Tension Headaches: Finding Relief

by Onward Physical Therapy | April 30, 2023 |
Tension Headaches: Finding Relief

While not as well known as their cousin migraine headaches, tension type headaches are actually the most common type of headache suffered by humans.   Why do we know so little about such a common problem? Part of this answer undoubtedly lies in the fact that tension headaches are not as debilitating as migraines, and thus the urgency to study and understand them tends to get pushed to the back burner.  We say try telling someone that has been suffering for years that a solution isn’t important! 

Fortunately, while proper attention from the medical community for this problem might be elusive, our team at Onward knows exactly how to get you on the path to relief.  First however let’s make sure you are in the right place…..

Do I have tension type headaches? 

Tension type headaches are fairly easy to self diagnose as the features they share are quite recognizable.  First, symptoms tend to be “bilateral”, meaning on both sides of the head.  This feature is what helps us distinguish between tension type or “cervicogenic” another common headache disorder that almost always has a “one sided” presentation.  Second, the pain is usually described as “pressing” which is in direct contrast to migraine’s classic “pulsing” characteristic.  

Additional features include an absence of sensitivity to bright light or loud sounds, headache duration usually being in the 1-3 day range, and minimal or no relief found with migraine medications. 

That sounds like me… How do you get rid of a tension headache? 

If  you made it this far you are in the right place!  The following three videos are techniques that you can do today for some instant relief of your tension headaches.  Obviously these exercises won’t work for everyone or eliminate symptoms completely, but they are often a great starting point.  

For a thorough examination and targeted treatment plan for frequent tension headaches, reach out to your local Onward Physical Therapy! 

Video 1: Prone Neck Retractions:

View Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ft0NwGCUIEE 


Video 2: Suboccipital Release:

View Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpNvQpfXpPI&list=PLlXetmRtpDu7defa_RQiBSGM7HR8I2MSh&index=14

Video 3: Barbell Shrugs:

View Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WygV8ceJi0M

Still struggling to find relief? Contact us today for a free consultation!