What causes headaches?
Headaches can result from various muscle tensions in the neck or scalp. The pain typically begins in the neck and often extends over the eyes.
Maybe it feels like it's just contracting over its head. It may be that you have reduced mobility when you turn your head from side to side.
There may be days when you go to bed with a headache and when you get up again it is sadly still. Maybe you take medication to prevent it so you can cope with the day at work. Maybe you take medicine again when the headache increases. And when the headache or migraine completely takes control, you again have to take some painkillers just to be able to endure it. You may also find that the medicine no longer has the same effect, but then you are not the only one.
Tension headaches are the most common form of headaches
Up to 3/4 of all humans will experience tension headaches during their lifetime and 1/4 of all adults have tension headaches once a month or more. It is benign and is often caused by incorrect working posture, poor sleep, one-sided stress or if you are mentally stressed.
Many people with tension headaches can tell that the headache is triggered by certain conditions. It can be stressful situations or strain on the neck-shoulder muscles, e.g. by one-sided work. Other explanations for tension headaches can be poor eyesight, crooked tendons or osteoarthritis of the spine.
In the mentioned situations, the muscles in the neck, shoulders and face are tensed. This causes an overload of the muscles, which is experienced as a headache. Hence the name tension headache. It is the same thing that happens when you start hard physical work or movement after a long break. It also causes pain in the muscles you have used.
You can even try to figure out what it is that triggers your tension headache. If the headache always occurs in the workplace and never when you have a holiday, it could be your working position that is the explanation. If the headache occurs in connection with reading, you should have your vision examined.
Tension headache is usually a mild to moderate pain. The headache lasts from a few hours and up to 7 days. It is experienced as tightening or squeezing throughout the head. Often there will be sore spots on the neck or at the temples. There is no aggravation by physical activity, such as. walking on stairs and also no nausea and vomiting.
Several types of tension headaches
Tension headaches can generally be divided into three categories. There is the occasional headache that one experiences at most once a month. If you have a headache more often, it is a frequent episodic tension headache. And finally, there is chronic headaches where one has pain every or every other day.
It is perfectly normal to have a headache a few times a month without having to worry. If, on the other hand, you have it several times a week or almost every day, it can be very annoying and reduce the quality of life.
Headaches can generally be perceived as the body's warning signal that one must do something different.
You may sit at your computer in the same position for too long or strain your body inappropriately, and therefore get sore muscles that can cause headaches. Maybe you carry too much of your child on the same arm every time you fix something with the other hand. If one is often plagued by headaches, it is important to find the cause. There can be many other reasons why you get a headache than sore muscles.
Causes other than sore muscles
Not only physical tension can cause headaches - it also applies to mental tension such as stress. Often we are busy all week, and when we then relax on the weekend, there is a drop in the stress hormones and it can trigger headaches.
Some people get headaches from drinking a lot of coffee in everyday life or from coffee abstinences when they take a break from coffee. The same applies if you have an overconsumption of sugar, or if you exclude sugar from the diet from one day to the next. On the whole, fluctuations in the body's environment are typically the cause of headaches.
Fluctuations in the body's environment occur, for example, if you eat too irregularly or do not drink enough fluids. Teenagers often get headaches because they skip meals and the blood sugar therefore becomes unstable. They also typically forget to drink enough fluids during the day, which can trigger a dehydration headache.
Fluctuations in the body's environment also occur when estrogen levels fall in women up to menstruation. Many women experience headaches during their menstruation. Birth control pills can also be a cause, as can various diseases such as sinusitis. Medications can cause headaches. This applies to preventive medicine against blood clots. Lack of sleep and sleep apnea can also cause headaches.
Headache caused by headache pain medicine
One to two percent of all adults suffer from medication overuse headaches, which means that you have a headache more than 15 days a month for more than three months because you have an overuse of headache medication. There is an overconsumption when taking medication for your headache for more than 10-15 days each month.
The typical pattern of headaches caused by medication overuse is that you experience a gradually stronger and more frequent headache over weeks to months, and you wake up with a headache or experience a shift from migraine to tension-like headache within the same day.
It is called the drug overuse headache because one takes headache tablets so often that the medication begins to have the opposite effect and instead of relieving and removing the headache, keeps the condition straight or aggravates it.
Most are around 30-40 years old when they start to get medication overuse headaches, but it is also increasingly seen in children and adolescents. Often, however, this type of chronic headache has lasted for several years before it is detected.
Write a headache diary and go to the doctor for frequent or chronic headaches
Write a headache diary and go to the doctor for frequent or chronic headaches
If you are very bothered by headaches and have it several times a month or almost every day, you should be examined by a doctor. It can also be recommended that you start keeping a "headache diary". In the diary you write for example:
- what one thinks may have triggered the headache
- where the headache is and how powerful it is
- whether it is aggravated by physical activity
- whether there is concomitant hypersensitivity to light and sounds
- which medicine is being used for the headache
The headache diary is important for the doctor to make the correct diagnosis, especially to be able to distinguish between tension headaches and mild migraine attacks and to be able to rule out medication overuse headaches.
During the consultation, the doctor will press on the muscles in the neck, on the shoulders, at the jaw and in various places on the face to find out if they are sore. Many people are afraid of having a brain tumor, and it can therefore be reassuring to talk to the doctor who makes the diagnosis. An X-ray examination of the neck will typically not be necessary, as many clients want.
How to prevent headaches
The most effective thing you can do when you want to prevent tension headaches is to get a good balance in everyday life. If you make sure you get your night's sleep, eat when you are hungry and drink enough during the day, you can prevent headaches by far. It is also important to exercise, but here it does not apply that the harder and more exercise the better, too much hard training can actually cause headaches.
Many people with frequent headaches are afraid to exercise during the periods when they do not have headaches because they fear that it will lead to increased headaches.
You can easily exercise - it will not provoke headaches. One should just make sure to listen to one’s body and avoid going beyond the limits of the body by exercising too hard. All physical activity is beneficial - for example, you just need to go for a walk in nature to prevent headaches. Research shows that healthy and normal weight people have the least headaches.
Headaches can also be prevented with regular professional physiotherapy massage.
Saga Massage treatments relieve and treat your headaches effectively
Physiotherapy massage has a documented effect of loosening up the muscles in the neck and in the muscles that attach to the skull edge, where tension typically leads to tension headaches.
At Saga Massage, the picture is quite clear. The clients who receive a headache massage experience already after the first treatment that the headache decreases in strength and that the massage after each treatment correspondingly increases the interval between the headache / migraine.
The secret is first and foremost the long treatment time, working in the depth of the back and shoulder muscles. Combined with a technique to loosen the tense neck and neck muscles that play a big role when we talk about all kinds of headaches, where you are sore along the entire edge of the skull, up to the scalp, all the way up to the temples and jaw.
I therefore work intensively with the shoulder and neck muscles, but also want to work on the lower back and on the muscles close to the neck. The massage will soften the muscles, so that healthy blood flow up to the muscles in the skull edge can be created again.
You will feel a grip, after which the tension is released. I use both physiotherapy massage and trigger point massage to relieve pain. All treatment takes place, of course, in communication with you, so that the degree of hardness of the massage is adapted to your needs.
When trigger point massage, you will most often notice that it radiates up to the neck and up to the head. When the treatment is over, you should be able to feel a lightness and a release of the pressure from the shoulder and neck.
In Saga Massage treatments, I use heating pads that ensure a nice and quick softening of the muscles and at the same time have a pain-relieving effect on the sore muscles.
Good to know in connection with your massage
Everyone responds differently to massage, and your reaction also depends on how long, why and how much your headache affects you.
You can expect an improvement shortly after your treatment, and then a worsening of your pain the next day. In fact, it is only on the second day after the massage that the actual effect can be felt.
It is important that you drink plenty of water these days. It can also be good to use cold wraps for 10-15 min. on your neck before bedtime the same day as your massage. For example, you can use a bag of frozen peas and wrap the bag in a tea towel, and the cold causes the outer nerve nerves to be anesthetized naturally. It can soothe the next day.
Remember to drink fluids both up to and after your massage. I do not recommend that you take painkillers up to the massage, as it can weaken your feeling with pressure and pain and in the extreme consequence you may risk being overtreated and thus have your situation worsened.