Tuesday 6th February 2018

Relief From Chronic Tension Type Headaches


The most common type of headache is the chronic tension type. The most common cause is said to be “trigger points” in the muscles of the head and neck.  These are the tender lumps within tight bands of muscles that masseurs love to find.   Researchers examined patients with chronic tension headaches for these trigger points in these muscles, then treated these trigger points using pressure and stretching techniques.  Just over half of the patients had complete relief from their headaches.

Clinical comments

Trigger points should be considered, but usually are not

The research shows that a substantial number of chronic tension headaches are caused by trigger points. Therefore, investigation of these headaches should include examinatiion for trigger points and treatment will likely include some form of trigger point therapy. Unfortunately to often this does not happen.

What does happen

As a side issue, the researchers found that every patient they found for the trial had been prescribed and were on antidepressant drugs, but or course still had regular headaches.  This demonstrates a major reason these research summaries are written.  It could be argued that the prescription of anti-depressant drugs was not appropriate and the real reason for the headaches had been overlooked. 

The treatment of trigger points

As shown elsewhere, the treatment of trigger points can require a course of many applications of therapy over time, which can be expensive and time consuming, possibly making it unpractical and un-affordable for many people.  With the view to making this more practical and affordable the DrGraeme massagers were developed as a serious but easy to use hand held massager able to be used at home under professional advice.  This allows practically unlimited massage (trigger point therapy). 

If you have headaches they should be diagnosed by a qualified heath care professional.  However, as shown by this research a common cause is often overlooked and inappropriate drugs prescribed. Given this, an option would be to download a copy of the practitioner version of this research summary using the following link and discuss it with your health care provider. Download

More information

For more detailed information and references please see the practitioner version of this article.

Future articles and sharing

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About Dr Graeme

Several years ago Dr Graeme, a Chiropractor practicing in Victoria, Australia was looking for a serious hand held massager his patients could use at home to get the extra quality massage they needed. The ones he found in the shops and on-line for home use looked nice but were not serious, and ... read more