Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common types of headaches that we see clinically at Poke Acupuncture. The main factors associated with tension headaches are often postural and/or emotional in nature, specifically: the modern “head-forward and shoulders rolled-forward” posture and a tense, uptight or stressed emotional state.

Even though emotional tension can be held anywhere in the body, many individuals tend to carry it in the muscles of the neck and shoulders. 


When poor posture and/or emotional tension are the culprits of muscular tension in the neck and shoulders, little painful knots called “trigger points” can develop in these muscles. Trigger points in the muscles of the neck and shoulders can refer pain to different areas of the head when they become activated. 

Trigger points found in the big muscles at the base of the neck (the Upper Trapezius or ‘Upper Traps’) can cause severe tension headaches on one side of the head and can be accompanied by nausea and neck pain. These headaches are often mistaken for migraines. 

When the head and neck are held in a sustained head-forward posture, trigger points can develop in the SCM muscles found at the front of the neck.Trigger points in these muscles can result in tension headaches that are felt in the forehead or above the eye.

The approach to tension headaches by one of our acupuncturists may include:

  • Using acupuncture to help encourage the release of tight or overloaded muscles of the shoulders, neck and head.

  • Assisting in stress management if needed. 

  • Assisting in correcting poor posture with exercises, stretches and taping. 

To book an appointment or a free 15 minute assessment please click here

Ryan Samuels
Registered Acupuncturist & Chinese Medicine Herbalist 

Legge, David, Close To The Bone: The treatment of painful musculoskeletal disorders with acupuncture and other forms of Chinese medicine (Sydney college press, 3rd ed,2011)
Simons, David, Janet Travell and Lois Simons, Myofascial Pain and dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, Volume 1  (Williams and Wilkins, 2nd ed, 1999)

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