Chiropractic Help For Tension Headaches

When the muscles in your neck and upper back become tired due to overuse, they will begin to irritate the nerves that travel up into your head. The irritation causes the pain in the sides of your head that you associate with tension headaches. Getting rid of the pain requires relaxing those muscles and reducing any inflammation caused by the overuse. A local chiropractic care center, like Rockwood Chiropractic, can offer a number of treatment options to get rid of your headaches and neck pain. 

Treatments to Target the Cause of the Pain

As you work with your head and neck in one position for hours, the muscles become fatigued. Continued use of muscles causes them to contract which reduces circulation and puts pressure on the nerves. This is known as "muscle guarding," which ironically is your body's way of preventing further injury. The goal of the chiropractic treatment is to relax those muscles slowly, increase circulation, and reduce the inflammation that's putting pressure on the nerves.

Physical therapy with hot and cold packs

Hot packs on your neck and upper back increase the blood flow in those muscles and decrease the inflammation. It helps the muscles to relax and loosen up. Physical therapy can then be done to slowly stretch the tense muscles out to their normal length. This gets rid of the stiffness you feel in your neck. Cold packs are then applied to decrease the circulation and prevent any swelling due to the exercises.

Another function of the physical therapy is to strengthen the muscles in your neck and upper back. Stronger muscles will be able to support your head and neck more effectively without becoming tense and irritated.

Stimulation of the nerves

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units are machines which send a mild electrical current into the muscles and nerves of your upper back and neck. This causes the muscles to relax naturally. This technique is especially useful if your muscles have become so tight that they are having spasms.

Active release techniques

Your chiropractor will locate tense muscles in your upper back and neck and apply steady pressure on them until they relax naturally. This is helpful if the muscles have contracted to the point that you can feel tight muscle knots under the skin. This technique relaxes the muscles in a gentle manner so there is no risk of tearing muscle fibers by forcing the muscle to relax.