Beginner’s Guide to Tension Headaches

Beginner’s Guide to Tension Headaches

Do you experience tension-type headaches (TTH)?

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Reported to be a common type of headache for the adult population (Fernández-de-las-Peñas, et al., 2006).

While chronic forms of TTH tend to be rare, almost over a third of suffers experience it in an episodic form (Headache Australia, 2017).

Did you know that tension-type headaches can be made even worse by day-to-day tasks and even your sports training? That’s why it’s important to identify potential causes of your headache.

Adults with TTH experience postural patterns and structural abnormalities of the musculoskeletal system. One such structural abnormality is having a forward head position (FHP).

Fernández-de-las-Peñas and colleagues found that participants suffering from chronic tension type headaches (CTTH) showed more FHP and less neck mobility as compared to participants not experiencing regular headaches.

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The researchers suspected that the craniovertebral angle was especially relevant to how often participants experienced CTTH. As such, the more forward the position of the head the higher rate of these headaches reported.

In general, a TTH manifests as having a bilateral location with a feeling of tightening pain. A person might report a pressing sensation.

Your can measure the pain of your headache using a visual analogue scale (VAS). Your response points can range from 0 (which means no pain) to 10 (which means maximum pain). Although the VAS has many different forms,  people scale higher scores to indicate a higher intensity of pain.

There are many reason that would qualify your headache as chronic. Firstly it has to occur for at least 15 days in a month and secondly they should be a regular pattern that takes place across three months.

Pain Indicator Scale

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One way to track the effects of physiotherapy to ease TTH, is the use of a headache diary. This method also enables you to take more responsibility for your own self-care through developing an awareness of your body and your biomechanical responses.

For example, across a period of a month you could record the day, date and time your headache occurs, how long it lasts (in hours), and how intense you find it to be. This provides vital useful data for your physiotherapist to determine the best course of posture and stability treatment. Make the most of the headache diary. The therapist at Bodyharmonix will encourage you to collect data prior to your treatment program. Tell us during and for a period of time after your treatment course has finished.

Treating Tension Type Headaches

Physical therapy with our therapist might include massage, postural training through application of biomechanics training to release tension and increase your range of motion (ROM).

TTH is complex and involves many factors (e.g., age, work environment, daily stresses, and medical history). If you experience tension headache a forward head position might be the reason behind it.

It’s possible that you experience restricted neck mobility, or have a sensitivity due to myofascial trigger points. It could also be that any postural or stability issues you may have are due to the TTH, rather than the other way around.

If you think your regular headaches could be attributed to a tension-type headache, call for an appointment at our wellness centre for a biomechanical assessment today on 03 9191 0512.

Or fill our Pain Indicator Form

 

References:

Fernández-de-las-Peñas, C., Alonso-Blanco1, C., Cuadrado, M. L., & Pareja, J. A. (2006).

Neck mobility and forward head posture are not related to headache parameters in chronic tension-type headache. Cephalalgia, 27, 158–164. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2982.2006.01247.x

Headache Australia (2017). Prevalance and cost of headache.

Bodyharmonix Pain Rating Scale, 2017

Charmayne Paul, Bodyharmonix Associate, of Psych and Stats Tutor ~ Chart your course to success~

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