There are all types of headaches out there in the wild:
- Tension Type Headaches
- Cluster Headaches
- Sinus Headaches
- Allergy Headaches
- Exertional Headaches
However, today I want to talk about the most common type of headache. Yes the headache we all know and love: tension type headaches.
Now maybe you don’t suffer form tension type headaches, and that’s ok. You are more than welcome to skip this article, or you can share this article with your friends and family who likely are suffering from tension type headaches.
And why would you do that?
Because this article is meant to be the ultimate resource when it comes to tension type headaches.
So let’s get to it.
Now first we have to clear up a misconception. A lot of people get tension type headaches but believe that they are migraines. Usually this is because the person has never had a migraine and can’t picture a headache being any worse than the one that they are currently experiencing. And some of the latest research is showing that tension type headaches and migraines actually are on some kind of headache spectrum, but those who suffer migraines have an underlying neurological condition underpinning their headaches.
However their are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
- Does the headache last from 4-72 hours?
- Have your headaches symptoms changed significantly within the past 6 months?
- Do the headaches interfere with your normal daily life?
If you answered yes to those questions above then you likely have a migraine.
If you answered no then you likely have a tension type headache. Migraines are headaches you can’t just power through, and you can’t pop an ibuprofen to get rid of them.
So now we know the difference between tension type headaches and migraines let’s take a look at what causes those tension type headaches.
Truth be told we don’t really know. It used to be believed that tension type headaches came from tense muscles (hence the name). But that idea has since been proven useless by the fact that this is not a distinguishing feature between tension type and other types of headaches.
Rather tension type headaches are the fibromyalgia of headaches. When a cause for your headache can’t be named, it is labelled as tension type.
But the people who research this for a living have identified some possible causes which include:
- Tight muscles, yes even though it is not enough to diagnose a tension type headache, tight muscles can lead to these headaches. This is why when you massage your upper traps or suboccipitals it helps the headache feel better.
- Physical stress.
- Mental stress. I mean who doesn’t have stress these days? But really if you are suffering from extreme stress it can trigger a headache.
- Bone out of place. This is actually a named headache, it is called a cervicogenic headache. Getting an adjustment will usually take the headache right away.
- Ice cream headaches are a form of tension type headaches
- And…possibly more that we don’t know about.
So with so many different types of headaches how can we possible help?
That is a great question. Now unlike fibromyalgia, we can actually help tension type headaches go away.
Yes some of you out there suffer form chronic tension type headaches,, but usually you are able to get some relief. And if you have any tips or secrets, comment down below and share with everyone else!
Sadly there isn’t a ton of research on the effectiveness of chiropractic on headaches so mostly I have to rely on clinical experience and anecdotal evidence.
I draw my headache treatments from several different disciplines. Usually when a patient walks in with a tension type headache, they walk out with little to no headache.
Now the same can’t be said for people suffering from other types of headaches, some do and some don’t respond it is hard to predict.
As far as at home therapy I demonstrate to my patients a series of 4 reflex points on both sides of the head that they can work to help get rid of the headaches.
I share with them a killer essential oil blend that can help with headaches (for those who use DoTerra it is called Past Tense, I’m sorry I don’t know the equivalent oil in the other major oil brands).
And I share which muscles to work to help bring the headache down.
When all those fail, then I recommend that they come in and get an adjustment. Sometimes the headache is stemming from a bone out of place, and sometimes you just need a professionals help working those trigger points and tight muscles.