Tension headaches occur when there has been a physical stress to the cervical spine. The stress to the spine can be from a fall, looking up to paint a ceiling, a car wreck, a sports injury, lifting a heavy object, using a computer, riding a lawnmower for hours, shoveling snow or reading in bed. The stress causes irritation of the muscles and joints in the neck leading pain in the neck which radiates to the head causing the headache. The irritated joints are subluxated which means they are not moving properly causing the nerves and soft tissues in the neck to be over stimulated which makes the head ache. These headaches can be made worse and be triggered by mental/emotional stresses as well.
There are many theories about why the blood vessels constrict. What we do know is that there are a number of things that can trigger migraines, such as lack of sleep, stress, flickering lights, strong odors, changing weather patterns and several foods; especially foods that are high in an amino acid called ‘tyramine.’ You can reduce the likelihood of migraine headaches by making some lifestyle changes.
There are times when migraine headaches are not “true migraines” (vascular) but are migraine mimickers. We can usually tell within just a few minutes if chiropractic care can help your condition.