Tension Headaches

Tension Headaches are headaches with muscular origin and are associated with tight muscles and trigger points. Headaches are divided into primary and secondary conditions.

Primary Headaches
Those in which the headache is the condition, such as a migraine.

Secondary Headaches
The result of an underlying condition condition such as head trauma or hypertension.


It is estimated that 63% of men and 86% of women experience tension headaches. The symptoms include:

  • Bilateral, diffuse, and constant pain which may be dull or vicelike.
  • Onset of headaches is usually later in the day after latent trigger points activate.
  • Duration of symptoms vary from 30 minutes to weeks.
  • Muscle tenderness and stiffness may be felt in the muscles in the neck and a loss of appetite may be experienced.


Tension headaches are usually caused by trigger points in muscles of the head and neck. Predisposing factors include:

  • Trauma, fatigue, chilling the muscle, emotional stress and muscle overloading.
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Postural imbalances such as hyperkyphosis, scoliosis or forward head posture.
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

How can Massage Therapy help?

Massage Therapists have many tools for treating trigger points and tight muscles causing tension headaches. 30 minute treatments on a regular basis are usually enough to keep tension headaches at bay.