Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. Stress and muscle tension are often factors in tension type headaches. Tension-type headache affects daily functioning, resulting in limitations in performance and participation (4).
Patients with Tension headaches have increased tenderness and amount of trigger points in the muscles around the neck and head.Tension headaches typically are mild to moderate pain intensity, on both sides, nonpulsatile, with a feeling of a tight band, pressing, or tightening around the head. Exercise does not affect the condition. Tension headaches do not have symptoms of migraines such as nausea, light, or sound sensitivity.
Prevalence peaked in the 30- to 39-year-old age group in both men and women. Caucasians are almost twice as likely to have tension-type headaches than African American. Prevalence increased with increasing educational levels in both sexes, reaching a peak in subjects with graduate school educations. Tension type headaches have caused decreased production at work, as well as days lost as sick days.
Is imaging necessary?
In the absence of any red flags or other concurrent conditions, x-ray imaging is not medically necessary. A trial of care is recommended first.
Spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches (2).
Soft tissue manipulation, myofascial release, and massage, particularly to the muscles in the neck and shoulders has shown to reduce intensity and prevent future headaches, as well as improve quality of life (6).
Combining SMT (chiropractic) and myofascial release (ART, massage) reduces the impact of the headache and improves cervical range of motion (5).
The available research suggests that acupuncture is effective for treating frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches. Research shows it reduces frequency of headaches by over 50 percent (3).
At Creekside Performance Center, we are highly trained to treat this condition. We are the only inter-disciplinary clinic in Sheboygan county that provides chiropractic, myofascial release, ART (Active Release Technique), massage therapy, acupuncture, physiotherapy, rehabilitative exercise, nutritional counseling, personal training, and golf performance training under one roof. Utilizing these different services, we can help patients and clients reach the best outcomes and the best versions of themselves.
1. Schwartz BS, Stewart WF, Simon D, Lipton RB. Epidemiology of Tension-Type Headache. JAMA.1998;279(5):381–383. doi:10.1001/jama.279.5.381
2. Boline et al. Spinal manipulation vs. amitriptyline for the treatment of chronic tension-type headaches: a randomized clinical trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 01 Mar 1995, 18(3):148-154.
3. Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;4:CD007587. Published 2016 Apr 19. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007587.pub2
4. Epidemiology of tension-type headache. Crystal SC, Robbins MS. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2010 Dec; 14(6):449-54.
5. Espi-Lopez, GV, et al. The effect of manipulation plus massage therapy versus massage therapy alone in people with tension-type headache. A randomized controlled clinical trial. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2016 Oct;52(5):606-617. Epub 2016 Mar 18.
6. Espi-Lopez, GV, et al. Do manual therapy techniques have a positive effect on quality of life in people with tension-type headache? A randomized controlled trial. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2016 Aug;52(4):447-56. Epub 2016 Feb 29.