Tension Headaches

xcept for head colds, headaches are the most common human ailment. Tension headaches and migraines outstrip backaches as the number-one cause of time lost from work. Approximately three out of every four people will have at least one headache within the year.

Some headaches, like migraines, are caused by a disturbance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. However, according to Dr Janet Travell and Dr David Simons, specialists in musculoskeletal pain, “It is now becoming clear that tension headaches are usually due to trigger points.”

Trigger points are small knots that develop in muscles. These knots or mini-spasms make pain travel to different areas of the body, often nowhere near the knot itself. For example, trigger points at the top of your neck can send pain directly into your eye.

The name trigger point comes from the fact that these knots can sit in your muscles for ages without causing pain until something “triggers” them to become active. Common triggers include fatigue, stress, poor posture, repetitive movements at work and cold drafts

Massage therapy is a proven way of treating trigger points for long-term headache relief. In one study, researchers found that chronic headache sufferers had dramatic relief after ten massages that focused on treatment of trigger points. Although you may get some relief with general relaxation massage, long-term relief depends on correctly identifying and treating specific trigger points which are responsible for your pain.

Single muscle trigger points can often be eliminated quickly and easily, sometimes within one or two treatments. In more complicated cases however, it may take significant time and your active participation to get lasting results.