Real Solutions for Tension Headache Relief
About six years ago I was diagnosed with tension headaches. The diagnosis was one thing. It was a place to start. Getting relief from tension headaches was an entirely different journey altogether.
I don’t want to keep you waiting (because it’s one of my pet peeves). So, I’ll tell you right away that the Rezzimax Tuner Pro proved to be an extremely useful tool for me on the path to resolution. But the road to relief wasn’t always paved with yellow bricks.
I Went In for Dizziness and Head Pain
I had read and discovered that the most common symptoms of dizziness were caused by issues with the ears and the vestibular system. Aside from a lot of pain in my face and head, dizziness was a chief concern because it was becoming difficult to impossible for me to drive a car.
And no, you don’t have to be experiencing dizziness like I was to have what is classified as a tension headache. This was just something that I was experiencing at the time as a topline symptom.
So, I found a hearing and balance center in the city where I live that was comprised of ear nose and throat practitioners (ENTs). I showed up to my appointment and completed a 4 hour hearing and balance test.
They would ask, “So, Michael when you’re experiencing these episodes, does it feel like the room is spinning?” To which my standard reply was, “No, it feels like I’m on a boat.” That feeling and description would later lead me to use the term, “Vertigo”, in place of “Dizziness”. Nonetheless, I don’t like to get caught up in semantics and I’ll do my best not to bore you with the nitty grittiness of all this.
The grueling four hour tests had finally come to an end. My insurance company was about to be very upset and the hearing and balance center was about record another lucrative day on the books.
My dad, slumped over and exhausted from the wait, sat forward and attentive when the nurse read the results to us on the spot afterwards. The verdict? Tension Headaches. Fantastic, Yippee… a diagnosis! I was hitting the ceiling! So now what?
What are TTH and Why are they Different?
Tension Headaches are also referred to in some circles by an acronym (the medical community loves acronyms), TTR, or Tension Type Headache. And if you were to go a bit more granular, there are certain criteria that may plop yours into a classification bucket of either chronic or non-chronic.
These criteria are frequently broken down into things like: episodes per month, and how long each headache lasts in duration. Your answers to those questions might help a practitioner determine whether or not your headaches are chronic.
But from a more practical standpoint, let’s just say that whether yours are technically defined as chronic or not, they’re not fun. They’re painfully debilitating and I feel for you.
Oh by the way, here’s a tidbit you may’ve not known: Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. Not migraines? That’s right. The good ol’ tension headache comes in number one!
According to MedlinePlus, there are four main types of headache:
You may be thinking, “Headache Schmedache, they’re all the same.” But I suppose, one obvious distinction, if it really matters, is that neck and head movements seem to trigger pain and symptoms in folks with Tension Type Headaches. Whereas smells and the feelings of being hungry may trigger symptoms in individuals with Migraine Headaches. Sinus headaches, as you might’ve guessed, are of course, associated with inflammation of the sinus cavities normally focused in those regions of the face. And finally, cluster headaches are typically recurrent, severe and surround one eye.
But then there’s “Mixed” headaches and that really muddies the waters even further. For me, and perhaps this may help you as well, I like to think of tension headaches to be associated purely to muscles. Now, when and where those muscles didn’t get the memo of relaxing and being happy, I’ll leave that one up to the professionals.
Signs and Symptoms
I was exhibiting most of the classic tension headache signs and symptoms that included:
• Tender Scalp
• Dull Pain Behind the Eyes
• General Tightness around the entire head
• Head feeling like it’s in a torturous medieval vise clamp
• Sensitivity to Light and Sound
Tension Headaches are caused by overactive muscles in the neck, face and head. This may be due to a myriad of things like:
• Laughing, smiling, crying, or chewing too long
• Excess strain on the eyes (the surrounding muscles aren’t able to rest properly)
• Holding the phone to your ear for too long in the same position
• Misalignment of the teeth, also known as Malocclusion
• Sleeping in an unnatural or contorted position
• Lack of sleep
• Misalignment of the Upper Cervical Vertebrae
• Imbalance in electrolytes
• Or any combination of the above
Tension Headaches and Myofascial Pain SyndromeOn a whim and a “why not”, I began researching Myofascial Syndrome. I hit on this subject because a dentist unofficially diagnosed me with it about a year before. At the time of diagnosis I thought nothing of it really. “Oh here we go, another syndrome” I said to myself. The word, “syndrome”, in my mind, was more or less synonymous with a number of symptoms that were merely diagnosable in a set, complex or a matrix.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome or MPS, is a chronic pain condition whereas the fascia or out-layering cover of a muscle becomes chronically inflamed and occasionally produces a knot, more commonly referred to as a “trigger point”. This may occur when a muscle is chronically contracting without sufficient rest or downtime between contractions.
“Syndrome” was the place where untreatable ailments went to be forgotten in my mind. Tension Headache was a diagnosis based upon a symptom complex, much like the bulleted list of symptoms I mentioned earlier. But these symptoms, even grouped so neatly into a matrix, said nothing of a real earnest to goodness Solution to the problem. I still had tension headaches in other words.
A lot of folks get excited when they have an official diagnosis. Not me, I was the star cowboy in that rodeo too many times before. No, I was seeking relief. Don’t get me wrong, a diagnosis can be a great starting point.
Properly identifying a medical condition is vitally important. But once a correct diagnosis has been stated, I say, “Let’s get to work”. Let’s put what we now know into action and focus our thoughts and efforts on correcting the problem.
Please Don’t Give Me Another Pill
I’d been to about 25 Doctors seeking an answer to this issue. Their go-to default solution was more pills; over-the-counter pain relievers, muscle relaxers, and even heavy narcotics.
When I’d tell them that I’m really opposed to taking pills for things, they would get a look on their face that seemed to say, “What else do you want me to do for you?” And a few even said things out loud like, “This is the solution. It’s what I have to offer you. You came to me for a solution right?”
You may’ve gleaned by now that I don’t believe that pills are solutions to many chronic health issues. Issues that last for weeks, months, or even years are chronic. And these chronic issues deserve a more intentionally surveyed approach. I won’t get into to the conflicts of interests that some doctors and health organizations pose with pharmaceutical companies in this article. I’ll keep that opinion short for now and just say that they’re distasteful.
I wouldn’t attempt to speak for you, but for me, I wasn’t going to subject myself to even more issues than I already had. Pills were a detriment and a distraction on my journey to real change.
Seeking ReliefAt a glance in research, relief from tension headaches as it were, can be found in anything from heavy prescribed narcotics to more natural alternatives like rubbing the balls of your feet. And of course there were the old wives tale home remedy types as well. You know, the stories passed down from your great uncle’s headache spells in the 50’s.
Like any good desperate boy, I tried them all. I gave muscle relaxers prescribed by my neurologist a shot. My sister suggested rubbing peppermint oil on my temples, so I did. Smelling like a candy cane was kind of fun, but it didn’t seem to quell any of the unrelenting pain.
Enter a New Solution - The Tuner ProI know now that much of the pain and symptoms I’d been experiencing had been due to the misalignment of my teeth. There’s a lot of detail in between that statement, but I won’t bury you in the minutia with it. I’ll just say that, the latest oral orthotic placed by my current dentist had worked semi-okay to bring my teeth and TMJs into a more pleasing position. The problem was that I kept experiencing horridness headaches that lasted the whole day long at times.
I searched and researched to the end of the internet for suggestions and clues (talk about eye strain). And then, finally, about couple of months ago, I stumbled upon a site that seemed to have a solution for a slew of symptoms that I was experiencing. After all, it wasn’t just the headaches in my case. The Tuner Pro claimed it may be able to help with nearly all of my symptoms in one tool. I went through the whole, “too good to be true” phase, and then I thought to myself, “You’re interested in solutions right bub?” Well yes, of course I was. So I dug a bit further. And at once, in a sort of serendipitous way, I had the opportunity to speak with the inventor of the Rezzimax Tuner Pro, Sharik Peck.
He was unassuming, kind, and wildly knowledgeable and aware of the issues at play in ailments like headaches, POTS, and TMJ. I knew right away that he was a solution-oriented person. Case in point, he’s spent the past countless years working on and perfecting the Rezzimax. You can learn more about Sharik here.
From now on, when I’m experiencing pain of any severity in the head, face, and neck, I reach for the Rezzimax Tuner Pro. I use a series of placements that the maker suggests. But I’ve also found some of my own that have proven useful. It has the distinguishing ability to knock out my headaches on the spot. As a side note, it’s also incredibly calming. I believe that this calming factor is also responsible for healing. The manufacturer explains the process in more depth as to the ideas of stimulating the vagus nerve.