Have you ever experienced a band of pressure that wraps around the forehead, especially during an increase in stress? If so, then you might be experiencing a tension headache. They are one of the most common types of headaches and can affect all age groups. A tension headache can last 30 minutes to a whole week.
Tension headaches can be related to an increase of muscle tightness in the neck and restricted joint motion in the spine. Lifestyle changes and treatment by a chiropractor, can be the best method to help reduce the symptoms of tension headaches. Here are some simple tips you may want to incorporate to reduce and prevent headaches:
1. Relax your muscles – there is an association between tense muscles and tension headaches, so find a method to help reduce that tension. Seek out a massage therapist or try to gently massage your own muscles. Maybe try using a lacrosse ball to loosen up those pesky knots! A warm bath or compress could also do wonders.
2. Try to maintain better posture – let’s face it, good posture is not always the first thing on our mind. However, being aware of your posture throughout the day can make a big difference in muscle tension. A jutting head forward or looking down along with slumped shoulders, can really increase the strain on the muscles in your neck and upper back. Make time in your day for posture breaks. When standing, your head, shoulders, hips and ankles should line up, one comfortably above the other. When sitting, take a break by sitting at the end of your chair and putting your legs shoulder-width apart. Drop your arms out to the sides and draw your shoulder blades down and back. Gently bring your chin straight back and maintain this position for at least 10 seconds.
3. Exercise regularly – exercise is a great way to relieve stress. Exercise helps to increase the release of your body’s natural stress reliever called beta-endorphins, which can help reduce tension in your muscles. It can also help reduce the intensity and frequency of tension headaches. Exercise can be a great method to help take frustrations and transform them into motivation!
4. Keep a headache journal – tracking your day during the onset of a headache can help you determine if there are potential triggers. What events were occurring before the headache started? Maybe it was a stressful event that could have been avoided. Even tracking the days you are headache-free can help you notice factors that may contribute to a good day.
5. See a chiropractor – chiropractors are experts in musculoskeletal conditions. Tension headaches are one of many conditions that can improve with chiropractic care. A chiropractor will perform a thorough history and exam prior to treatment, to ensure it is safe for treatment or if a medical referral is necessary. If treatment is appropriate, a chiropractor will utilize a certain type of treatment that is best for you. A common treatment utilized is the chiropractic adjustment. An adjustment helps to restore the motion of restricted spinal joints which can also help decrease muscle tension and improve mobility. Our chiropractors will also give recommendations and advice on what you can do at home for headache reduction and prevention.