If you find yourself frequently developing a headache at work when focusing on a project, you might be straining your neck and shoulder muscles. Taking over the counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications give you temporary relief. But a visit to a chiropractor to address the injured muscles may prevent future headaches from occurring. Here is the type of help you can expect from a local chiropractic clinic in getting rid of and preventing those tension headaches.
Muscle Tension and Headaches
When concentrating for long hours on a project, you may hold your head and neck in the same position, which strains the muscles in your neck, shoulders and upper back. Repeated strain creates a number of conditions that contribute to a headache developing. For example:
- blood supply to those muscles is reduced
- small tears in the muscle fibers can develop
- muscle fibers contract and cause pain and inflammation
This muscle irritation affects the nerves that run through your neck and into your head. You experience pain and throbbing in your temples. The goal of chiropractic treatment for these headaches is to reduce the muscle tension and nerve irritation. Your chiropractor will use a combination of techniques to relax the muscles in your neck, shoulder and upper back.
Active Release Technique (ART)
When your neck and shoulder muscles are put under a constant strain, small tears occur in the muscle fibers. These tears create tough scar tissue in the muscle which further irritates it and restricts movement. The muscle fibers around the tear will contract, putting more strain on the muscle. The active release technique removes the scar tissue to allow the muscles to expand to their normal length and release the tension.
The chiropractic doctor will examine your neck and shoulder area for the tense muscles and gently massage them along their normal path of movement. Scar tissue feels warmer and more firm to your doctor's touch. They will apply pressure to those areas to break up the scar tissue as they massage the muscle. This allows the muscle to relax even more.
Myofascial Release (MR)
When muscles in your neck and shoulder have begun to contract because of repeated strain, they can stay contracted, causing a knot to develop under the skin. You may have muscle spasms in an area where the muscle is contracted. When your doctor finds a knot, they will apply constant pressure over it with their hands or a special tool. The pressure eventually causes the muscle to relax on its own without damaging the muscle fibers.
Both of the techniques relax muscles without forcing them to release their tension. Once the muscle tension is gone, the irritation of the nerves is reduced and your headaches go away.