chiropractic for tension headaches

How Chiropractic Care Helps With Tension Headaches

by | May 23, 2024 | General Chiropractic

As a universal human experience, headaches can often range from a mild ache to an intense, throbbing sensation. While the cause of headaches can vary based on a person’s health and lifestyle, tension headaches are the most common, affecting over one-third of men and more than half of women.

For many, tension headaches significantly impact their daily life and interfere with their ability to perform everyday tasks or work. From navigating the causes of tension headaches to exploring holistic treatments such as chiropractic care, here is everything you need to know about seeking relief.

Understanding Tension Headaches

Tension headaches start with pain in the back of the head and neck and are often described as the sensation of a tight band being wrapped around your head. This pain in your head can extend to and contribute to any other pain you might be experiencing in your scalp, neck, and shoulders. When muscles contract in your head, they can tighten around occipital nerves and cause headaches.

Unlike migraines, tension headaches are less severe and can last roughly 30 minutes to a few days. While some of the causes of tension headaches vary from person to person, here are some common causes:

Eye Strain

People who perform desk jobs are likely to have tension headaches due to the eye strain they experience while focusing on bright computer screens or monitors. When eye muscles are overused or overexerted from constantly realigning their vision to read off of a computer monitor, tension headaches usually form.

Muscle Tension

Muscle tension is often caused by stress and poor posture, leading to tight back, neck, and shoulders. When muscles contract, they can pinch and pressure the nerves in the neck and back. When muscle tension compresses these nerves, it can irritate the pain-sensitive structures in the head and trigger a headache.


Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, which causes tissues and muscles to contract and shrink. When tissue and muscles contract and shrink, they create similar responses as muscle tension and nerve pressure, triggering headaches.

How Chiropractic Care Can Relieve Tension Headaches

For many, pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen serve as an initial source of relief. While these help minimize the pain or relieve short-term effects, they don’t target sources of pain or treat any underlying causes.

Chiropractic treatment is a holistic approach to targeting pain and addressing the underlying causes of tension headaches by focusing on the musculoskeletal system. By manipulating the spine, joints, and surrounding muscles, chiropractors can relieve pain by realigning the body.

When seeing a chiropractor for tension headaches, you can expect to experience the following:

Nerve Function

Misalignments in the spine can cause uneven tension in your back muscles and irritate your back and neck nerves. Chiropractic adjustments can shift pressure off of nerves and reduce pain.

Improved Joint Mobility

When chiropractors adjust for proper spinal alignment, joint mobility in the neck and upper back also improves. This mobility and enhanced range of motion reduces muscle tension and strain and can minimize headache-causing nerve pain.

Stress Reduction

For many, chiropractic adjustments can be soothing due to the massage practices often involved in the alignment process. Chiropractors can also offer advice and tips for leading a healthy lifestyle and changing bad habits to reduce stress.

What to Expect During a Chiropractor Appointment

If you are considering a visit to the chiropractor for tension headache relief, you can expect to receive the following treatment:

  • Initial Consultation: During a first consultation, your chiropractor will discuss your medical history, pain areas, symptoms, and potential headache trigger points. They will also gather any necessary X-rays, measurements, posture, and ranges of motion. These evaluations will assess what types of alignments are needed and serve as a baseline for your treatment progress.
  • Adjustments and Therapy: If your chiropractor determines that spinal alignment is a cause of your tension headaches, they will perform a series of adjustments using their hands or other special instruments. Spinal adjustments are often used to restore the proper alignment of your spine and relieve any pressure between joints.
  • Lifestyle recommendations and Consulting: Your chiropractor might also recommend lifestyle changes to help you manage your pain and headaches at home. These changes can include different sleeping positions, stress management practices, or even ergonomic improvements that help relieve headache triggers.

Finding Tension Headache Relief in Denver

Chiropractic care offers relief and holistic options to those who suffer from tension headaches. Denver Integrated Spine Center aims to alleviate your headache symptoms and improve your well-being by addressing tension, mobility, and strain issues.

For the best tension headache treatment in Denver, contact Denver Integrated Spine Center to book an appointment with one of our qualified doctors.

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