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Treat Tension Headaches with Acupuncture

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In this article we’ll discuss tension headaches, which can be treated with acupuncture. For those who suffer from tension headaches, regular acupuncture sessions can be very helpful. Acupuncture is performed by inserting thin needles into strategic points on the body – acupuncture for tension headache pain specifically is performed similarly. 

Let’s discuss more about how Acupuncture can help with Tension Headaches.

Tension Headache Trigger Points

In a minute we’ll delve into tension headaches, but first, let’s talk about trigger points and how they cause your pain. For thousands of years in Chinese medicine these have been called Ashi points  or “oh yes” points – they’re places that cause pain upon palpation of the tissue. Trigger points are tight and tender bands in the belly of a muscle. They can appear in any muscle and cause pain directly in the muscle while also referring to other areas. Trigger points are areas where the muscle has shortened and tightened – also called contraction. The circulation in these areas is impared, causing a lack of oxygen and nutrients. It also impairs the ability to clear waste products, resulting in pain and muscle dysfunction.

Muscles do not function in isolation, so when one muscle’s function is dysfunctional it can cause a series of reactions in the chain of muscles that work together to allow or produce certain movement. So when treating your injury we are looking for a pathway of pain. Connected places in the body affected by the injury or illness.  We look for the areas of tightness causing muscle dysfunction as well as areas where there is pain. Only when both are treated can you achieve the rapid result I do with my patients, here at Acupuncture Pain and Stress Center.

Treating Tension Headaches: What are the Symptoms?

If you suffer from tension headaches with any regularity, you’re unfortunately part of a rather large club. Tension headaches, also known as myogenic headaches, are the most common type of headache you can get. Furthermore, the World Health Organization says that up to nearly ¾ of certain populations get episodic tension headaches, or tension headaches that are caused by stress and anxiety and last for a shorter period than chronic tension headaches. Tension headaches occur when muscles in the head and neck contract, creating an invisible vise-like band around the head. 

Other Symptoms of Tension Headaches

  • A dull pain in the back of the head
  • Intense pressure
  • Tightness at the forehead, behind the eyes, or at the back of the head
  • Tightness and tenderness of the neck and shoulder muscles
  • Pain can occur anywhere within the head and neck region
  • Pain varies in intensity, frequency, and duration

Episodic Tension Headaches Vs Chronic Tension Headaches

If you get tension headaches, you likely suffer with symptoms from one of these two main categories. Both categories of tension headache are considered to be caused by physical and emotional stress, anxiety, injury and other causes. That’s why these headaches are often referred to as “stress headaches.” Whether they are episodic or chronic depends on the amount of time they last. Here’s a breakdown:

Episodic Tension Headaches

  • Can last for 30 minutes to a week
  • Usually occur 2 to 3 times per month
  • Most common form of tension headache
  • Headaches occur in episodes

Chronic Tension Headaches

  • Can last for hours, continuing for long stretches of time
  • Considered chronic after lasting 15 days per month; for 3 months or more
  • Headaches occur chronically

What are the Causes of Tension Headaches?

Tension headaches can occur for a variety of reasons – not just physical and emotional stress. If you get tension headaches, you’re likely familiar with this list of common triggers:

  • Physical stress
  • Mental stress 
  • Anxiety 
  • Cold temperatures 
  • Working at a desk in an office space that does not promote proper ergonomics
  • Poor posture 
  • Eye strain
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Caffeine consumption 
  • Smoking
  • Fatigue
  • Cold, flu, sinus infection

What are the Common Medications Prescribed?

The reason many people are turning to acupuncture is that they’re sick of taking medications to get better. If you’re living with tension headaches, then you know the most common pharmaceutical medications that get prescribed are: 

  • Pain medications 
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Antidepressants

In Conclusion: How can Acupuncture Help with Tension Headaches?

Tension headaches can be extremely difficult, whether episodic or chronic. Acupuncture can help. It can help stimulate blood flow, which can help restore nerve function and improve pain points overall. Acupuncture can also help in the following ways: 

  1. It stimulates the nervous system, which can help relieve pain and muscular tension. 
  2. It helps produce pain-relieving chemicals in the brain. 
  3. It releases hormones in the brain called neurotransmitters, which can help with pain and muscular tension. 
  4. It triggers electromagnetic impulses that can release endorphins in the body. 
  5. Acupuncture can help with the symptoms that are causing the headaches, by soothing the body’s stress response.

Where can I treat Tension Headaches with Acupuncture in Raleigh, North Carolina?

Whether chronic or episodic, tension headaches are a condition that can be treated with acupuncture. Acupuncture can also help with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, bursitis, muscle cramps, hip pain, and more. If you’re searching for a qualified Acupuncturist to help with your back pain in Raleigh, North Carolina, you’ll want to find someone with experience, qualifications, and compassion. Look no further than Acupuncture Pain and Stress Center. Our goal since 2010 has been to provide quality and compassionate acupuncture in Raleigh, NC and the surrounding areas.

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Acupuncture Pain and Stress Center for all of your Acupuncture needs

Hi, I’m Jim Eleczko, the founder of Acupuncture Pain and Stress Center and it’s my mission to provide you with compassionate, whole-person care using holistic treatments, including Acupuncture and topical herbal medicine. I’m a board-certified and licensed Acupuncturist practicing since 2010 in Raleigh, North Carolina. I love that I get to wake up every day to make meaningful changes in my patient’s lives. I’ve seen first hand the changes that Acupuncture can make. As a teen I suffered from allergies and my father suggested that I try Acupuncture to calm the symptoms. It worked – and left a lasting impression on me! Now I offer Acupuncture and other treatments to help people with a variety of issues, including anxiety, migraines, fibromyalgia, and more. Our other treatments include Dry Needling, Tuina Massage, Guasha, Cupping, Stretching, Orthopedic Movements, Electroacupuncture and Therapeutic Exercises. 

Here’s a bit more about me and my qualifications: I studied the 4-year program at Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine and continue to travel multiple times a year to study with my mentor, Andrew Nugent-Head. I also studied under Dr. Ed Garbacz, M.D. LAc and spent a year working and studying under Dr. Bonnie Walker, M.D. LAc. I have also done extensive post-graduate studies in acupuncture, nutrition, herbal medicine from lectures of acupuncturists like Dr. Nguyen Van Nghi, Dr. Tran Viet Dzung, Matt Callison, and Edward Obaidey. 

Get in touch with me by calling (919) 260-4104. I’d be happy to answer your questions and get you booked for an appointment today!