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Posted on 10-11-2017

Headaches, eyestrain and muscle pain

Headaches are a common complaint at Chiropractic offices.   Common musculoskeletal types are Tension headaches, Common Migraines, Classic Migraines and Cervico-genic Headaches.  Chiropractic care and lifestyle modifications often are able to resolve or significantly relieves these. 

Another category of headache is headache associated with eyestrain.  In a work environment there are several factors that can be adjusted with ergonomics; height of the screen, alignment of the screen, screen glare, focal distance from the eye to the screen.  

In addition to these the condition of the patients’ eyes can be significant factor.   The following three conditions most often involved are Presbyopia, Refractive Disorders and Astigmatism.

  • Presbyopia (far sightedness): The progressive loss of flexibility in the lens of the eye causing an inability to focus on objects close up.
  • Refractive Disorders:  This is a group of disorders that can result in the inability to focus on objects that are either close or far. 
  • Astigmatism: This is an irregularity in the shape of the eyes lens which results in blurred vision.

So what does an eyestrain headache feel like?

An eyestrain headache most commonly produces pain in the forehead and face mostly around the eyes.  It can also refer pain to the back of the head and upper neck.  It can  be very similar to a tension headache.  Eyestrain headaches can last for as little as one hour or as long as a full day.  Rarely do they last multiple days.  Frequency depends significantly on exposure to the triggers listed below.

Common triggers for eyestrain headache

  • Vision conditions that have not be corrected
  • The excessive frowning or squinting that often comes with uncorrected vision
  • Reading or doing close work (fly tying, jewelry making and the like) for prolonged periods without little rest
  • Constant or prolonged use of TV, computer, tablet or phone screens
  • Poor posture
  • Poor lighting, flickering neon light or overhead fluorescent lighting (these can also often cause glare)

What help is available to eyestrain headache sufferers?

Although these headaches are called eyestrain headaches, the pain is felt in the head and face, especially around the eyes.  The muscles get overworked and can cause considerable referred pain, sensitivity to light and nausea.   Using Chiropractic adjustments to restore proper motion to the spine can provide significant relief.  Active Release Technique used on the muscles of the upper spine (particularly the suboccipital muscles) will also give fast relief.   As pain starts to moderate adding a few simple postural exercises can help prevent the muscles from winding up again.  We offer these techniques that when combined with correcting underlying eye conditions will permanently eliminate this problem.

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