tension headache will occur due to stress or overloading of the muscles around the neck and scalp. According to Headache Australia,  tension headache is usually felt on both sides of the head. It is a pressing or tightening sensation rather than a throbbing headache and is not made worse by activity or accompanied by nausea. Perhaps it is that dull aching at the base of your head after you have been staring at the computer all day? Headaches are so common and so misdiagnosed. More and more research is pointing at the neck as the main cause of headaches.

The image shows a woman, office worker suffering from a headache


The top 3 joints of the neck specifically can cause severe headaches. Often termed ‘migraines’ by people. It can get worse with bright lights, noise or even chocolate! Unbelievable isn’t it? The muscles of the neck get tight due to overuse or to protect swollen joints. This will in turn start to irritate the nerves that supply the muscles of your head causing headaches.

Causes of a tension headache:

  • Posture!

    A lot of us don’t pay attention to the way we are sitting. Whether it is at work or at home watching t.v! Slouching puts tremendous pressure on the discs and joints of the neck. This in turn causes swelling around the area causing pain.

  • Sleeping on your stomach!

    Sleeping on your tummy pushes your neck sideways, thus, straining the neck joints. Have you           ever woken up with a stiff neck? Well, this is the reason I would say.

  • Repetitive overhead movements

    Electricians beware! A lot of overhead movement will strain your neck joints. This causes swelling around the joints and muscles causing pain.

  • Prolonged driving

    Truck drivers are a good example. It’s just hard to maintain a good posture if you are sitting for hours together. Your posture takes a beating. This in turn affects the neck joints. And before you know it , you start getting headaches!

  • Trauma

    Car accidents or falls can cause ‘Whiplash’ injury. Whiplash is a complex condition that not only affects the joints but muscles, ligaments and discs too! It is definitely a long way to recovery. It can take up to 2 years for recovery. However, a lot of patients report on going symptoms.

How can Physiotherapy help tension headache?

Physiotherapists at Get Better Physiotherapy literally mobilize the joints i.e get more movement into the joints of the neck. Thus, improving the circulation in the area and reducing pain. This also improves the mobility of the joints. We then massage the muscles around the neck to help relieve tension. This helps to reduce the irritation of nerves that cause headaches.

Once the pain is under control, we show you postural exercises to help maintain the correct posture. The exercises also strengthen the ‘core’muscles of the neck. Thus, helping in long term management.