You know it’s coming from the stiffness in your shoulders or the tightness in your scalp—a tension headache! Medically, they are not dangerous, but tension headaches affect your ability to concentrate, making it difficult to accomplish daily tasks well or even drive safely—not to mention the pain you experience when one strikes! 

Did you know one out of five people suffers from this debilitating condition? Let’s learn about tension headaches and how to find relief so you can enjoy every aspect of your life—without fear that a headache will derail your plans or enjoyment!

What is a Tension Headache?

A tension headache is when you experience pain (dull ache), pressure like a “clamp” squeezing your skull, or a tightness pulling on your scalp. Shoulder, neck, and jaw stiffness are common symptoms too.

These headaches can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days—and when you experience them for more than 15 days of the month, you suffer from chronic tension headaches. 

These headaches are the most common type and are caused by muscle tension in your neck. Muscle tension is often the result of stress. Other triggers include a poor diet, dehydration, lack of sleep, eye strain, and posture problems. 

How to Relieve a Tension Headache

The good news is that tension headaches don’t have to become your “normal.” There are effective treatment options that target the pain, relieve the tension, and restore balance to your body—even when you’re stressed!


There are a few types of medication that bring relief to tension headaches. Acetaminophen relieves pain and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) reduce inflammation around your neck and shoulders. In severe cases, anti-depressants are prescribed to help combat stress. 

Relying on medication is not a healthy approach to these headaches. It can lead to dependency and open you up to numerous side-effects—especially if you take them regularly to cope. 

Lifestyle Changes

Understanding the cause of your tension headaches is key to finding longterm relief. For many, avoiding triggers is enough to eliminate tension headaches for good!

For some, it’s a lack of sleep, for others it’s too many hours behind a screen. Sometimes key nutrients like magnesium or B vitamins are missing from your diet leading to muscle spasms. Your posture can seriously impact the health of your spine and cause tension in the muscles around your shoulders and neck.

But what if you can’t pinpoint the trigger? Or you can’t avoid it even if you’d like to? Then it’s time to see a chiropractor!

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is a holistic and effective option for treating chronic tension headaches. Through careful examination your chiropractor creates a treatment program that targets the root cause of your headaches—instead of just treating the symptoms!

Through spinal manipulation, your chiropractor will ensure that each vertebra in your spine is perfectly aligned. Even the smallest misalignment can lead to muscle spasms and tension around your spine—especially in your cervical spine (neck area). This treatment alone provides relief, relief that doesn’t wear off like medication.

Then, using variations of manual therapy (or massage therapy), your chiropractor will work out all the tension and imbalances in the soft tissue around your spine. This treatment reduces pain intensity, the frequency of your tension headaches, and improves the movement of your neck (mobility and flexibility).

Your chiropractor will also help you identify triggers, improve your posture, and teach you stretching techniques to relax your muscles—even when you’re stressed! 

Chiropractic care is a drug-free, sustainable, and safe way to restore your quality of life! Contact Integrated Health & Injury, your local chiropractor in Atlanta and Decatur, Georgia, and leave chronic tension headaches behind you!

Use our contact form, or dial one of these numbers:

Decatur – 404-288-9000

Atlanta – 404-691-4822