4 Reasons You Keep Getting Tension Headaches

4 Reasons You Keep Getting Tension Headaches

Did you know that not all headaches are the same? Instead, there are more than 150 types, and up to 75% of adults around the world have at least one headache a year. Each headache comes with unique symptoms and causes, including tension headaches.

As many as 2 in 3 Americans get tension headaches. Unlike other headache conditions, tension headaches often cause dull pain in the head, along with pressure or tenderness in the forehead, scalp, and neck. The discomfort can be mild to severe, and it can last for 30 minutes or days at a time. 

Other characteristics of a tension headache include:

Studies show that these headaches often occur in people with “hyperexcitable peripheral afferent neurons.” More simply put, the nerve cells involved in how your body processes pain can behave abnormally, increasing your sensitivity to pain. This can increase your chances of having tension headaches because of certain triggers. And, unfortunately, these headaches can also become a chronic problem.

Adam Massoud, DC, at Greenwich Wellness believes the body needs to be in balance to reach and maintain optimal health and fitness. At his practice in Greenwich, Connecticut, Dr. Massoud helps people find this balance through a variety of therapies, such as acupuncture and stress relief care. In this blog, he explains four triggers that are often responsible for causing tension headaches.

1. Muscle tightness

Tension headaches go by several names, including muscle contraction headaches. This is due to their association with tight muscles in the shoulders, jaw, neck, or scalp.

Muscle tightness can occur for a variety of reasons, ranging from poor posture, holding your head in the same position for long periods, and even dental problems, such as temporomandibular disorders.

If you have tension headaches, Dr. Massoud can determine if muscle tightness could be triggering your symptoms and outline therapies to help relax them, such as acupuncture.

2. Stress

Ever noticed a headache coming on after a stressful event or chaotic day? 

Several things can lead to tension headaches, but stress is the most commonly reported trigger. And, as you might expect, stress and muscle tension go hand-in-hand. That’s because the muscles in your neck, face, neck, shoulders, and scalp tense up or contract when you experience stress or anxiety, increasing your chances of developing a tension headache. 

If stress plays a role in your headaches, Dr. Massoud discusses strategies to relieve your stress. For example, he may suggest getting more sleep, getting more exercise, or engaging in massage or yoga.

3. Sleep issues

Sleep does a body good. But it can also cause a tension headache, just like the lack of sleep can.

Sleep plays an essential role in keeping our bodies and minds healthy. As a result, it’s common to start having tension headaches when you have sleep problems, such as insomnia. However, sleeping in abnormal positions or in a cold room can also trigger these kinds of headaches.

To get a restorative night’s sleep, Dr. Massoud suggests creating a sleep environment that’s cool, quiet, dark, and comfortable. You can also prepare yourself for a restful sleep by engaging in soothing activities before going to bed, such as soaking in a warm bath or practicing relaxation exercises.

It’s also important to set a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and rising at the same time each day. This can help ensure you get enough quality sleep, which can help keep tension headaches at bay.

4. Diet problems

Last but not least, it’s essential to think about what you put in your body, especially if you suffer from tension headaches. 

Everyday dietary habits that can trigger these headaches include:

It’s also common for certain foods to trigger headaches, but they can vary significantly from person to person. If you have chronic headaches, Dr. Massoud could recommend keeping a food log to help identify the items triggering your symptoms.

If you have frequent headaches, Dr. Massoud can help you uncover your triggers so you can stop your headaches or reduce their frequency. He customizes headache treatment plans based on the individual, and they can include a number of therapies, such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, lifestyle guidance, and nutrition therapy.

If you deal with frequent tension headaches, get the help you need by calling 203-806-9914 or booking an appointment online with Greenwich Wellness today.

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