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Tension headaches

Headaches are a common condition that most people will experience in their life. There are several types but the most common type is a tension headache. The main symptom of a tension headache is head and or face pain.

Tension headaches

A tension headache is usually mild to moderate pain. According to the NHS common symptoms include: “pain on both sides of your head, neck, or face. A feeling like something is pressing on your head or being tightened around it. The affected area may feel tender and your head may hurt more when touched”. You should be able to continue doing normal daily activities without making it worse. A tension headache last at least 30 minutes but can last much longer and sometimes up to several days. Some common causes of tension headaches include physical and emotional stress, poor posture, caffeine, and poor sleep.

Tension headache or migraine?

Tension headaches usually aren’t associated with visual disturbances, nausea, or vomiting and physical activities usually don’t aggravate a tension headache. Migraines usually present as moderate to severe pain which often will get worse with physical activities. The symptoms of a migraine usually last between 4 hours and 3 days. You may feel very tired for up to a week afterwards. Migraines are more likely to include visual disturbances, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and or vomiting, and some people also feel dizziness and balance issues with a migraine.

Can massage help headaches?

There are studies that show that massage can help with tension headaches. One study found that there was a significant decrease in the frequency of tension headaches within the first week of receiving a massage and that the duration of headaches tended to decrease during the massage treatment period. “Chronic tension headache sufferers received structured massage therapy treatment directed toward neck and shoulder muscles”. The study was very small but nevertheless, the results are very positive.

Should I see my doctor?

Although most headaches are not serious sometimes they can be a symptom of an underlying condition so it is always advised that you speak to your doctor. If you have been diagnosed as having tension headaches and they have a negative impact on your life, then massage is certainly worth considering.