Tension Headaches – St. Louis Park Chiropractor

Struggling with Severe Headaches? Not sure the Cause! Maybe you have a Tension Headache!

Tension headaches are very common, affecting up to 78% of people. Unfortunately, they’re also among the most neglected and difficult types of headaches to treat.

With a tension headache, the pain often starts at the back of your head and moves forward, so that it eventually includes your neck, scalp, and head. It’ s often described as feeling like you have a tight band across your head.

It may be caused by staying in one position for a long time, such as in reading, using a computer, or playing video games. It may be also caused by stress, but sometimes there is no obvious cause.

If your headaches happen 15 or more days in a month for several months, they are considered chronic tension headaches. If they occur less frequently, they are called episodic tension headaches.

Although tension headaches can be painful, they are rarely a sign of a more serious illness. A combination of lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, and traditional and complementary therapies can help reduce the number of tension headaches you have.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Headache starts at the back of your head and spreads forward
  • Dull pressure or a squeezing pain, often described as a tight band around the head
  • Muscles in your neck, shoulders, and jaw can feel tight and sore
  • Affects both sides of your head equally
  • May have difficulty sleeping or eating
  • Throbbing or Pounding Sensation


Tension Headaches can be caused by a multitude of problems. At West End Chiropractic and Wellness we often see bio mechanical issues in the neck and upper back causing severe tension headaches. Dr. Andrew Schwert, chiropractor at West End Chiropractic notes” Often times a lack of cervical curve, or hypolordosis of the neck creates poor bio mechanics resulting in compensation of the upper neck musculature. This can create increased nerve and vascular irritation leading to tension based headaches.” Other triggers of Tension Headaches include

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Holding your head in one position for a long time (like using a computer)
  • Sleeping in an awkward position or in a cold room
  • Eye strain
  • Fatigue
  • Overexertion
  • Skipping meals
  • Head or neck injury, even years after the injury
  • Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth (bruxism)
  • Medications, including some headache medications (leading to rebound headaches)
  • Arthritis

Treatment Approach:

At West End Chiropractic and Wellness we use a comprehensive treatment plan including chiropractic, physical rehabilitation, manual therapy, acupuncture and other lifestyle changes in reducing the frequency and intensity of tension headaches.

Lifestyle Modification

Keeping a headache diary can help identify the source of your tension headaches and how you can change your environment and habits to avoid them. When a headache starts, write down the date and time it began. Note what you ate for the preceding 24 hours, how long you slept the night before, what you were doing just before the headache, any unusual stress in your life, how long the headache lasted, and what you did to make it stop.

Good health habits are important for helping to lessen stress and tension headaches:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get regular exercise
  • Quit smoking
  • Use relaxation techniques

Tension Headaches are very common condition that can be treated effectively with a correct diagnosis. Make sure to see a provider in your area who has experience treating Tension based Headaches.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with a doctor at West End Chiropractic and Wellness call (952) 500-8477 or visit us online at www.westendchiromn.com

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