Tension Headaches

In tensions headaches, some cranial muscles (anterior, aponeurosis and posterior occipitofrontalis) and/or some neck muscles (trapezius and/or levator scapulae) are spasmed causing pain.

Besides, these spasms might decrease the blood flow to the brain. That could explain a suffering of the brain and headaches. 


What are the symptoms?

 Tensions headaches are felt as tensions compressing your neck and your head. They are often described as neck tensions and headache in helmet. Most of the time, tensions headaches affect you on both sides, more rarely on one side. Unlike migraines, these pains are not beating but compressive and tightening you up. Sometimes, they can be felt as heaviness on neck and shoulders.

Belong to the World Health Organization, in the industrialized countries, tensions headaches would affect 2/3 of adults and more of 80% are women.

However, for the most majority of tensions headaches, disturbs are just occasional, coming by episodes. Less than 3% suffer from chronic tensions headaches every day and so, very invalidating.

 What are the causes?

 As we have seen it before, tensions headaches are tensions from cranial muscles and from neck muscles.

It seems obvious that this is a defense reaction from our body against a potential danger, or threat, or aggression, but which one? That is the question.

 In 90%, we admit that there is a psychological component.

 Let’s first have a look at a mechanical stress as a birth, a fall, diverse activities, repetitive movements at work or whatever… That mechanical stress could have caused a misalignment of the spine. Misalignments on the spine lead to a miscommunication between the brain and nervous system towards those muscles.

That could be an explanation to tensions headaches.

 Besides, these tensions headaches could be caused by a misuse and an overuse of medications and drugs.

If you feel that you are overusing medications and it does not help you anymore, your organism is probably saturated. You have created a chemical stress in your body that could also lead to misalignments of your spine and though, generate miscommunication between your nervous system and your muscles.

 Now, let’s look at the psychological tensions causes.

Today we understand better how stress in our daily life can affect us.

Psychosocial stress generates psycho social tensions. Sometimes, and most of the time, for much more people that we could think about, our professional, familial or social environment can be very messy and we can suffocate. We can feel used and exhausted. Just think about marital conflicts, familial conflicts, financial troubles, personal or physical troubles when you have a bad self esteem, or a bad image of yourself…

Just the fact to try to think about it, not even to think about it might have caused you headaches already…

 In this part, I would like to talk about emotional tensions. All these unpleasant and bad emotions or feelings that we hold on inside of us because we can’t tell them at the right moment, or because we just don’t know how to express them at the right moment… We hold them on. They are kept in mind by our body. They stress us up.

These feelings of fear of being rejected, of fear of the future, of anger because of some situations or some people, of sadness, of regrets… They touch us. They can generate some tensions in our stomach and these tensions avoid the diaphragm to work properly. For reminder, the diaphragm is the only muscle that has to work for the usual breathing. With tensions in our stomach recorded as repressed emotions tensions, the diaphragm can’t work properly and it needs help from the accessories breathing muscles located in the chest and the neck. In other words, your neck and chest muscles that are normally not supposed to work for breathing are now solicited every day. Overused.

That’s how you can feel tensions headaches as well.

But these emotional tensions are closely intricated with the psychosocial tensions. We can’t have repressed emotions if we are not stressed.

 Let’s have a word for women because more than 80% of tensions headaches touch women.

Let’s try to understand why they are more affected by tensions headache. We are told that this is because women have a thinner musculature and that’s why they would be more affected by tensions headaches.

Even thought we can admit this hypothesis, women have thinner musculature compared to men in general, does it mean that women are supposed to develop more tensions pain in general?

I think that role of the woman has changed a lot for the last few years. Because they are more independent, they study as long as a man, sometimes even longer. They are more and more to practice a profession formerly reserved to men. Besides, they are still women. Most of the time, today, they have to be a mother and a worker. And they still have to assume their feminine part in their social, personal and familial life.

That’s a lot of changes in a little time. That’s a lot of stress for women. They have to adapt. They have to protect themselves. They have to fight. They have to defend themselves.

It might wake up inside of them some feeling of being lonely sometimes or missing some friends, familial or partner support. It looks like they have the weight of the entire world on their head and shoulders. This is heavy.

This is also a part of the thesis of the atlas syndrome: you carry all the misery of the world on your head and shoulders.

Again, the psychological, emotional and human side is obvious.



 To be short, if there are some spasms muscles, we have to refer to the cause if we want to be efficient.

We have seen that misalignments of the spine could be a cause of these tensions headaches and and misalignments of the spine creates interferences between your brain and your body.

Besides, in 90% there is a psychological component. So it would be smart to take care of this human side.

Let’s check your spine and get adjusted, maybe you will be able to make changes in your life.

Or whatever, if you feel that chiropractic is not for you and that you are clear enough to find a solution to be out of your psychosocial and emotional issues, listen to yourself.  Get your mind open.

It exists many ways to relax yourself, or to free your mind: yoga, meditation, psychotherapy, acupuncture, hobbies or other activities.

You have the choice.