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Tension Headaches

A Tension Headache is caused by a tightening of the muscles in the upper back, neck and head, and is the most common of all the various headache types. Many people cite stress as an important headache trigger. Feelings of stress or anxiety instruct the nervous system to initiate the ‘fight or flight’ response, which is characterised by shallow breathing, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and increased muscle tension. Physiotherapy can help manage and reduce the intensity and frequency of headaches.


It is estimated that 50% of people experience tension type headaches. They are more common in women than men and are often seen in teenagers. Symptoms include a constant ache that affects both sides of the head, stiffness in the muscles surrounding the neck and/ or shoulders and often people report a pressure behind the eyes. The exact cause of tension type headaches isn’t clear but certain triggers have been identified.

  • Stress

  • Anxiety

  • Poor posture

  • Dehydration

  • Lack of sleep

  • Noise

  • Bright sunlight


Physiotherapists can successfully treat headaches using specialised techniques to decrease stiffness and inflammation in the spinal joints of your neck. These techniques include heat, joint mobilisation (a safe and gentle form of manipulation), soft tissue massage, stretching and strengthening exercises to improve muscular imbalance, and postural assessment and dysfunction correction.

Acupuncture may also help to relieve your symptoms. Our specialist Acupuncturists can advise and treat this problematic condition.

For a host of related topics and stories see our blog postings.

Our Expertise

Our Physiotherapists have a great deal of specific clinical experience in the management of tension type headaches.

Initially, our chartered physiotherapists will carry out a thorough assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to help relieve your symptoms.

Our highly skilled Physiotherapists will use a variety of evidence based therapies and treatments to help reduce your pain and improve your quality of life.

All of our Chartered Physiotherapists are university trained and they are all fully insured so you know that you and your head are in safe hands.

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