When a patient of ours comes in and complains of getting headaches, we have a set protocol in place to determine whether this headache is from tension or other causes.
However, there’s a 90% chance that their headaches are tension-related! Just in case, we always test to make sure!
First, we determine the location of the headache that the patient is experiencing. If the pain is like a tight band around the head, or almost like a helmet coming from the base of the skull and up, it is most likely a tension headache.
Next, we try to replicate the pain. We do this by gently pushing on the sub occipital muscle found on the left and right sides of the base of the skull. While we push, if the patient finds the pain comes back or gets worse, then it is tension that is causing the headache. While we push on these muscles, we can also notice any knots or scar tissue in that area.
IT’S TENSION RELATED. WHAT NOW?
So, we found out that the headache is tension related. Good news:
We are EXPERTS at getting rid of tension headaches!
Out of our repertoire of chiropractic techniques, we’ve found that soft tissue massage, dry needling and the chiropractic adjustment are the most effective treatments for these types of headaches.
Tension headaches are caused when the sub occipital muscles, located behind the head, are tight and put pressure on a patch of nerves that wrap around the head. This is why it seems that a rubber band is putting pressure around your head.
Soft tissue massage helps to take pressure off of those nerves. Rubbing the muscles will loosen them up and encourage blood flow to the area in order for the muscles to heal.
Dry needling is much like soft tissue massage. It’s main goal is to encourage the same exact blood flow and inflammation that we get from soft tissue massage. Dry needling is just on a very micro level.
Dr. Johnston will insert a very small and thin needle into the muscles that are affected. This small needle will allow blood flow into the area, as well as encouraging antibodies to rush into the area to protect it! Dry needling truly is one of our most powerful tools in our arsenal!
The chiropractic adjustment is the manual manipulation of the vertebra of the spine. This helps to not alone realign potentially crooked vertebra, but will help bring mobility back to areas that weren’t able to move because of the crookedness.
Dr. Johnston will use the adjustment to bring mobility to the joints of your neck and heading up to the base of the skull. This will help the muscles relax and not get locked up!
Remember, over 90% of headaches are tension related. This means that 90% of the headaches that you have can be treated by us!
If you have chronic headaches, there might be an underlying issue, such as a mobility issue that we can address, but it most likely an easily-treated tension headache. Call us if you get them!