View Full Version : Need help with tension headaches
11-04-2004, 08:57 AM
Within the past few years I have been suffering from severe tension headaches. It usually comes in the morning when I wake up. Usually when I have worked out hard the night before. The pain starts in the right trap muscle then up the neck, then it totally envelopes the muscles around the head. I even get sick at my stomach. The only thing that I have found that helps is caffeine and sleep. If anybody can give me some preventive tips, they would be much appreciated. Thanks
11-04-2004, 09:36 AM
Have you tried doing Warrior Wellness or Bodyflow before bed? It may be a simple matter of releasing more of your post-workout tension.
However, your diet may be a factor here. An imbalance of certain minerals can lead to increased muscular tension that can't be fully released until the imbalance is corrected.
How long have you been suffering from these tension headaches? Do you recall if there was an incident preceding the first one? Do you think your work might be contributing to this? Have you sought treatment for this or consulted with a health professional of some sort?
11-04-2004, 09:46 AM
Hah - tension headaches and their causes were my reasearch project for Biostatistic a few years ago.
I'll see if I can't dig up what I wrote then. I didn't flunk that part of the course at least, so it must have been ok :lol:
11-04-2004, 09:57 AM
Hi Scott. Some more starter ideas in addition to Jason's. Caffeine relieves it? When you wake up, your caffeine quota is as low as it gets. You may be sensitive to this swing. Try moderating caffeine intake, especially if you'd consider your consumption 'generous'. Any neck articulation issues? Do a lot of computing, where your head and neck are held at fixed angles for prolonged times? That generates fatigue along cardinal lines (front/back, left/right, up/down) which releases with circular motion (WW) of the neck and shoulder girdle. Are your workouts freeweights? That also generates cardinal fatigue if done in isolated arcs. Repeating what Jason said, explore nutritional adequacy/supplementation, and don't overlook the possibility of a medical condition requiring professional consultation.
11-04-2004, 09:13 PM
There are quite a few things that could be going on with you.
The differential diagnosis for headache is quite extensive.
Can I ask you for a more detailed history?
How long has this been going on? The exact nature of your pain? (pounding, sharp, throbbing, achy, dull...) Do you have any adverse reactions to audio or visual stimuli?
Off the top of my head there could be:
Upper cervical joint dysfunction.
Upper shoulder girdle (particularly levator scapulae muscle) muscle dysfunction.
Upper thoracic joint dysfunction.
Trigeminal nerve lesion.
Any history of migraine or headache in your family?
Any detail would be helpful. Have you sought medical attention previously?
11-05-2004, 07:14 AM
Thanks for all your responses. I will try to answer your your questions regarding these headaches.
1.) Warrior Wellness before bed? Not yet. 2.) Diet? My diet is not real good right now. 3.) How long? I have been having them for about 3-4 years. 4.) Events that might have initially caused this? unkonwn. 5.) Existing medical condition- As a child I was diagnosed as having a very slight irregular curvurtue of the spine. 6.) Occupation- I am a police officer and I am driving in a cruiser 8-10 hrs a day. 7.) Medical Consultation- Yes, My father is a Doctor of Osteopathic medicine and he advised that this is a tension headache which then turns into a vascular headache. 8.) Workouts- consist of Clubbells, Kettlebell and Martial Arts. 9.) Pain Type- Starts as a dull pain in the neck and trap, then envelopes the head with a throbbing pain. 10.) Adverse reactions- I get sick at my stomach and feel totally wiped out. Audio and visual stimuli doesnt seem to be a problem most of the time.
PS. JasonE- have you had any luck designing me a good workout routine?
11-06-2004, 12:36 PM
PS. JasonE- have you had any luck designing me a good workout routine?
I was about to post one, but I saw this first and want to see more before I get you started. The more you tell us, the more I feel that this program is not appropriate until you've cleaned the slate a bit. It's apparent that these headaches are affecting your quality of life and probably impact your ability to perform in work and other situations at times.
It would be irresponsible for me to propose a program that is contraindicated by your symptoms. I want you to get better, not worse! :wink:
While the medical professionals consider the new info you've provided, I'm going to restrict myself to suggesting that you explore the following:
:arrow: Warrior Wellness, ending at least 30 minutes before bed, especially on workout days or high-activity work days. Warrior Wellness before work or on work breaks as you can.
:arrow: Reduce/eliminate caffeine consumption. Heresy, I know, but you don't need muscle stimulants mucking you up right now.
:arrow: Increase water consumption, at least 1-1/2 to 2 liters daily.
:arrow: Consider taking a multi-mineral supplement that does not include iron. This may help offset some possible mineral imbalances in your system and allow your muscles to relax more easily and completely.
I believe that it would be useful to have you perform some Bodyflow movements such as the Arm Screw, Spinal Rocks, and Scorpion and report back with sticking points or other sensations. The health pros may have some additional thoughts on this.
Do consider having a professional bodywork specialist check you out. They may be able to treat you effectively with the techniques they specialize in. Don't hold strictly to your dad's diagnoses if they feel there is another cause at fault after examining you.
11-06-2004, 03:17 PM
It means a great deal to many people how generous you are with your time and knowledge of CST here at the Tribe. Thank you, my friend.
11-07-2004, 12:41 AM
Scott, Have you been checked by a dentist for bruxism? (grinding your teeth at night) I wear a night guard to prevent damage to my teeth. It is very similar to a mouth guard for contact sports, it provides a cusion and does some pressure dispersment. My dentist told me there are two major ideas as to why the grinding occures, misaligned teeth and or emotional pressure. I was starting to get into body flow about 18 months ago until I broke my clavicle, I am strarting back up slowly. From the little time I have been able to try fear reactivity / tension release RMAX training I think it does help. I have less stiffness in my upper cervicle to the top of my head in the mornings. I think pain in my traps is from rehab and not doing anything for eighteen months.
Good health to you!
11-09-2004, 07:51 PM
Jason, I second what Coach Sonnon said, thanks for your time and knowledge. I will follow your suggestions. Another thing I forgot to mention is that I noticed that I tend to "favor" my right shoulder. Meaning that subconsiously my right should pulls up. I noticed this while looking at some photos of myself and realised this was occuring, I wonder if the constant tensing of the trap is the cause of this headaches? Also, While I am cleaning the slate, what type of workout should I do with CB's and Kb's? Thanks in advance.
11-09-2004, 10:57 PM
Scott, I'm rethinking some options for you.
Couple of questions:
Do you have the Bodyflow book or videos? How about Be Breathed?
When you do Warrior Wellness, are you working Beginner or Intermediate, or a combination of both?
Occupation- I am a police officer and I am driving in a cruiser 8-10 hrs a day.
While patrolling, do you...
:arrow: tend to drive with your right hand only?
:arrow: tend to lean towards your left side while patrolling?
:arrow: tend to slouch, hips forward on the seat, while patrolling?
11-10-2004, 05:26 PM
I am ordering warrior wellness (beginner) tomorrow. I do not have any body flow products. As far as your questions the only one I can answer yes to is that I do drive with my right hand and I feel my right shoulder hiked up. Thanks again Jason. Much appreciated.
11-17-2004, 11:41 AM
JasonE, I ordered Warrior Wellness. I have been doing some joint mobility drills to hold me off til i get Warrior Wellness. Thanks
11-17-2004, 04:42 PM
Just catching up with this string, and if you don't mind another idea - in addition to the great advice you've gotten already - have you tried massage, specifically with someone who specializes in myofascial release?
(Read Scott's great description in his post on his recent injury/recovery if you get the chance - he has a great way of explaining fascia & all those connections.)
I had a long history of tension/sinus/migraine headaches and began to regularly visit a massage therapist, Rachel, five or six years ago who does mostly myofascial work - before I discovered Warrior Wellness. Initially, I went once a week, then twice a month. At first I would come out of there wasted, sometimes would be sore & have a slight headache the next day, which was odd because Rachel seemed to be doing nothing in particular most of the session, but after some months, I noticed that not only was the walnut-like knot of tension gone from between my shoulder blades after it had been there for years, I was having fewer headaches.
My "control" was a co-worker who always came to my desk for aspirin. We frequently had headaches at the same time especially when there were weather changes - that was the sinus headache part, and nowadays, I keep the aspirin mostly for him (ex-hospital security guard - he was shot at work & they had to leave most of the bullets in his head).
At this point, I didn't even care so much about the headaches - I was hooked on massage - myofascial work is much different than regular massage & sometimes it felt like the best night's sleep all week would be the hour on the massage table. I've come out of there literally feeling like my immune system just got a huge boost.
Then when I began with Warrior Wellness a couple years ago, it all fit so wonderfully together! I think the only reason I could even begin some of the neck exercises is the work Rachel had already done. I still get a few headaches (in fact an incipient migraine at the Softwork Seminar kept me out of the action on Saturday afternoon) but with much less frequency & severity & sometimes I can "cure" them just doing to neck & shoulder exercises, without touching the aspirin.
Massage isn't especially cheap, & can be hard to fit in your schedule, but I remain convinced that, working in a physically & mentally stressful job, it's one of the biggest favors you can do yourself.
11-17-2004, 06:06 PM
I am glad to hear you plan to get started with Warrior Wellness. While there's probably more to it (see above :wink:), I'm betting that the way you sit in the patrol car is exacerbating your situation.
Case in point: me (before finding RMAX). I work a desk job. Instead of leaning my left arm on the car door, it's on the arm rest of my chair. Instead of steering a car with my right hand, I'm working a mouse. Instead of sitting upright, I tend to slouch a bit to the left, putting weight on the left elbow, forcing my hips and low back to slouch and my right shoulder/traps to tighten up. Though tighter, my right side still has to remain mobile and make fine adjustments for hours on end. Since I already had some issues from prior hip, back, and elbow injuries, this working position just killed me with progressively increasing chronic pain. :(
By working with Warrior Wellness on a daily basis (usually in the morning and again about an hour before bed), I was able to resolve much of the excess tension stored up from my bad habits. As I did so, I gradually found myself preferring to sit more upright and work more ergonomically. My sleep improved and the chronic pain disappeared.
I've never had the type of debilitating headaches you've been getting, so your issues and my old ones may not resolve in the same amount of time or the exact same way. However, your Warrior Wellness practice will be a big step forward.
Once you've worked with the Basic tape for about 2 weeks, I'd like you to look for a specific movement on the Intermediate tape and include it with your Basic practice sessions. The movement is known as the Arm Screw in Bodyflow... it's a shoulder movement that starts with the arms straight out to the sides. You roll one shoulder forward and down while reaching both arms to the far walls, then switch to the other side. Terrible description here, but enough to recognize it on the tape. It's a very nice movement for getting at some of the deeper tension.
For CB and KB work, I'd like you to focus on a modest ROM-oriented program. No Turkish Get-ups for you! :P
Clubbell exercises to pick from: Swings, Circles, Parry Casts, Armpit Casts.
KB exercises: Swings, basic Cleans.
For right now, I'd like you to stay away from pressing movements and shock absorption, with the sole exception of KB Cleans. You won't have a fancy program, but you will have a solid one. :)
If you keep a Program Log on the forums, that will help us keep an eye on your progress. Happy Training!
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