Effective Treatment for Tension Headaches

Tension-type headaches can occur randomly and are the most common headache diagnosed by healthcare professionals. In basic terms, tension headaches occur when neck and scalp muscles become tense or contract. These headaches are known as primary headaches, which means an underlying condition does not cause them. Though sometimes referred to as ‘stress headaches’, there can be various other elements responsible for these headaches instead of stress alone.

What are the symptoms of tension-type headaches?

Symptoms include:

  • Soreness or aching pressure in your temples, forehead, the back of the neck or head.
  • A tightening band-like sensation around your head (described as a “vice-like” ache).
  • Throbbing pain on one or both sides of your head or behind your eyes.

The headache may begin directly in your forehead, temples, or the back of your head and neck and is generally a mild to moderate pain.

Causes of a tension-type headache

Although the causes of tension-type headaches aren’t well understood, certain things have been known to trigger them.

These include:

  • poor posture
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • fatigue
  • eye strain
  • Intense work

tension headache caused by eye strain

How to recognise a tension-type headache

Some people experience chronic tension-type headaches, which are categorised by the frequency of the headache. The description ‘Chronic tension-type headaches’ implies that an individual experiences a headache more than 15 times a month, for at least three months in a row. Chronic migraine and chronic tension-type headache symptoms commonly overlap, yet tension-type headaches are often distinguishable because there are usually no other symptoms.

Another way of recognising a tension headache is that they are typically not often severe enough to prevent you from doing many everyday activities, unlike migraines. But this doesn’t mean that they don’t have their share of uncomfortable symptoms. It may feel like a constant ache that affects both sides of the head. You may also feel the neck muscles tighten and a feeling of pressure behind the eyes. These headaches usually last for 30 minutes to several hours but can last for several days.

osteopath treating patient with headaches

Treatment for tension-type headaches

Evidence has demonstrated that osteopathy treatment can effectively treat tension headaches. An osteopath can treat headaches by relieving the tension in the muscles and releasing the joints in the neck. Osteopathy for headaches can very quickly improve your symptoms.

Whether your headaches are caused by musculoskeletal tension, your posture, or something else, a good osteopath can assist you in preventing headaches from coming back.