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  • Writer's pictureHelen

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and are often caused by tight muscles around the neck, shoulders and jaw. The symptoms are often described as a constant ache, that can occur on one or both sides of the head. There may also be a feeling of pressure behind the eyes.

Common triggers for tension headaches include: stress, poor posture, anxiety, depression, tiredness, dehydration and lack of physical activity. Sitting with poor posture at a desk or driving for long periods can also be a contributing factor. When muscles are tight for a period of time or over-worked due to tension, trigger points (knots) can develop. Knots in the neck and shoulders can often cause pain to refer to the back and front of the head, and stimulate a headache. Furthermore, excessive muscular tension in the neck can compress and irritate surrounding joints, which can further contribute to tension headaches and pain.

There are certain lifestyle changes and relaxation techniques that can help to reduce stress-related tension headaches. Yoga and exercise promote the body to release endorphins, which can help to relieve stress and promote relaxation and wellbeing. Additionally, a warm bath or heat application to the neck and shoulders can also help to promote muscle relaxation. There are also several manual treatments that can help to relieve muscle tension and break down knots, to relieve and resolve headache symptoms. Massage can be particularly effective in relaxing tense muscles and breaking down trigger points (knots), which then takes pressure off the underlying joints and allows them to move more freely again. Acupuncture, joint mobilisations and taping are also very effective in helping relieve tension headaches. 

At Choice Physio Ltd in Bell Street, Sawbridgeworth, our Physiotherapists have extensive experience in treating tension headaches. They are qualified to perform the manual therapy techniques described above to resolve the symptoms. In addition, they can provide expert advice regarding stretching and strengthening exercises (to help to address muscular imbalances) and postural assessment and movement dysfunction correction. Therefore, the treatment aims to resolve the symptoms and address the causes to help prevent the headaches returning. If you are experiencing neck pain or tension headaches, our Physiotherapists would be delighted to help resolve your symptoms.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you, please feel free to call us on 01279 882518 or you can book online at

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