According to various studies, tension headaches affect 30-80% of the general population. They are the most common type of headache in adults.

A tension headache is often described as a pressure or squeezing around the forehead, back of the head, or neck that lasts for 30 minutes to a few days. Some individuals compare it to the feeling of a band being pulled tightly around their head. Unlike a migraine, tension headaches commonly do not cause sensitivity to light, nauseousness, vomiting, or weakness. Further, there is frequently no warning of the onset of a tension headache.

If they become chronic, lasting 15 days or more, tension headaches can become problematic. For chronic or frequent occurrences, seek out the advice from your local healthcare provider. Your doctor may recommend physiotherapy or conduct tests to determine the potential cause.

Exact causes of tension headaches are often not entirely clear. However, causes may include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Stress
  • Hunger or dehydration
  • Poor posture
  • Post-concussion symptom
  • Tight muscles around the neck and shoulders, possibly due to previous neck or shoulder injuries

How can physiotherapy help?

At Aquafit Physiotherapy, our registered therapists will conduct a thorough assessment, evaluating subjective patient information and testing range of motion and strength limits. After the initial assessment, a treatment plan is created, suited to the individual. Treatment may involve manual therapy techniques, modalities, and exercise prescriptions. Physiotherapy aims to reduce the occurrences of tension headaches, promote recovery, and eliminate the cause.

Manual therapy techniques in regards to tension headaches include gentle massage techniques and myofascial release. Massage techniques may help ease tension in the muscles of the head and neck, reducing stress and muscle tightness. Myofascial release involves the release of trigger points or tension points in the muscles. Depending on the individual and the situation, treatment may, also, incorporate spinal decompression techniques or craniosacral techniques.

Modalities may include ultrasound, laser, or electrotherapy. Ultrasound and laser assist in bringing blood flow to the area and breaking up scar tissue. Electrotherapy, in the form of muscle stimulation, may further be used in conjunction with prescribed exercises.

If bad posture is determined to be the cause of tension headaches, strengthening exercises targeting the upper and middle trapezius muscles may be prescribed. These muscles aid in bring the shoulders down and back and maintaining proper alignment. Other exercises may involve head and neck strengthening and stretching. Stretching exercises for the head and neck may help ease tension, reducing the likelihood of headaches and pain.

Your physiotherapy may, further, suggest massage therapy. At Aquafit Physiotherapy, our massage therapists and physiotherapists work together to provide a cohesive recovery plan. Massage therapy can help increase blood circulation and relax tense muscles.

At Aquafit Physiotherapy Clinic, we want you to feel better and live better. Call us today to start your path toward recovery!

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