Most people suffer from the occasional tension headache. For about three percent of the population, the pain is persistent, recurring, and severe enough to impact on quality of life. Medications may dull the symptoms, but do nothing to resolve the underlying issues. A Raleigh chiropractor provides safe, drug-free therapies to effectively relieve chronic tension headache pain.
Tension headaches are characterized by tightness or pressure around the forehead, back of the head, or neck. The pain may vary throughout the day and can range from a constant soreness to an intense throbbing. Associated symptoms may include irritability, fatigue, general muscle aches, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, or sensitivity to light and noise.
The majority of tension headaches are caused by sustained contraction of muscles in the neck and shoulders. The tightened muscles can alter the alignment of vertebrae in the upper cervical spine. If these vertebrae compress adjacent to nerve tissue, the pinched nerves broadcast pain signals to the neck and head.
Muscle tension may result from spending hours in a fixed position, such as working in front of a computer. It can be exacerbated by poor posture, inadequate rest, or infrequent breaks. Neck muscles also become tense in response to anger, depression, or anxiety. This is why constant physical or emotional stress often leads to chronic headaches.
The chiropractor addresses the causes of tension headaches with hands-on therapies. Gentle spinal adjustments are used to realign the neck vertebrae and release constricted nerves. Muscle tension is relieved with soothing deep tissue massage. As balance is restored to the body, the frequency and severity of headaches naturally decrease.
The Raleigh chiropractor works with patients to help prevent headaches from recurring. Patients whose muscle tension results from physical stress are offered advice about posture and workplace ergonomics. Those under emotional strain are taught relaxation exercises and stress management techniques. Patients may also be provided with lifestyle and nutritional counseling.