Tensions existing more on one side than the other create headaches more on one side than the other; tension near the base of the head in back may cause pain in the temples, forehead, or eyes; tension at the base of the skull behind the nasal cavity and in the back of the throat causes sinus headaches. In all cases, the sensation of heightened muscular tension is experienced as a headache.
As muscles relax and this tension eases, the tension headache decreases in size and intensity, then fades out.
Sinus headaches are linked to the musculature that lines the front of the neck vertebrae (back of the throat). This musculature affects tensions of the lining of the throat, which passes behind the nasal cavity. Excessive tension, there, prevents normal sinus drainage.
Once throat tension is alleviated, sinus drainage has consistently been observed to begin immediately. Facial pain and sinus headaches end.
Migraine headaches occur as muscles at the sides of the neck get excessively tense. While no conclusive theoretical explanation exists as to why alleviating that tension ends migraine headaches, that fact has consistently been observed.
One possible explanation for migraine headaches is that the major blood vessels that go into and come from the head pass under and around those muscles. Within those blood vessels are pressure-sensors (baroreceptors) that enable the brain to regulate the blood pressure of the head. When the overlying muscles of the neck contract, they squeeze these blood vessels; the resulting change in blood flow affects the pressure sensors, causing abnormal regulation of blood pressure in the brain. That is, as I say, one possible explanation.
While medical researchers know something about the immediate preconditions for migraine headaches, they are still uncertain about the underlying causes. What can be said with certainty is that as the tension of the deep musculature of the neck eases, relief occurs; migraine headaches occur less often, with less intensity, and often cease altogether.
An injury, such as a whiplash injury from a vehicle accident or a fall, prompts us to tighten up the neck muscles to protect ourselves from the sudden extreme movement that threatens our neck. In a person who already has some neck tension from stress, such an event can lead to a long-term increase of neck tension. Headaches, dizziness and other symptoms not obviously related to the injury typically result. Even after tissue healing (if there has been damage), the muscular tension sometimes persists, and so do the headaches. Misdiagnoses of torn or stretched ligaments are fairly common. (We know they are misdiagnoses when, by virtue of sessions of somatic education, headaches quickly end; somatics does not heal torn ligaments, and ligaments take a very long time to heal.)
Drugs and manipulative therapies do not usually aid the person in ending their protective reaction; the tension remains or returns, as you have probably observed. That's why relief is so often temporary (drugs) and the course of treatment so long (manipulative therapies).
Drugs for headaches work three general ways:
- by interfering with the body's ability to sense pain
- by reducing muscular tension
- by changing blood flow patterns in the head
CLINICAL SOMATIC EDUCATION
Both tension headaches and migraine headaches fall within the scope of clinical somatic education.
Hanna Somatic Education, a clinical method used to resolve chronic musculo-skeletal disorders, is a non-invasive approach that uses the nervous system's capacity to learn new muscular control. This learning-based approach fairly rapidly ends involuntary muscular tensions, relieving the pressure that induce both tension headaches and migraine headaches. More about the technical side of Hanna Somatic Education can be found in the article, (CLICK HERE) "Pain Relief through Movement Education" (sensory-motor integration) -- Explaining Hanna Somatic Education®, reprinted from the American Journal of Pain Management (January, 1996, Vol. 6, no. 1, pg. 30) and the Therapeutic Specialist's Quarterly Report (summer, 1997, Vol. II, Issue VI, pg. 2).
Somatic education ends both types of headache by addressing the underlying condition: habitually heightened muscular tension. One of the major brain functions is to control muscular tension; somatic education modifies brain functioning so that the brain normalizes muscular tensions. No more pressure on nerves, no more circulatory imbalance, no more pain.
At the hands of an proficient somatic educator, a tension headache can be cleared up in ten to twenty minutes. One or more sessions produce an improvement that lasts into the future. Migraine headaches commonly require two to four clinical sessions to produce the desired changes.
In my own practice as a Hanna Somatic Educator, I have worked with many individuals with migraine, tension, and sinus headaches and obtained successful long-term relief with all but one person.
"I had one [migraine] headache [after last week's session] that lasted half a day. Usually, it would have lasted three days. I'm so excited, I can't wait to see what happens next."
Gayle Bothan, somatics client
(no longer has headaches after four sessions)
There are about four hundred Hanna Somatic Educators spread throughout the world. (LIST).
For further contact, please click the "envelope" mail icon at the bottom of this entry.