Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and are usually caused by stress or neck/shoulder tension. If you suffer from tension headaches on a regular basis and don’t want to rely on over-the-counter medication, the following tips could help take the edge off.
Rest in a dark, quiet room
When you are in the midst of a tension headache, you may find you feel overly sensitive to light and sound. If you can, take yourself to a dark and quiet room to relax – close your eyes and lie in a comfortable position until the pain subsides.
A preventative therapy that has proved effective for tension headaches is acupuncture – a practice that involves fine needles being inserted at certain points of the body. It is thought that by doing this, the body’s energy channels are unblocked and endorphins (your body’s natural painkillers) are released.
Have a coffee
Often tension headaches are caused by wide blood vessels, something caffeine can help to correct. Caffeine is also known for helping painkillers work quicker and more effectively – which is why the drug is included in some medications. If you feel a headache coming on, make yourself a cup of coffee and see if it helps – everyone reacts differently to caffeine and if you already drink a lot of caffeine, you could get withdrawal headaches.
Do some neck exercises
Many tension headaches are caused by tension in the neck – this is especially common in office workers. To ease this tension, try a series of neck exercises to keep muscles tension free. Next time you feel a headache coming on, try placing your palm on your forehead and gently push your head against your palm.
Another popular therapy for tension headaches is acupressure, which involves putting pressure on certain points of your body. One effective technique involves placing your thumbs near the base of your skull, finding the depressions on both sides of your neck and massaging your neck using small circles.
Have a massage
Head and neck massages are great for relaxing tension and can be used as a preventative measure. If you are unable to have one done professionally, give yourself a mini self-massage when you feel a headache coming on.
View and comment on the original WebMD article.