What causes these headaches?
A tension headache can make our days utterly miserable. More often than not, this type of headache gradually creeps upon us, feeling like a tight band of pulsating pressure around our heads. These headaches will often occur when our necks, shoulders, faces, and scalp muscles become tense through stress or poor posture. Most people on earth have experienced tension headaches; some are more prone than others. Although not serious, if you suffer with them regularly, they can really impact your life and those around you.
If you’re experiencing tension headaches symptoms on a regular basis (two or more times a week), there are some simple steps you can take to banish them. Don’t live in a groundhog headache day.
Tension headache relief basics
- Understand the basics. Adequate sleep is important, don’t wait until your starving to eat, stay hydrated, and don’t run around like a headless chicken trying to do everything and please everyone at once. Minimizing stress and fatigue reduces your risk of that tight band getting a grip around your head and staying there. We’re going to emphasize this as it’s very important… one of the first things we can do at the first sign of a headache is making sure we’re hydrated. Reaching for a glass of water instead of ibuprofen and acetaminophen is a good habit to get into. Did you know that If you are dehydrated, the brain can temporarily shrink a little from lack of fluid, causing the brain to retract from the skull, causing pain and resulting in a dehydration headache. Sounds barbaric, doesn’t it! A glass of water can work wonders for kicking a headache in to touch before it can kick-off.
- Change your pillow. Headaches and neck pain can be significantly reduced with a simple pillow upgrade. We believe this to be one of the best preventative measures that you can implement… and NOT have to think about. We do have a pillow of choice for neck pain and you can read about that here.
- Relaxation methods. Relaxation therapies will keep tension headaches at bay if you practice them daily. Relax tight, tense muscles with a massager or hot water bottle or heating pad on your shoulders and neck. Guided imagery for tension headache relief is often used as an alternative for medications that might have unpleasant side effects.
- Massage. A simple neck or shoulder massage device can deliver on-demand, targeted tension headache relief, read about them here. We use one every day for prevention and relief.
- Tension Biofeedback. This relaxation method can help sufferers reduce tension headaches. Usually, an experienced therapist will place electrodes on your body to analyze electrical signals traveling from your neck and shoulder muscles. You can then begin to understand the signals that make you tense and learn ways to relax your neck, shoulders, and facial muscles before they become tense, preventing a headache.
- Medical solutions. Many sufferers have very sensitive areas, commonly known as trigger points, located around the shoulder and neck. A local anesthetic injected into these trigger points can stop the pain in its tracks and provide long-term tension headache relief. Medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can provide tension headache relief, but relying on these and other medications can cause other issues like dependency. If non-medication approaches aren’t working for you, have a chat with your doctor.
You can read about the causes of these headaches in more detail by clicking here.