How You Get Chronic Tension HeadachesSimply put, tension headaches come from muscle tension in your neck, shoulders and upper back. This tension is usually a result of poor posture and, less frequently, some sort of trauma (like a car accident). Conventional treatments (painkillers, muscle relaxers) have little or no effect on chronic tension headaches because they treat the symptoms, not the cause.
The Cause of Chronic Tension HeadachesHere's how your tension headaches typically become chronic:
- You work all hunched over at your job
- You continue to practice poor posture at home
- This posture tightens your neck, shoulders and upper back
- After awhile, this tightness causes muscle spasms
- These spasms restrict blood flow to the back of your head
- These spasms also irritate nerve endings in the back of your neck and head
Mayby you stoop over a drill press. Maybe you hunch over a computer terminal. Maybe you drive all day. Maybe you sit all day with a phone crooked between your neck and ear.
The common denominator is that while you do these jobs, your back's stretched out, your shoulders are rolled in and your head's jutted out.
And when you get home, you continue practicing this poor posture by curling up in front of the T.V., or sitting hunched over in your easy chair.
If you're like most people, you continue this posture when you go to bed because you sleep in the fetal position.
When you're caught in this cycle, you've trained your muscles to adapt to this abnormal positioning.
This positioning stretches out your back muscles, curls up your shoulder muscles, strains your neck muscles and constricts your chest.
This is what causes your tightness. It's a sign that these muscles are under tremendous stress.
Unfortunately, It Gets WorseThe continual strain on your neck, shoulder and upper back muscles causes these muscles to tear (on a microscopic level). Your body tries to prevent this tearing by forcing these muscles to knot up.
This results in muscle spasms.
But despite these spasms, some tearing does occur because of the continual strain you're putting on them.
Over time, these tears heal. And when they do, microscopic scar tissue is left behind. These scar tissue fibers effectively lock your spasms into place.
Why is this important?Because the tightness in your neck, shoulders and upper back and the spasms associated with this tightness restrict blood flow to the back of your head (it's like stepping on a turned-on garden hose). This tightness and spasming also irritate various nerve endings in the back of your neck and head.
This Blood Flow Restriction And Nerve Ending Irritation Are What Cause Your Chronic Tension Headaches.