Tension headaches generally produce pain you can feel at the base of your neck and extending up into your head. Usually caused by muscle spasm and tightness in these areas, tension headaches are very common and can develop into a chronic condition. Sometimes, this muscle tightening is a response to stress or anxiety. Physical stress from postural issues, working on a computer, improper sleeping position, or whiplash can also contribute to this type of headache.
An in-office evaluation is performed to assess for tenderness of the spine, presence of muscle spasm, restriction of range of motion, and postural abnormalities. In some cases, x-ray evaluation of the cervical spine may be necessary to determine the health of the vertebrae and discs. A thorough report of findings is then given to the patient so they have a clear understanding of the cause of their condition.
Treatment for each patient is unique based on the findings of the evaluation and x-ray results. Many patients respond well to chiropractic adjustments, passive stretching, electric stimulation, and moist hot packs. For longer term relief, a postural strengthening and flexibility program can be very beneficial to improve spinal mechanics and relieve strain on the neck and head.