Taming Tension Headaches


“Everytime the kids start fighting, my shoulders tighen up and I get a headache that can last for days!” Julie complained on her first visit here at Blomerth Chiropractic.

Tight shoulders and neck tension are common with tension headaches. But many people suffer headaches that they didn’t know were caused by “tension”. A tension headache can hurt a little, or a lot and can last from mintues to days. Tension headaches can run from your shoulders or neck up to the base of your head. They can also run from the base of your head to your forehead, and they can be over your temples. If you press around your shoulders, back of your neck, base of your head or over your temples and find a tight painful spot that makes your headache worse…you most likely have a tension headache. What you are feeling is a tight muscle that is contributing to your pain.

Muscles that stay tight are part of the cause of tension headaches. Lactic acid and other cell waste products building up around the muscle cells cause pain by irritating the muscle cells and the nerves in the area. This causes the pain to refer to other parts of the body too. This is why a tight muscle at the back of your head, or in your neck, or in your upper back can cause headache pain over your forehead.

Stuck spinal joints in your neck or back, trigger points, chronic tension, and bad posture are just some of the contributing causes of tension headaches.

Here are some self-help measures to get you through a tension headache:

1. Press around your head, neck and shoulders until you find the tight, painful spot in your muscles. Then hold firm pressure on the spot for 30 seconds to a minute. The pain should subside. Once you’ve cleared one spot, look for others and repeat.

2. To relax your neck muscles, lie down on your back with a towel rolled up into a tube under your neck for about 15 minutes, or lie on your cervical pillow. If you do not have a cervical pillow, we sell good quality ones here at our office.

3. While lying down, do 10 deep breaths counting to 10 with each breath and pushing your abdomen out with each in-breath. This relaxes the upper back muscles.

There are many ways to calm headaches and an occasional headache can happen to anyone. But if your headaches keep coming back, then your body is trying to tell you something is wrong. A headache every few days or even once a week is not health. Taking over the counter medications or our self help treatments should only be used for short-term care not frequent persistant headaches. If you are suffering more than the occasional headache or if they last a long time when you get them, have it checked out!

Call us 978-535-6155 to make an appointment!