The most common headache is said to be the chronic tension type. In a study of this type of headache 31 subjects were examined for myofascial trigger points (MTPs) in their cervical, upper trapezius, temporalis and frontalis muscles. The MTPs were then treated using ischaemic compression and stretching. This provided a dramatic average improvement, with 52% of subjects gaining complete relief.
According to the background research presented by this study Chronic Tension Type Headaches are the most common headaches, and scientific studies strongly implicate MTPs as a cause. To test this the researchers used 31 subjects. All had experienced at least three days with headaches per week for the past four weeks. They were treated using ischaemic compression and stretching as a trigger point therapy.
Short term following treatment the average intensity of headaches improved from 7.28 to 1.65 as measured on a visual analogue scale. 52% obtained complete (short term) relief.
Following treatment for trigger points the reduction in average headache intensity was dramatic, with 52% gaining complete relief. This is strong evidence that trigger points are a major cause of these headaches. However, every subject the researchers could find had been prescribed and were still taking anti-depressant medication. This is seriously wrong.
Half of the subjects gained complete relief. What other causative factors are there for the other half? The author suggested without giving a reason that the major other cause may be psychological. This is very strange considering they were all on anti-depressant drugs and were still suffering headaches. Most chiropractors would include cervical joint dysfunction as well and the presence of MTPs in their examinations. However, this can be the subject of another research summary.
The treatment of trigger points
The relief of the headaches was measured shortly after the application of therapy. The treatment of trigger points is covered in more detail elsewhere on this website. However, they have been shown to require a great many applications of therapy over time, then probably require on-going maintenance. The tremendous time and cost involved by having this done exclusively by therapists makes this impractical for most patients. The DrGraeme serious hand held massagers for home use are able to be used by patients under professional advice to provide practically unlimited quality massage, making the treatment of MTPs more practical.
Anand Doraisamy, Magesh & prem kumar & Anshul, Charles & Chandran, Gnanamuthu. (2010). Chronic Tension Type Headache and the Impact of Myofascial Trigger Point Release in the Short Term Relief of Headache. Global Journal of Health Science. 2. . 10.5539/gjhs.v2n2p238.