Your Guide to Tension Headaches

Reduce Tension Headache Pain

Five Lifestyle Changes To Reduce Your Pain

We all get headaches.

Longest day at work ever?

A headache at the end of that kind of day seems predictable.

Ongoing relational tension?

A headache after a difficult conversation isn’t too surprising.

But what if you get headaches regularly?

And what if you simply can’t function because of them?

Everyone experiences headaches differently. You may have blurred vision, a throbbing head, or just feel tense and exhausted.

No matter what kind of headache you are experiencing, at Daniels Chiropractic we believe that experiencing them frequently does not have to be your normal. We are here to help you feel, move, and live better. Adopting a few simple lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce your headaches and your pain. We want to show you how.

First, let’s understand the three most common types of headaches.

Reduce Tension Headache Pain


Migraines vary in their experience.

Typically, you feel a throbbing on one side of your head that increases in intensity and it may last up to 3 days. You may also experience nausea, have difficulty thinking clearly, and be sensitive to light, sounds, or smells.

A migraine may be the worst pain you have ever felt before.

Crawling into bed in a dark room may be the only way you feel you can cope.

Cluster Headache

Men tend to get cluster headaches more than women. But all of us are susceptible.

Cluster headaches feel like an intense burning or piercing behind or around one of your eyes. They can last anywhere between 15 minutes to three hours.

Cluster Headache

Tension Headache

Tension headaches are very common.

They account for over 90% of all headaches.

Usually it’s experienced as a constant dull pain felt on both sides of the head.

Since it is the most prevalent, let’s focus on tension headaches.

Why do you get tension headaches?

What causes them?

A word that tends to be overused, but definitely applies here:


Do you routinely feel overwhelmed? Under a big deadline with work? Anxious about a loved one’s health?

Stress comes in many forms and it can sometimes trigger a headache. As the body responds to the perceived stressors in your life, your muscles tense, your blood flows faster, and your pulse rate increases. You may clench your jaw without even realizing it.

Each of these physiological responses can trigger the dull ache of a tension headache.

Another reason for your tension headache is how you are physically using your body most days.

Your work environment may be setting you up for chronic tension headaches. Sitting at a computer puts your head and upper body in a forward position. We tend to lean forward and look slightly downward as we work on the computer or desk work. The same goes for texting and reading on your phone.

Or maybe your work is doing some kind of repetitive task in front of you for long periods of time.

Sewing. Washing dishes. Cleaning. Landscaping. Assembly line work.

Lots of normal, everyday activities are performed “in front of us” and they can lead to muscle imbalances. They force our posture to be perpetually out of alignment.

Why does this cause a headache?

Our neck and shoulder muscles are forced to carry the load of holding our head up and that is a load designed for a properly-aligned spine to carry.

With repetition, the neck and shoulder muscles become overtaxed and a headache is triggered. Not to mention sore neck and shoulder muscles.

Other possibilities for your headaches?

Dehydration. Sensitivity to loud noises. Lack of restful sleep. And, not getting enough exercise.

Headaches result in over 157 million days per year lost from work with a societal cost of over $50 billion.

That means that your headache is no small deal. Not to your body. Not to your employer. Not for your family.

So … Why live with daily headaches when you can ease them away through simple lifestyle changes?

These changes may take some time and discipline to implement, but they can make a huge difference in your quality of life.


Exercise More

You know the drill: moving your body more helps everything.

How does it help reduce headaches? Exercise boosts endorphins and that puts you in a better mood. It increases your overall energy and stamina to tackle your day. It also helps take your mind off of the events that are stressing you out.

Your gym is closed?

Too busy to fit exercise in?

Don’t listen to those excuses.

Take a brisk walk around the block once an hour, if you can.

OR go around the block at least once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Add an extra lap each week and watch your energy level increase. Your blood flow will help all of your muscles relax and loosen up. Your headaches will decrease. And your productivity at work will also probably increase!

How else does simple walking help ease headaches?

Walking briskly builds your core muscles and that will help you sit up with excellent posture for the rest of the day. Leaning forward may have triggered your headaches to begin with, so regular walks not only help your overall health, they improve your posture and can reduce the neck tension that leads to headaches.


Get Your Sleep

Shoot for 8 hours of sleep each night. Get in bed at the same time every night so that your sleep schedule falls into a healthier sleep pattern.


Turn off that screen an hour before bed!

Use a blue light filter app to reduce the blue light that emanates from your device if you must look at your phone during the hour before bed!

Each day,

Stretch Yourself

Take regular, brief breaks from your work and stretch out your neck and shoulders for a minute or two. Set an alarm on your phone to help you build a new habit.

Deep neck flexor stretches are great for treating headaches. You can ask us at your next appointment about active care techniques and exercises that you can implement at home between appointments. Gentle, regular stretching will absolutely relax your body and promote less headaches.

In addition to stretching regularly,

Relax On Purpose

Take time every day to sit quietly and relax your entire body intentionally. When you find yourself tense or rigid, take a break and make yourself relax again from head to toe.

Make time for relaxation techniques that help you feel calm during periods of high stress. Maybe that is quiet, mindful meditation or a few yoga poses that relax you.

Finally, and importantly,

Get Chiropractic Care

At Daniels Chiropractic we can help relieve headaches by adjusting your vertebrae to their proper alignment. In our assessment we will also rule out other potential causes for your headaches.

A number of studies have shown that treatment with cervical (neck vertebrae) manipulation is effective in reducing the frequency of pain and the duration and intensity of headaches.

Keeping your spinal joints moving correctly - the goal of a chiropractic adjustment - reduces the strain on your spine and its supporting muscles. And this will lead to less headaches.

Chiropractic care also helps you relieve pent up stress in your body. It has an extremely high patient satisfaction score of over 90%.

By design it gets you feeling better quickly.

And 85% of people receiving Chiropractic adjustments for acute neck pain experienced significant improvements.

Research shows that the average chiropractic patient could cut the number of headaches in half by 8 weeks.

These are phenomenal statistics!

And, research also shows that Chiropractic care can reduce the intensity, severity, and frequency of many common headaches… all without the need for medications.

Think about that the next time you find yourself dealing with too many headaches and before you take that next pill.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Together, these five lifestyle changes, implemented over time, can greatly help reduce neck pain, headaches, and muscle tension.

Ready to take the first step?

It's time to bring an end to your throbbing head.

Begin today by implementing these 5 lifestyle changes:

  • Exercise More
  • Get Your Sleep
  • Stretch Yourself
  • Relax on Purpose


  • Chiropractic care

When is your next adjustment?

Request a visit at Daniels Chiropractic in Racine online or give us a call at 262-638-9999, and get ready to feel, move, and live better.

The Road to Recovery begins here.

Daniels Chiropractic Office

2609 Rapids Drive
Racine, WI 53404
Phone: 262.638.9999
Fax: 262.638.0742

Science Sources:

  • Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache. JMPT 2011 Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for cervicogenic headache: a single-blinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial. BMC 2017
  • US National Library of Medicine. MedLine Plus. Tension Headache. 2019
  • Spinal Manipulation, Medication, or Home Exercise with Advice for Acute and Subacute Neck Pain- A Randomized Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, Volume 156, 2012
  • Perceived Value of Spinal Manipulative Therapy and Exercise Among Seniors with Chronic Neck Pain: A Mixed Methods Study. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine. 2014
  • Evidence-Based Guidelines for the Chiropractic Treatment of Adults with Neck Pain. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. Volume 37. 2014
  • Outcomes from Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Confirmed Symptomatic Cervical Disk Herniation Patients Treated with High-Velocity, Low-Amplitude Spinal Manipulative Therapy. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2013
  • Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine: a three-armed, single-blinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial. European Journal of Neurology 2017
  • Dose-Response and Efficacy of Spinal Manipulation for Chronic Cervicogenic Headache: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial The Spine Journal. 2010 February.
  • Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for cervicogenic headache: a single-blinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial BioMed Central. 2017. 10:310
  • Do Manual Therapy Techniques Have a Positive Effect on Quality of Life in People with Tension-Type Headache? A Randomized Controlled Trial. European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. February 2016.
  • US National Library of Medicine. MedLine Plus. Tension Headache. 2019 Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for cervicogenic headache: a single-blinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial. BMC 2017