Tension headaches are headaches caused by tightness in the muscles of your head and neck, often due to mental/emotional stress, poor posture, desk work, or after a traumatic head/neck injury.
Often, you have no idea what is causing your headaches – they just “come on” randomly. Occasionally, you will recall a trauma, change in activity or stress levels, or a certain position that brings on a headache.
– Traumatic injury (with mental/emotional stress).
– Poor posture (desk work, etc.).
– Note: It is important to differentiate between headaches caused by a musculoskeletal issue (tension headaches) or a medical problem (hydration/nutrition issues, blood pressure, vision, stroke, cancer, etc).
– Pain in the head.
– Pressure in the head.
– Difficulty performing work or personal tasks due to head pain.
– Visual, auditory, or tactile auras in migraines.
At Home Diagnostic Tests
– Palpation of suboccipitals and upper trapezius (video).
At Home Care
– Treat potential causes, including hydration or low blood sugar issues, lack of caffeine (especially if you are a daily caffeine user), and fatigue.
When to Seek Help
If you are having frequent headaches (more than 2-4/month) please seek medical attention. A doctor of physical therapy can determine if your headaches are due to a musculoskeletal problem, as well as screen for medical issues requiring a referral to a physician. If your headaches are accompanied by dizziness, loss of consciousness, tingling/numbness/loss of sensation in any body part, confusion, general unwell feeling, or unintentional weight loss, please contact your physician immediately.