Headaches

  • 22 April 2020
  • Physio Form

Almost 50% of the UK population have suffered a tension headache at some point in their life, but few of us know where they come from or how to prevent them. Tension headaches take the top spot for the most common headache above the migraine! Headaches, in general, have been categorised as 1 of the top 10 disabling conditions in the UK. 

What is a tension headache? 

Tension headaches are often referred to as musculo-skeletal headaches by medical professionals. This begins to elude to what tension headaches are and why they may occur. A tension headache is often defined as an "undiagnosed" headache strongly linked to stress and postural tension. Most of us can normally link a particularly bad episode of headache to a particularly stressful day.  This kind of headache usually develops in the afternoon, causing mild or moderate pain that may feel like dull tightness or a band of pressure. Tension headaches can be defined as episodic ( <15 days per month lasting <30 minutes) or chronic (>15 days per month and lasting >30 minutes). 

What causes tension headaches? 

The exact causes of tension headaches has proven difficult to study. It's generally accepted that tension headaches are multi-factorial. One of the most prominent theories, is a neurological heightened sensitivity to pain in conjunction with muscular tightness around the neck, jaw, and shoulders. Research points towards posture and stress as the key triggers.

What can relieve a tension headache?

As discussed, tension headaches may be caused by posture and stress. As a lot of us are currently working from home, at make shift offices, under stressful conditions- we thought we'd share our top tips on preventing tension headaches; 

1| Basic lifestyle management - You'll of heard this time after time but we'll say it again.. Balance diet, 7-9 hours of quality sleep, Hydration 2L per day and regular exercises. 

2| Relaxation techniques - Yoga, meditation, warm baths all fall under this category. If you struggle to switch off. Try relaxing apps such as head space 

3| Medical approaches - Trigger points are areas of heightened tension in muscle bellies. A visit to your physiotherapy can result in a whole host of tension busting treatments such as massage, cupping, postural awareness training and acupuncture. 





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