Ways To Tame Tension Headaches
If you ever had a tension headache, you know it can put a damper on your day. This kind of headache usually develops in the afternoon, causing mild or moderate pain that may feel like dull tightness or a band of pressure. Tension headaches occur when neck, shoulder, and scalp muscles become tense. Some people experience tension headaches from time to time others get them more often. While a tension headache is rarely debilitating, it can certainly make life miserable.
If you have frequent tension headaches , here are some strategies that can show you how to get rid of a headache.
Can I Treat A Tension
Absolutely. While medication may be helpful, its not a substitute for coping with stressors that may cause your headaches.
Other tension-type headache treatment options include:
- Home remedies, like placing a hot or cold compress where it hurts, may help you feel better.
- Counseling can help you identify whats causing your headaches and learn useful coping methods.
- Relaxation training includes deep breathing exercises and listening to soothing music. These methods can relax your muscles and relieve pain.
- Biofeedback uses sensors connected to your body to monitor and then counteract your bodys physical functions. It teaches you ways to manage stress by identifying and then reducing muscle tension. Biofeedback may relieve or prevent headaches.
Eucalyptus May Help Relieve Pain
The leaves and oil of the eucalyptus tree are used for many medicinal purposes. Eucalyptus oil is said to help reduce swelling, clear nasal congestion, and relieve pain.
According to a review published in August 2015 in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, eucalyptus oil has been used to regulate and activate the nervous system for nerve pain, headache, and debility.
Full-strength essential oil of eucalyptus should not be taken by mouth or rubbed on the skin it should be diluted first.
A case report published in January 2020 in Cephalalgia Reports suggested that daily use might be too much: A teenage boy with migraine initially found relief by applying a mixture of camphor and eucalyptus to his forehead. As his headaches went from occasional to daily, however, he began to apply the essential oil mixture every day. Only when he stopped using the essential oils did his headache subside.
Recommended Reading: Can Stress Cause Crohn’s Disease
Getting Immediate Relief For Your Tension Headaches
You can often feel a tension headache starting to build up in your head. You can feel the first signs of tension building up in the muscles of your head. When you sense that first sign of tension, slow down and stop whatever it is you are doing for a moment. Pay attention to the tension and accept it. This in and of itself may short circuit and stop the tension.
Other things that might help stop the buildup of tension are:
- Take a walk
- Take a moment and slow down whatever it is you are doing.
- Take some deep breaths to release your tension.
- Massage the muscles in your head and neck to release the tension. This can be very effective.
If none of these measures work, you might want to take an over the counter pain killer that you know and that works well for you. Experiment with your medication, and figure out the smallest does that will stop your headache effectively.
But the most important thing to do is to take measure that will help you prevent the occurrence of tension headaches in the future.
Key Points About Tension Headaches
- Tension headaches are the most common type of headache.
- Tension headaches typically do not cause nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light.
- Tension headaches affect both sides of the head, come on slowly, and are described as a tight band or vice around the head.
- Lifestyle changes including regular sleep, exercise, and meal schedules can reduce or prevent headaches.
- Discuss medicines to treat or prevent tension headaches with your healthcare provider.
Recommended Reading: Can Stress Make Eczema Worse
Managing Tension Headaches At Home
A tension headache is pain or discomfort in your head, scalp, or neck. Tension headache is a common type of headache. It can occur at any age, but it is most common in teens and adults.
A tension headache occurs when neck and scalp muscles become tense, or contract. The muscle contractions can be a response to stress, depression, a head injury, or anxiety.
What Tea Is Good For Tension Headaches
A tension headache is a secondary headache as it is often caused and exacerbated by stress, muscle fatigue, eye strain, or other psychological issues. Because of that, teas including chamomile are often used to reduce stress and aid in sleep. It is also often used to help migraine sufferers . Peppermint oil has also been found to be highly effective in easing tension type headaches.
Plum Deluxes Cuddletime Herbal Tea is perfect for tension headache relief as it contains both chamomile and peppermint. Try this tea on its own or in conjunction with de-stressing techniques such as deep breathing and relaxation.
Also Check: Which Essential Oil Is For Stress
Caffeine Or No Caffeine
Caffeine can sometimes be the ingredient that helps with a headache, but it can also be the one that makes a headache worse. In fact, some headache medications or protocols actually include caffeine. However, if you are unsure, try one of the caffeine free teas first to see how your body reacts. If you are on medication that is a specifically prescribed dosage, definitely stick with the caffeine free teas as the caffeine may boost the effects of your medication, which could be dangerous.
In a study done in 2001, researchers found that caffeine alone was as effective at reducing the pain from headaches as taking Ibuprofen alone in about 58% percent of participants. Combining the two together increased the benefits further with 71% of people reporting relief.
What Are The Types Of Tension
Healthcare providers break down tension headaches into two main types. They base the type on how many headaches you have and how often:
- Episodic tension-type headaches happen less often . Your provider may call them infrequent if you have one or fewer headaches each month.
- Chronic tension-type describe when your headache days outnumber headache-free days. Chronic tension headaches happen 15 or more days each month for more than three months in a row.
Don’t Miss: How Can I Deal With Stress
When To Call The Doctor
- You are experiencing “the worst headache of your life.”
- You have speech, vision, or movement problems or loss of balance, especially if you have not had these symptoms with a headache before.
- A headache starts suddenly.
Schedule an appointment or call your provider if:
- Your headache pattern or pain changes.
- Treatments that once worked no longer help.
- You have side effects from your medicine.
- You are pregnant or could become pregnant. Some medicines should not be taken during pregnancy.
- You need to take pain medicines more than 3 days a week.
- Your headaches are more severe when lying down.
Can Tension Headaches Be Prevented
Identifying and avoiding headache triggers may prevent a tension headache. Maintaining a regular sleep, exercise, and meal schedule is also helpful. If tension headaches occur regularly or frequently, therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation therapy, or biofeedback may reduce or eliminate headaches. Talk to your healthcare provider about medicines to prevent tension headaches.
You May Like: How To Fix Stress Headaches
What Doterra Oils Are Good For Headaches
Many doTERRA essential oils are good for headaches. Some of the most popular pure single oils include Peppermint, Lavender, Copaiba, Rosemary, Frankincense, Cedarwood, and Eucalyptus. doTERRA also has a wide selection of wonderful blends, and PastTense is an excellent choice if youre suffering from head and neck tension. These oils can be used in many ways, including diffusing them, applying them to the skin, or ingesting them. Oils that are high in menthol, such as peppermint oil, are often recommended for headaches. Lavender oil is also a good choice, as it is known to be relaxing and help to reduce stress. Eucalyptus oil is beneficial because it is a headache reliever, and it also helps to clear the sinuses.
*choose “Wellness Advocate” option and the wholesale discount will automatically be applied to your order
What Is A Tension Headache
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. Stress and muscle tension are often factors in these headaches. Tension headaches typically don’t cause nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light. They do cause a steady ache, rather than a throbbing one, and tend to affect both sides of the head. Tension headaches may be chronic, occurring often, or every day.
Read Also: How To Relieve Stress Headache Fast
Managing A Headache With Good Food Choices
The Cleveland Clinic notes that most information about food that triggers headaches was gathered from people self-reporting their experiences. There have been research studies conducted in the past, and many ongoing right now. The challenge for researchers is that each case is different. The first step is avoiding foods that are known to trigger headaches. Should a headache develop, there are foods that may spur a faster recovery period.
Knowing what to eat when your head hurts can help you make good choices. The most common foods and drinks that have been reported to help headaches include:
- Leafy greens
- A small cup of coffee for a caffeine headache
Avoid consuming processed foods, aged cheeses, smoked or dried fish, cultured dairy products, high sodium foods like potato chips and foods high in carbohydrates and sugar. Sometimes, headache relief comes from knowing what not to eat.
How Does A Tension
People experience tension headache symptoms differently. Some people describe tension headache pain as feeling like someone is squeezing both sides of their head together or a band around their head.
You may have pain thats:
- Constant .
- Mild or moderate .
- On both sides of the head.
- Better after you take over-the-counter pain relievers.
Read Also: Can You Sue Your Employer For Stress
Rx For Stress Headaches
The so-called tension headache is the most common type of headache, affecting 88 percent of women and 68 percent of men. It occurs when certain muscles in the head, neck and shoulders contract for a prolonged period of time besides stress, other causes of tension headaches include eyestrain and poor posture.
The good news: Stress headaches arent medically dangerous and are usually easy to treat. In many cases, the most effective remedy is to find effective stress management techniques. These can range from lifestyle changes, such as getting more sleep and increasing exercise, to meditation, acupuncture and biofeedback.
According to Dr. Steven Holtz, a John Muir Health neurologist, the goal is to find a stress-reduction method that will also help loosen the tensed muscles in your head and neck. Swimming is a great stress reliever because it allows you to relax your muscles with the advantage of buoyancy, without the full impact of gravity on your head and neck, says Holtz. You may also feel better after doing yoga or pilates, or even just taking a hot bath, so my best advice is to find what works for you.
Preventing Tension Headaches From Anxiety
To prevent tension headaches, finding ways to reduce anxiety is essential.
Although each persons cause of anxiety is different, there are some general anxiety reduction strategies that could result in preventing headaches altogether. :
- Make sure that you are exercising, eating healthy, and drinking plenty of water. Poor eating habits and inactivity generally lead to more anxiety and thus could contribute to tension headaches.
- Learn anxiety reduction strategies to manage the level of anxiety experienced, as the more anxiety one feels, the more intense a tension headache may be. So, it makes sense that. tension headaches are more easily treated when mild. As soon as you start feeling stressed, start deep breathing or practice a progressive muscle relaxation exercise. These are ways to intervene when the pain is still manageable.
- Always try to get enough sleep. Sleep is essential to mental and physical health and one of life’s main coping strategies. Lack of sleep contributes to increased stress, and further eye strain .
While there are ways to manage anxiety and the associated headaches, meeting with a mental health professional still may be recommended vital to explore and identify the underlying cause of anxiety.
Was this article helpful?
You May Like: What Problems Can Stress Cause
Prescription Drugs To Prevent Headaches
Your doctor may recommend that you take a prescription medicine every day to prevent headaches. You may want to take this medicine if:
- Over-the-counter medicines don’t work to stop your headaches.
- You’re taking over-the-counter medicines to stop headaches more than 3 times a week.
- You get a headache more than 15 days a month.
Medicines used to prevent tension headaches include:
- Antidepressants, such as amitriptyline.
- Seizure medicines, such as topiramate.
- Medicines that relax muscles, such as tizanidine.
- Antianxiety medicines, such as buspirone.
Botulinum toxin type A is sometimes injected into the muscles in the face and head to treat headaches. In the past, doctors thought that spasms caused tension headaches. But BTX-A injections do not seem to help with symptoms of tension headaches.footnote 1 And BTX-A may cause weakness of the facial muscles and may make it hard for you to swallow.
What Exactly Is A Stress Headache
You have likely experienced many different types of headaches which can range from sinus to migraines. So, how can you tell if your headache may be caused by stress? Tension or stress headache symptoms tend to follow a certain pattern.iii
- A stress headache will normally be a mild or moderately painful dull ache.
- Stress headache pain will often feel like a tight band around your head front, sides and back.
- Your scalp, neck and shoulders may also feel sore or tender.
- Stress headaches can be either episodic or chronic .
- Unlike migraines, stress headaches arent typically aggravated by light, sound or physical activity.
Read Also: How To Remove Anxiety And Stress
Prescription Medicines To Prevent Headaches
Your doctor may recommend that you take a prescription medicine every day to prevent headaches. You may want to try a prescription medicine to prevent a headache if:
- You are using over-the-counter medicines to stop headaches more than 3 times a week.
- Over-the-counter medicines to stop headaches aren’t working well for you.
Your doctor may have you try one or more medicines, such as an antidepressant or a medicine that prevents seizures. These medicines can help prevent headaches even if you don’t have depression or seizures.
Eliminating The Food And Drink Culprits
Since each person is different as to which foods and drinks cause and relieve headaches, it takes giving the special diet attention to determine what triggers headaches and what helps headache pain. It may be possible to link certain foods to your headaches, so you can eliminate them from the diet, or to link them to headache relief and add them to the diet.
Developing a healthy lifestyle is also crucial to headache management. You should not rely only on medications for relief. Many headaches are caused by stress and tension, so address the stress factors in your life. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Limit alcohol intake. Do not skip meals. Drink lots of water every day. Get regular good sleep. Exercise regularly. These are behaviors that anyone can control and will go a long way towards preventing headaches and/or minimizing headache pain.
Also Check: What To Do When Stressed At Work
How To Relieve A Tension Headache
Because tension headaches have various causes, its a good idea to keep a journal and log any instances to try and ID your triggers. If you can determine what sets off the pain , then you can do your best to avoid that particular trigger. That said, the following tips can all help you find eventual relief:
1. Pop some OTC pain medications.
This is a popular approach for quick relief. Aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen can all help reduce tension headache pain, says Medhat Mikhael, M.D., pain management specialist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif.
Always follow dosage instructions, and never take pain medications for more than three days per week regularly, as this can actually cause rebound headacheswhich may feel even worse.
2. Give yourself a massage.
Gently targeting the muscles in your scalp, temples, or bottom of your neck can help relieve the tension that spurred your headache, Dr. Mikhael says.
You can also target your masseter musclethe thick muscle that connects your jawbone and cheekboneif you tend to clench, grind, or generally hold tension in your face. When your jaw becomes too tight, it can cause other nearby muscles in your head and neck to do the same. When the force is too great you can get tension headaches,David Reavy, a Chicago-based physical therapist, previously told Prevention.
Try this 10-second masseter massage from Reavy a few times a day:
3. Add in some peppermint oil, while youre at it.