Today we are back in Part 2 of our Headache Series.
Tension type headaches is the most common presentation of headaches.
Generally these type of headaches cause pain in the temple region which can also refer pain behind the eyes.
These symptoms tend to be bilateral (meaning on both sides of the head). The pain is often described as a pressure or tightening pain (non-pulsating). The intensity is mild-moderate, and frequency of occurrence is quite high (> 15 per month).
The picture above shows the area which people with tension type headaches feel it the most. Sometimes it can be referred to a "rams horn headache" because of the path the symptoms follow.
As the name implies "tension" these symptoms are usually provoked from excessive muscle tension. The most common muscles involved are the upper trap, sternocleidomastoid, and suboccipital muscles.
You have probably guessed it, the position of your neck which you assume frequently plays a big role in headaches. It's not that looking downward is bad or that your head should always be upright in a military type posture. It's that quite often we assume this position too often without changing position.
It's no different than sitting on a hardwood chair for a long period of time, at some point you have to shift pressure and off load the buttcheek.
The problem becomes difficult when it is uncomfortable or difficult to change neck positions. More than likely this has been something accumulating over the years and over time developed into a bigger and bigger problem.
How we address tension type headaches is first understanding what may be provoking them. This could be a certain activity, your daily neck position, overactive and tight feeling muscles, or a limited neck range of motion.
More than likely it will be a combination of these things. At On Track Physio, we have unique ways of addressing all of these limitations. So if all you have tried is some generic stretches/exercises, massage, and medication we have other effective options available for you!
If you are tired of dealing with frequent, annoying, tension type headaches we provide a FREE Discover visit. This free appointment is all about getting clarity back into your life.
About the Author: Dr. Greg Schaible is a physical therapist/strength coach specializing in athletic performance. He attended The University of Findlay, graduating in 2013 with his Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT). As a Track and Field athlete, he was as a 5x Division II All-American and 6x Division II Academic All-American. Greg is the owner of On Track Physiotherapy in Ann Arbor, Mi. You can stay up to date with helpful information and news on Facebook.