This is the most common type of headache, which usually feels like a constant aching or pressure—rather than throbbing—on both sides of the head or at the back of the head and neck. Triggers can include stress, anxiety, bad posture, and clenching your jaw, and these headaches can become chronic, although they usually aren’t severe.
Experts today believe that a change in certain brain chemicals may be the main factors that contribute to tension headaches. These chemicals are the ones that help nerves communicate, such as serotonin, endorphins, and several others. They are not sure why the levels of these chemicals change. They suspect that the fluctuations activate pain pathways to the brain and probably undermine our ability to suppress pain.
Factors that contribute to tension headaches:
Segmental dysfunction in the spine
Staying in one position for a long time
Working in an awkward position for a long time
Clenching one’s jaw
Caffeine – individuals who drink large amounts of coffee tend to get more headaches than those with low consumption or people who never drink coffee.
Ways to reduce the onset of headaches:
Avoid upper chest breathing- breath with your stomach.
Reduce chronic hyperventilation
Stress management through deep breathing and relaxation
Reduce physical stress- ergonomics at work, sitting in bad posture, carrying heavy
bags, not enough sleep, relax the jaw, shoulders and neck.
Manipulation of the spine
Good sleep quality
Regular exercise (avoid high intensity lactic acid training)
Know your headache triggers- keep a headache diary to keep track of what triggers
your headaches and avoid these triggers in the future.
Hormonal. Women who often get headaches around their menstrual period can take
preventive therapy when they know their period is coming.
Vision – do you need glasses or improve the old glasses/ contacts?
Muscle/ joint dysfunction- see a professional for example a Dr of Naprapathy, Chiropractor etc.
Areas of the body to stimulate to alleviate tension headaches:
Temporalis ( sides of the head)
Suboccipitals (base of the scull)
Scalenes (sides of the neck)
Sternocleidomastoideus (long muscles on the front of the neck)
Upper trapz / Levator scapula
Pectoralis minor (under the collarbone)
Accessory nerve glides