4 Tips to Taming a Tension Headache

If you’re reading this, you probably have had a headache at least once in your life.  A lot of times they get brushed aside as a common complaint where others expect you to ‘quit your whining and start working’.  However, the pain of a tension headache can make your day-to-day life a miserable challenge.

First, let’s breakdown what a tension headache is:

  • A tension headache is caused by muscle contractions in the head and neck area
  • Medications should be used sparingly, but Ibuprofen or aspirin can be used to relieve a tension headache
  • A tension headache is typically a mild or moderate intense pain found in your head, neck and behind your eyes
  • Most people describe a tension headache as feeling like a tight band around your forehead
  • Tension headaches can occur a few times a month or can be chronic
  • Women are twice as likely to suffer from tension headaches as men

Tension Headache Triggers

The causes of a tension headache are numerous to say the least.  Generally they will start out in the head or neck and are often caused by muscle contractions.  Foods, activities and stressors can cause these muscle contractions.  It could also be caused by staring at a computer all day long at work or from driving for long periods of time.  Here are more common causes of tension headaches:

  • Alcohol
  • Eye strain
  • Dry eyes
  • Smoking
  • Cold temperatures
  • A cold or flu
  • Sinus infection
  • Caffeine
  • Poor posture
  • Emotional stress

If stress is causing your tension headache, this reflexology hand chart can help prevent headaches, body pains and relieve stress.

Tension Headache Tamers & Relievers

Ease up or get rid of a tension headache with these effective tips you can try at home.

  1. Cayenne pepper.  Cayenne pepper spiciness can help to treat headache pain and inflammation.  It contains capsaicin, an ingredient that inhibits something in our body that is one of the main elements in pain perception known as Substance P.
  2. Acupuncture.  Acupuncture may help to relieve a tension headache by increasing blood flow to the area to release any tension, pain or stress.
  3. Yoga.  Zap that tension by stretching your muscles and keeping your mind focused with yoga.
  4. Just breathe.  As simple as it sounds, breathing can help.  When your head is pounding, you may not be getting enough oxygen.  If we are feeling pain or stressed out, our breathing becomes shallow.   If you have a tension headache, try taking some deep, full breaths that start out in your diaphragm and fill up your lungs.  This will help to bring lots of fresh oxygen to your blood and to relax your mind and body.

If your tension headache feels like the worst headache of your life, pick up the phone and call your doctor immediately.

Still not finding relief from your headaches?

If you suffer from constant headaches, neck, shoulder or back pain, DHT Physical Therapy offers effective treatment options that will have you back to enjoying your life in no time. 

New Patient Scheduling Call or Text: (602) 231-8511