Headaches, no matter what triggers them, push the pause button on your life. Even the toughest among us can crumble when a pounding headache strikes.
But the most frustrating part about headaches is they can seem to come from out of the blue.
Our team at Nebben Physical Medicine in Clarksville, Tennessee, knows that headaches are as complex as they are painful. So in this blog, we highlight one of the most common types of headaches (tension headaches), so you can understand what you’re up against.
Understanding tension headaches
Tension headaches typically stem from (you guessed it) tension. Any activity that places your head in a strained, unnatural position for long periods, such as working on a computer or sleeping awkwardly, can cause tension to build in your head and neck muscles.
That tension sets off an avalanche of pain and causes a pounding headache.
But some believe there’s more to it than simply muscle tension. Many blame a heightened sensitivity to pain and other triggers, including:
- Physical or emotional stress
- Alcohol use
- Too much or withdrawal from caffeine use
- The common cold
- Dental problems, such as bruxism
- Eye strain
You may also be at risk for tension headaches if you suffer from migraines.
For most, tension headaches feel like a dull ache, as if you have a tight band wrapped around your head. You may also experience tenderness in your scalp, neck, and shoulder muscles.
Taking on tension headaches
Tension headaches are painful and can make getting through your day a chore — but they aren’t impossible to treat. Here’s a closer look at how to address tension headaches.
Take care of yourself
Being dehydrated, hungry, or overtired opens the door to tension and stress. If you feel a headache coming on, ask yourself when you last slept or had something to eat or drink. Sometimes, a snack or power nap is all you need to beat back a tension headache.
Also, consider improving your posture and taking breaks from your work or computer to prevent eye strain.
Use medication properly
Standard over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, are excellent for stopping a headache in its tracks.
Note that using OTC medications every time you have a headache can lead to rebound headaches. These can occur when your body becomes so accustomed to a medication that your pain returns once the effects wear off.
Talk to us before you start using any pain medication to manage headaches.
Address your stress
Stress is a major culprit behind tension headaches, so lowering it should be a priority. Stress management looks different for everyone, but consider taking a stress management class, talking to a therapist, having a warm bath or shower, engaging in a hobby, or meditating.
Get help from the pros
At Nebben Physical Medicine, we get headaches and know how to treat them quickly and effectively. When you come to us with a throbbing head, we turn to our comprehensive headache treatments, which include:
- Chiropractic care
- Physical therapy
- Massage therapy
- Trigger point injections
We help you address tension headaches from as many angles as possible, helping your body deal with stress and other triggers in a way that doesn’t make your head hurt.
Are tension headaches keeping you on the sidelines? Don’t wait another day to get the help you need. Call our friendly staff or use our online booking tool to schedule a headache consultation today.