Five Ways to Soothe Tension Headaches
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache among teenagers and adults. They occur when the neck and scalp muscles contract in response to stress, depression, head injury or anxiety. Muscle tension in the face, neck, and shoulders can also lead to a tension headache. People who suffer from tension headaches say it feels like a band is being squeezed tightly on the head.
Any activity that causes the head to be held in one position for a long time without moving can cause a headache. Other triggers may include:
- Physical or emotional stress
- Overuse of alcohol
- Overuse of caffeine
- Excessive eye strain
- Excessive smoking
- Clenching the jaw or teeth grinding
Headache Treatment and Prevention
Treating your headache symptoms quickly with over-the-counter medication can reduce the severity and duration of pain. Simple lifestyle changes and avoiding common headache triggers can reduce the frequency of headaches.
5 ways to ease your tension headaches:
- Sleep well! Sleep is an important factor in treating and preventing headaches. A nap and medication can effectively treat your headache. While you sleep your body is at rest and the medication can do its work. Most likely, by the time you wake up your headache will be gone, and you’ll feel refreshed.Prevent tension headaches with proper positioning and a supportive pillow. Ensure that your neck isn’t twisted to one side or tucked into your chest and keep your back in a neutral position. You may need to adjust your sleeping position or your pillow for optimal results.
- Treat yourself! If you have a tension headache apply deep, tolerable pressure to the small muscles below the base of your skull and your temples for five minutes. The pressure works to break up tension within the muscles which cause tension headaches.Prevent tension headaches by regularly stretching your neck and shoulder muscles. Regular body massages by a licensed massage therapist is a treat for you and your muscles!
- Give it a break! Taking a break, closing your eyes and taking deep relaxing breaths along with your headache medication can help reduce headache symptoms.To prevent tension headaches, take frequent, short breaks while working at your desk. Stand up or sit down (depending on how you normally do work related tasks), roll your shoulders back, and re-set your posture. While working it’s easy to forget to maintain your posture, which can cause neck tension to build and headaches to begin. Stretch your neck throughout the day. Repeat every few hours and hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
- Stand up or Sit Down! If you’re battling a tension headache, change your position. Relaxing and stretching tensed muscles can reduce your headache symptoms.Prevent headaches by maintaining proper posture throughout the day. Slouching will eventually cause certain neck muscles to become overworked and others to weaken. The overworked muscles can cause neck pain, tension and headaches. Proper posture includes a straight neck, level shoulders, and feet placed directly below the hips.
- Stay Hydrated! Dehydration is a leading cause of headaches. Drinking a large glass of water at the onset of a headache can reduce the pain or eliminate it completely.Prevent headaches by adding water to your diet. The dehydrating effects of coffee, sugary drinks, and alcohol can cause headaches. Water is a simple way stay energized and headache-free. Eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day are also an effective method for quenching your thirst and remaining hydrated!
These simple techniques will not only ease your headache tension, but also provide preventative strategies that will last you a lifetime.
Consult your Innovative Pain and Wellness Healthcare professional for your most accurate diagnosis and treatment selections. Not only do we desire to bring the personal relationship back into the medical clinic, we also create a unique environment that both empowers and educates you! We offer you, all under one roof, a fully-integrated clinical team: interventional pain physicians, physical therapists, chiropractic physicians, nutritional and wellness specialists, and others! You can rest assured that we are working together to restore your quality of life!