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Tension Headaches

Most people will get a headache at some time in their lives, and many people will suffer form them continually.

We now know that headaches aren't "just in the head." They are warnings that something in the body is out of balance and needs to be fixed. While painkillers such as aspirin can mask the pain, they don't deal with the real problem.

Researchers and clinicians have discovered a number of clues as to the physiology of headaches, what triggers them, and what can be done to ease or prevent them.

What Causes Tension Headaches

This is often described as a "dull, persistent, vice-like pain or tension headache. These headaches often begin with physical or mental stress that causes prolonged muscle contraction in the neck, back and head. These contractions starve those muscles of oxygen, temporarily injuring them, and releasing chemicals that transmit referred pain signals to the brain. The psychological or physical stress that makes these muscles contract and cause headaches are not always obvious.

A person sitting hunched over at a desk, typewriter, or computer for long periods can suffer from physical stress in the form of tightened muscles in the neck and back. Hunching the shoulders to hold a telephone without hands can cause the same problem. Jutting the head forward tensely while driving will also tense the neck muscles. Eyestrain, due to poor light when reading or working, can also cause headaches. Spinal problems are often the cause of physical stress, leading to chronic muscle contraction headaches.

Boredom, anxiety, frustration, worries about your job or home life, contributes to muscle contraction and tension headaches. The need to avoid rather than dealing with stressful situations can also contribute to muscle contractions. Some expressions of stress, such as frowning, tightening of the jaws and grinding of the teeth, can lead to headaches.

What You Should Do

1) With the help of a doctor or your Chiropractic, first determine if there is any physical or structural problem involved, and whether it can be corrected. Chiropractic doctors are very experienced in treating the causes behind headaches, as well as relieving the immediate pain.

2) Check your posture. Take standing or walking breaks while at work. Use firm chairs and mattresses. Relax your eyes, and make sure that you have proper lighting. Don't read or watch TV in bed.

3) Learn to relax. Practice progressive relaxation, slowly tightening and relaxing each muscle group one after the other. Practice relaxing imagery also; i.e. close your eyes and imagine that you are at the beach.

4) Learn to deal with stress. It is inevitable in our lives. Your Chiropractic can recommend massage/ exercise methods to help relax your neck and back muscles

Information provided courtesy of St. James Chiropractic Clinic

St. James Chiropractic Clinic
Dr. Clarence O. Green
92 Hibiscus Ave., Sunset Crest
St. James, Barbados, W.I
Tel: (246) 432-7576

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