WHAT IS IT? TENSION HEADACHE
A tension headache is often brought on due to stress and can be posturally related.
It may also be referred to as a cervicogenic hadache.
Signs & Symptoms
A tension headache is one that:
Has a gradual onset
Presents as a dull ache
Tends to be one sided, but can be both
Can refer to the shoulder or scapula regions
Has associated symptoms such as neck pain or reduced neck range of movement
Is common following a trauma such as whiplash
If often posturally related (forward head posture, rounded shoulders, upper cervical extension)
Causes discomfort, but does not prevent daily function like a migraine can.
What Causes It?
Dysfunction or stiffness of the cervical and thoracic joints
Tight neck muscles
Poor posture (especially at the computer, or with prolonged sitting)
Physical and emotional stress
Trigger point referral
Weak deep cervical flexors
How to Self Manage
Use of a heat bag or hot water bottle
Conservative management should ease the symptoms of a cervical or tension headache.
If pain persists GP referral may be necessary to organise investigation for other causes (e.g. spondylosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis etc)
How Physio Helps
Joint mobilisation or manipulation
Muscle and neural stretches
Acupuncture or dry needling
Pilates exercises and deep cervical flexor education
Ergonomic advice (e.g. - workstation setup; correct pillow height)Joint mobilisation or manipulation
Posture awareness and advice