Tension headaches are one of the most common types of headache and unfortunately, millions experience them. Often mild episodes may be treated easily, but for some people, tension headaches occur frequently and greatly impairs their quality of life.
There is, however, relief to be found. Acupuncture has been known to provide effective and lasting relief for tension headaches and does it without the potential side effects of medications.
Characteristics Of Tension Headaches
Tension headache pain is often a result of muscle contraction in the head and neck. People typically experience it as mild to moderate pain or can be described as a tight vise-like band around the head. Other symptoms of tension headaches include:
- Dull, aching pain in the head.
- The sensation of pressure and tightness that spreads across the forehead, on the sides, or back of the head, or behind the eyes.
- Tenderness and tightness in the neck and shoulder muscles.
- They can vary greatly in frequency, intensity, and duration.
2 Types Of Tension Headaches
- Episodic tension headaches. These can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a week and occur fewer than 15 days a month for a duration of least 3 months. These are the most prevalent form of tension headaches, usually occurring 2-3 times per month.
- Chronic Tension Headaches. These miserable headaches can last hours and can go on continuously for long stretches of time. Tension headaches are considered chronic when they last for more than 15 days a month for at least 3 months.
How Acupuncture Can Treat Tension Headaches
- Relieves pain naturally. Acupuncture urges your body to release its own natural painkillers. By inserting tiny needles into very specific sites on the body, the needles trigger a response from the nervous system. The nervous system initiates our brain to then release a cascade of natural painkillers called endorphins.
- Reduces stress and regulates the body’s response to stress. Acupuncture has been widely accepted for its ability to regulate the central and autonomic nervous system which is frequently the root cause of the tension headache. In doing so, it seems to bring heart rate into a healthy range, thus reducing the experience of stress. Acupuncture also heightens the brain’s executive function, which helps deal with stress without the physiologically triggering the sympathetic nervous system to the “fight or flight” response.
- Relaxes muscular tension. Acupuncture needles signal the brain to direct blood flow to the areas affected, when increased blood flows into the head and neck, muscles will relax in response. This additional blood flow addresses the physical mechanism causing the tension headache pain. Acupuncture will relieve built-up tension and release the muscle and restore normal functioning to the rest of the body as well.
Acupuncture points for the treatment of tension headaches vary according to where the tension/pain is located in the head and the underlying triggering factors. Acupuncture treatments are constructed to calm the sympathetic nervous system activity and then promote healing blood flow and relaxation into the muscles of the neck and upper back.
The best part of using acupuncture for tension headaches is that it works on three major fronts to address both the symptoms and the cause.