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Tension headaches are one of the most common types of headaches. Although symptoms may come and go, they typically do not completely resolve until the root cause has been addressed. Often, this can be originating from structural issues in your neck that you may not be aware of. Fortunately, some of the best chiropractors in Eugene and Springfield are here at Back2Strength to get you focusing less on tension headaches, and more on your best life.

What are tension headaches?

Tension headaches are uncomfortable and tiring and the most common type of headaches affecting upwards of 75% of all headache suffers. Most often tension headaches get worse as the day progresses. Symptoms are described as dull and achy typically affecting the forehead, back of the neck, or temporal regions. Some also describe them as a “tight band around the head” along with pressure developing behind the eyes. These types of headaches can last anywhere from a 30 min all the way up to several days, depending on the severity.

Why do tension headaches happen?

Tension headaches remain somewhat mysterious, as it is hard to pinpoint exactly why they happen. It is likely that tension headaches come from a combination of factors, as patients often report feelings of stress, tiredness, hunger, and eye strain when symptoms are at their worst. Some research indicates environmental factors (such as cold, heat, noise, wind, or brightness) and genetics may play a role. Additionally, misaligned vertebra (called subluxations) in the neck can trigger headaches.

How does chiropractic help?

Spinal manipulation (commonly called adjustments) can be highly effective for addressing tension headaches. When a vertebra loses its normal position or motion pattern, it can trigger a neurological response of pain and muscle tension around that joint. If this occurs in the upper cervical spine it can trigger a small muscle called the rectus capitis posterior minor (RCPM) to go into spasm. This is problematic, because this muscle has a tendon that travels between the base of the skull and upper neck and attaches to a particularly pain-sensitive, brain-covering tissue called the dura mater. The brain itself has no feeling, but this dura mater tissue is very pain sensitive. When the RCPM muscle begins to spasm and its tendon tugs at the dura mater, the body is acutely aware of this action and an uncomfortable tension headache can form.

Through gentle chiropractic manipulation techniques, proper alignment and motion patterns can be restored, thereby easing any tension in the upper back or neck triggering the headaches. A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that "for those headaches originating in the neck, spinal manipulation results in almost immediate improvement, significantly fewer side effects, and reports of longer-lasting relief from tension-type headache than commonly prescribed medications."

The chiropractors here at Back2Strength have worked for years with patients all around Eugene and Springfield area. Our doctors will thoroughly evaluate your case before determining a proper course of chiropractic care. Contact Back2Strength at (541) 484-0360 – and start feeling better today!

Yours in Health,

Dr. Gittins