What is a tension headache?
A tension-type headache is the most common type of headache and the one we think of as a normal, everyday headache. The pain can radiate from the shoulders, neck, base of the skull, jaw, temples or eyes into the head and is responsible for 90% of all headaches.
Most people will have experienced a tension headache. They can occur at any age however they are more likely in teenagers and adults, and affect women more than men.
– Symptoms include a dull pressure-like ache, a tight band or vice, localised pain or ache to one side or part of the head but more often all over.
– Duration is often only 30 minutes but can be as long as several days or even longer. A tension headache won’t normally stop you from doing everyday activities although they can be incredibly draining. Episodic tension-type headaches are defined as tension-type headaches occurring fewer than 15 days a month, whereas chronic tension headaches occur 15 days or more a month for at least 6 months
– Triggers include: stress, dehydration, hunger (lack of nutrients), lack of rest or sleep deprivation, poor posture, eye-strain, inactivity.
How does a tension headache differ from a migraine headache?
Migraines centre a deep throbbing and sometimes severe pain on one side of the head around the eye or temple. Symptoms often include an increased sensitivity to light or noise and are made worse with physical activity. Migraines can cause vomiting and usually peak within 4 to 24 hours.
Tension headaches are usually of a less severe nature or pain, over a more generalised area usually both sides of the head. Tension headaches don’t cause vomiting or sensitivity to light/noise etc. However they can last much longer.
– Migraine triggers: migraines can be triggered by many of the same triggers as tension headaches such as stress or sleep deprivation, with the addition of other triggers such as allergic reactions, reactions to certain foods ( e.g. red wine, chocolate, cheese, avocado), MSG, nitrates, menstrual cycle fluctuations and birth control pills. Interestingly migraines can be triggered by tension headaches!
Muscles that commonly cause tension headaches and their referral patterns.
When muscles become tight and sore by way of the causes mentioned above they often produce trigger points. Trigger points are hyper-sensitive areas within a muscle (most people know them as ‘knots’) which, when bad enough begin referring pain to other parts of the body.
These muscles typically refer pain into the head…
How can Goodmassage help your tension headache?
A skilled massage therapist can reduce and/or eliminate your tension headache by effectively massaging and releasing the involved muscles and eliminating the trigger points responsible. A Good Massage therapist will show you how to safely self-manage any recurring headaches with stretching, trigger point release, improved posture and complimentary exercise.
Regular preventative massage insures your muscles stay in tip top condition. 🙂