Tension headaches are very common. However, they are not normal and it is not something that a person needs to live with. They can range in intensity from annoying debilitating sometimes resulting in nausea and vomiting. They can really affect a person’s quality of life in many different ways.
The medical approach to this problem might include investigations using various imaging of the head and brain. Assuming nothing terrible is found, the headache sufferer may be instructed to take a variety of over the counter or prescription medications. Generally speaking this is a symptomatic approach and since it is not addressing the root cause of the problem is most times only a temporary “fix.” This approach can often lead to undesirable side effects and create other problems.
The body does everything it does for a reason. The question to ask is why is the body doing what it is doing? What is the body trying to cope with?
The tension in tension headaches comes from the fact that it is the muscles that run up the back of the neck and attach to the skull that are chronically tense. So, why are they so tight and tense? The reason, most commonly, is that there has been a loss of the normal curve in the neck. Normally the neck curve allows the weight of the head to be perfectly balanced over your center of gravity. However, when there is a loss of the normal curve, or even a reversal of that curve the muscles must maintain constant tension in order to keep your head upright. Imaging grasping something in your hand all day, how are those hand muscles going to feel at the end of the day? Tired, sore and hurting. And since the muscles that attach to your skull pull on the coverings of the skull a person will often feel a tension headache start at the base of their skull and move over or around the head to over their eyes or in their temples.
So, the Chiropractic approach is of course to fully evaluate the situation with the understanding that the most probable cause is a reduction or reversal in the normal neck curve. This alteration of the curve is most often due to vertebral misalignment and the resulting nerve irritation. Restoration of normal joint alignment and motion results in less irritation to the nerves, an improvement to the neck curve, a reduction in muscle tension and alas the improvement in the symptom of tension headache.
The cause of the problem is what needs to be addressed.