It’s been a long day. You’re feeling drained, your head hurts, not just the front and sides of your head but also across the back of your head where your neck starts,and all you want to do is go to bed. But if you’re like most people, you’re already used to pushing through the pain, popping an over-the-counter medication, and dealing with it. Many people suffer from chronic tension headaches, which can be incredibly debilitating and keep you from living life to the fullest.
Did you know that chronic tension headaches are the most common type of headache? In fact, nearly three-quarters of all people experience at least one tension headache in their lifetime. While the cause of tension headaches is often unknown, several things can contribute to them.
What Is a Chronic Tension Headache?
A chronic tension headache is a type of headache characterized by dull, constant pain. Chronic means that it is something that you have been dealing with for months, if not years. Whether it is something that is frequent or infrequent. The pain is often described as being like a tight band around the head. Chronic tension headaches are usually not as severe as other headaches, such as migraines. However, they can still be very debilitating and make it difficult to concentrate or carry out everyday activities.
Most people with chronic tension headaches can feel a constant, dull pain on both sides of their heads. It may also include symptoms such as:
- Muscle tension in the neck, shoulders, and jaw
- Difficulty sleeping
- Headache pain that gets worse with stress or physical activity
- Tenderness in the scalp, neck, and shoulders
What Causes Chronic Tension Headaches?
The exact cause of chronic tension headaches is unknown. However, several factors are thought to play a role in their development. These include:
- Posture: Poor posture can put a lot of unnecessary stress on muscles that surround the neck and upper back; as well as, onto the joints between the vertebrae in our neck and upper back. If you sit or stand in an awkward position, your muscles may become tense and because these muscles are attached to the joints, your joints become part of the problem as well. These muscle and joint issues and cause or trigger tension headaches.
- Pinched nerve: A pinched nerve in your neck or back can cause chronic tension headaches. The pain from a pinched nerve is often worse when you move your head.
- Stress: Stress is a common trigger for chronic tension headaches. If you’re under a lot of stress, your muscles may tighten up, leading to pain.
- Anxiety: Anxiety can also contribute to chronic tension headaches. When you’re anxious, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. This can cause your muscles to tense up, which can lead to pain.
- Depression: Depression is another common trigger for chronic tension headaches. If you’re depressed, you may have a higher level of stress hormones in your body. These hormones can cause your muscles to tighten, leading to pain.
- Sleep problems: Sleep problems are often linked to chronic tension headaches. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body may not have time to recover from the day’s stresses. This can lead to muscle tension and pain.
If you feel that your tension headaches may be something that is affecting your muscles, joints or nerves, our doctor will perform a thorough evaluation to determine if that is in fact the case. If it is found that your tension headaches are related to the muscles or joints around your neck and spine, we may be able to help you with gentle chiropractic treatment. To schedule a proper diagnosis, contact Injury Treatment Solutions today at (321) 951-9222.
Tips to Manage Chronic Tension
While chronic tension headaches can be excruciating, there are some things you can do to help manage them. Here are some tips:
- Take breaks throughout the day to rest your eyes and neck.
- Practice good posture and alignment.
- Use ice or heat to help relieve muscle tension.
- Stretch regularly to loosen tight muscles.
- Massage your head and neck muscles.
- Get regular exercise.
Still, the best way to manage chronic tension headaches is to prevent them from happening in the first place. And for that, you need to find and treat the underlying cause. If you’re struggling with chronic tension headaches, don’t wait to get help.
Why Seek Medical Help for Chronic Tension?
If you experience chronic tension headaches, it’s essential to seek medical help. While home remedies and over-the-counter pain medication may provide temporary relief, they are not long-term solutions.
In many cases, chronic tension headaches are caused by misalignments in the spine. These misalignments can cause tension and inflammation in the muscles and nerves surrounding the spine. Our chiropractic doctors will be able to help you find the root cause of your chronic tension headaches and provide a treatment plan to address the underlying issue.
Manage Your Headaches Today
If you’re suffering from chronic tension headaches, don’t wait to get help. Our team at Injury Treatment Solutions can provide you with the care and treatment you need to find relief. Contact us today at (321) 951-9222 to schedule an appointment.