Stress headaches, or tension-type headaches, are the most common type of headache. Surprisingly, as up to 78% of the general population will experience at tension-type headaches at some time during their lifetime.
Am I having a stress headache? Stress headaches are often the result of temporary stress, anxiety, fatigue or anger. Symptoms include a tight, band-like sensation around your head and spasms of the neck muscles and shoulders. Many stress headaches suffers experience pain and tightness just above the ears and at your temples. Many times people experience temporary relief or exacerbation of their headaches when they press on certain points in their neck.
I heard stress headaches can occur every day. Some stress headache suffers have chronic tension-type headaches that can occur every day. A chronic tension-type headache is a condition where you have a stress headache on 15 days or greater every month. This type of headache is also called a chronic daily headache because many people have a headache every day.
When would I see my chiropractor for a stress headache instead of taking over-the-counter medications? I suggest if you are experiencing more than two stress headaches a week, you should visit your chiropractor. Taking anti-inflammatories on a regular basis to eliminate headaches is masking the root of your problem: tight neck muscles, stress, and joint restrictions or misalignment can cause and aggravate your headaches.
Why do you treat stress headaches? Tension-type headaches are one of my specialties (and secretly, one of my favorite conditions to treat) because I personally suffer from them. As a student in Chiropractic College I began experimenting with different techniques we were learning to treat my headaches. After trying different treatments and practicing on patients and friends for months, a friend of mine showed me some soft tissue techniques he learned at his myofascial release seminar. My headache was gone after his treatment when combined with spinal manipulation. So, I kept trying it on everyone I could, and the treatment was helping more and more people.
How do you treat stress headaches in your practice, Dr. Funk? I use a combination of soft-tissue techniques (similar to massage), spinal manipulation, stretching, and simple strengthening exercises. Each patient has a 30-minute treatment that is relaxing and therapeutic.