What Causes Tension Headaches?

Tension Headaches, what causes them?

Tension headaches, are the most common types of headaches, affecting almost everyone at some point in life. With pain and tightness ranging from the neck, back, eyes and muscle groups in the face, the symptoms from a tension headache can vary from mild to severe.
On average, tension headache lasts between four to six hours, however, if severe can last for a few days. If you notice a tension headache for more than 6 hours, please visit your practitioner. A tension headache usually produces bilateral pain that is uniformly distributed on both sides of the head. A person with a tension headache often feels that his head is constantly under pressure as if it is being squeezed. Although these types of headaches usually do not interfere with one’s life, they can be quite debilitating.
Below, we will check out the major causes of tension headaches.

Causes of tension headaches.

• High-level stress

Tension headaches can be triggered by mental, emotional and physical stress. Today, the most common sources of stress typically come from the workplace, education, family, relationship, and financial problems. A tension headache can also be stimulated by isolated stressful situations or stress accumulation. Getting stressed regularly can build up to cause chronic tension headaches.

• Sleep Habits

If you sleep in a bad position, your back muscles will tighten, causing tension in the spine that can also cause headaches as well as neck pain. If you feel a slight headache after your night’s sleep, you might want to know if it is the back or neck that causes this pain.

• Inappropriate sitting position

Though different things may lead to tension headaches, most patients do one common thing: incorrect sitting posture while sitting at a desk or in a car. If you unconsciously contract the muscles of your neck due to inappropriate sitting habits, it may cause tension headaches. At Spine & Health, we can educate you on the best sitting posture with our Sitting, Sleeping workshop.

• Eye strain

Eye strain is as a result of stressing the eye muscles to get better focus. The eyes consist of many small muscles that help them move and lengthen or shorten the lenses. If the small eye muscles are working too hard, this situation can cause eye strain. Eye strain can ultimately lead to a tension headache. To prevent tension headaches caused by eye strain, you need to know how to avoid or reduce eye strain.
If you notice the symptoms of persistent tension headache, then you should consider visiting your healthcare practitioner.

Chiropractic may be the solution to help elevate your tension headaches.
If you would like to consult one of our chiropractors in North Sydney or Crows Nest you can make an appointment by calling 9460 8459 or 9955 8055.

What can poor posture do?

A landmark study has shown that spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse rate and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture. [1]

Posture 1 Posture 2


The degree of forward head posture directly correlates with headache duration, headache frequency and presence of trigger points in the muscles at the base of your skull. So every inch that your head comes back will be less headaches. That’s a weight off my mind!! (Pun completely intended)[2]



Poor posture effects the nerve endings in the muscles of your neck which fire up and can stimulate the part of your nervous system that controls the heart and lungs. Not to mention that poor posture can dramatically reduce your lung capacity! [3]

Before Ben After Ben

Our Posture Experts at Spine and Health in North Sydney or Crows Nest can fix your posture so you experience less pain, improved health, better breathing and increased energy.  When your spine is in proper alignment, your entire body can benefit from better overall health and allow you to be the best you can be!

Contact our Chiropractors at Spine and Health, they are the experts in pain and posture. The chiro’s will conduct a thorough examination including a digital postural analysis and create an individual plan of action for you should they feel chiropractic care can help you and your posture.



[1] Postural and Respiratory Modulation of Autonomic Function, Pain, and Health. Lennon J, Shealy C, Cady R, Matta W, Cox R, Simpson W. AJPM (American Journal of Pain Management) 1994; 4:36-39.

[2] Trigger points in the suboccipital muscles and forward head posture in tension-type headache. Headache. 2006 Mar; 46 (3): 454-60. Fernandez-de-las-Penas C, Alonso-Blanco C, Cuadrado ML, Gerwin RD, ParejaJA.Department of Physical Therapy, University Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain

[3] The Neurochemically Diverse Intermedius Nucleus of the Medulla as a Source of Excitatory and Inhibitory Synaptic Input to the Nucleus TractusSolitarii.  Ian J. Edwards, Mark L. Dallas, Sarah L. Poole, Carol J. Milligan, YuchioYanagawa, GáborSzabó, FerencErdélyi, Susan A. Deuchars, and Jim Deuchars. The Journal of Neuroscience, August 1, 2007, 27 (31): 8324-8333.

Setting Up Your Office Space for Improved Posture

Improve your posture while you work! An ergonomically set up work station can dramatically help improve your posture so that you can work effectively and pain free.

If you work in an office setting, you probably spend a lot of time sitting behind a desk in front of your computer. This constant sitting can often result in slouching and poor posture. While it may not appear to be unhealthy, this can actually lead to several problems including tense muscles, pinched nerves and even carpel tunnel syndrome.

To prevent these injuries and problems, it is very important to make sure that your office space is set up to help improve your posture and keep you injury free. Here are a few ergonomic tips and suggestions that will help you set up your office space for improved posture.

Along with the following ergonomic tips and suggestions, consider contacting the Posture Experts at Spine and Health in North Sydney or Crows Nest for a posture assessment. We can fix your posture so that you can work effectively and without pain.

  1. Be Aware of How You Sit

Pull your chair in so you can sit as close to your desk as possible, and make sure your upper arms are parallel to your spine. Also, when your hands are placed on your work surface, your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle. Your legs should be bent at the knees and your feet should sit flat on the floor. If possible, try to get up and stretch often. Avoid sitting at the edge of your seat, as this can place unnecessary stress on the lumbar discs. Sit as far back in your chair as possible.

  1. Mouse and Keyboard Placement

It may sound very simple, but the placement of your mouse and keyboard is very crucial in giving you a healthy working environment. The alphanumeric area of your keyboard should be kept centered on your desk so that the “B” key is directly in front of you. Also, the mouse should be kept at the same height and as close to the keyboard as possible so that you do not need to bend your wrists when typing. If your desk has a keyboard tray, make sure your mouse is on the tray with your keyboard.

  1. Monitor Placement

The placement of your monitor is another important factor in setting up a posture friendly workspace. Your eye level should be about three inches down from the top of the monitor casing. Most monitors allow for only minimal adjusting, so you may want to invest in or make your own monitor stand. Your monitor should be about an arm’s length away from you while you are working with no glare. You may need to adjust your lighting to minimize glare or tilt your computer slightly up or down.

A few of these ergonomic changes in and around your workspace can go a long way in improving your posture and preventing muscle strain or injury. It is very important to always be mindful of your posture so that you will be able to benefit from your properly set-up workspace. Avoid slouching, keep your elbows close to your body, and try to take breaks when possible. This is incredibly important if you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk during the day.

As well as this, consider posture therapy with one of our chiropractors at North Sydney and Crows Nest Spine and Health to greatly reduce your chances of muscle strain and injury and more serious conditions such as arthritis and disc degeneration.