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Do you have constant headaches? Are you constantly popping pain relievers just to function? Chances are, these are tension headaches and very easy to treat!

Over 90% of headaches are caused by tension headaches. But what causes tension headaches and why are they so common?


Tension headaches are caused by pressure and over-exertion of the muscles in the base of the skull.

These muscles lie on top of the sub-occipitals. The sub-occipitals are a group of nerves that wrap around the top and sides of the head. When the muscles along the base of the head and neck constrict these nerves, it causes pain (almost like a band) tight around your head.

So why are tension headaches so prevalent in today’s society – so much that they make up over 90% of headaches?

Flexion Dominance

Today, with most people sitting down to work, mainly on the computer, our heads are in a forward leaning posture. When we drive home, we sit the same way. When we get home, we sit down to eat with the same posture. This causes a syndrome called Upper Crossed Syndrome.

Upper Crossed Syndrome causes a weak cervical flexor in the neck, from the neck muscles constantly being “turned off.” As your neck is bent down, such as while working at a desk, your trapezius muscles tighten and constrict the movement of your scapula. In conjunction, tight sub-occipitals or upper trapezius muscles cause tight pectoral muscles. As your pecs are tight, it causes your neck to fall and tighten up.

What can be done to combat this?

At Relief Plus, our main concern for our patients is getting them out of pain by teaching them new movement patterns to combat ones that keep them in pain, such as forward head posture.

We prescribe what we call Deep Neck Flexion to our tension headache patients. This exercise allows you to stretch tight muscles, while building strength in the muscles that hold up your head. Finally, it teaches our patients how to hold their heads up correctly!

To perform deep neck flexion, follow these steps:

  1. First lift your chin up to the ceiling and extend your neck.
  2. Next, bring your chin back to level.
  3. While doing this swivel your head backwards. You should feel the back of the neck stretch. If it hurts, you are pulling back too hard!

If you do this correctly, you are basically giving yourself a second chin like Jabba the Hutt!

If you do this multiple times a day, we guarantee that this will get rid of your tension headaches and give you better posture to boot!

However, if you still have headaches while doing this regimen, give us a call and we can diagnose them more effectively. In the case of migraines, we have a new treatment which has been very successful with our migraine patients!