Tension Headaches Cause: 2 proven relief methods

tension headaches cause

Tension Headaches Cause?

The answer lies in the question. Tension headaches are commonly triggered by tight muscles in the head, neck, or shoulders. Other stresses such as emotional or environmental (noise, bright light etc..) will cause a headache. If you’re dehydrated? You’ve likely got a throbbing headache.

At backpainsleep, we examine what triggers our own symptoms and how we successfully treat them. 99% of our tension headaches are triggered by muscle tension in the neck, upper back, shoulders, bad posture and not drinking enough water.

Here’s the good news. With a little information, a decent pillow and an inexpensive neck massager for tension headaches, you can deliver your own tension headache relief and prevention without resorting to daily pill-popping, and you’ll feel a hell of a lot better for it… and very likely improve your sleep too.

We’re going to share our own most simple, tried, and tested methods for getting to grips with tension headaches. You can see from the image below where tension headaches symptoms are located.

tension headaches cause
Tension Headaches Symptoms

In the above headache areas diagram, we see pain spreading across the entire forehead and up/down the neck and shoulders. These tight areas are a common tension headaches cause… yet entirely preventable with a cheap tension headache massager.

tension headaches cause

Tension Headaches Symptoms

The classic tension headaches symptoms are:

  • An aching, squeezing and sometimes pulsing head pain that feels in time with your heartbeat.
    (That’s how we describe it anyway)
  • Pressure and tightness throughout your forehead and the rear of the head
  • Pain at the sides and back of your head, tenderness on the top.
  • Tight, stiff and aching neck, trapezius and shoulder muscles. 
  • Text neck symptoms

We have two classes of tension headaches… chronic and episodic.

Episodic tension headaches

Episodic tension headaches can last from 15 minutes to a few days and generally occur less than 15 days a month for at least 3 months… but when do they become chronic?

Chronic tension headaches

Chronic tension headaches can last hours and can sometimes become constant. If your headaches occur more than 15 days a month for over 3 months, they’re considered chronic, not good.

Tension Headache Prevention

Prevention is always better than cure, always. Learning how to relax your muscles and release tension consciously, is vital for getting to grips with recurring tension headaches. As with most things in life, small changes can have a big impact, for example;

As you read this, STOP RIGHT NOW and ask yourself if any of these tension headaches cause apply to you.

  • Are my shoulders hunched, rolled forward or tense?
  • Is my neck at an awkward angle? Is my head jutting forward?
  • Am I clenching my jaw as I read? Am I grinding my teeth?
  • Am I sitting oddly… but can’t be bothered moving?
  • Am I lying uncomfortably… but still can’t be bothered moving!?
  • Have I drank plenty of water today?

We answered YES to FOUR of those questions and know if we don’t take a moment to relax and move position NOW, a tension headache is 100% guaranteed in the next 30 minutes or so. Our experience also tells us that an episode of occipital neuralgia is on the horizon if we don’t move. Find out about occipital neuralgia here.

Tension Headache Triggers

Stress and tension are the most reported triggers for tension headaches. No surprise there, but tension headaches can be stopped in their tracks by simply breaking bad habits and using a neck massager for tension headaches.

tension headaches cause

Tension Headache Relief: Treatment

Through our self-treatment of occipital neuralgia, we discovered a significant and consistent reduction of tension headaches. For us, occipital neuralgia and tension headaches are intricately related, so relieving and managing both with the same, simple methods was a win-win. You will know that finding relief can feel like a lottery win-win when you’re head is throbbing relentlessly. If you’re here researching tension headache causes and relief, the following information may have a hugely positive impact on your daily occurrences if you’re suffering. Read on, friend.

How do we keep our headaches in check?

We use the same methods for relieving and preventing tension headaches that we use to reduce and prevent occipital neuralgia, and the good news is that you can too. It’s so simple… and yes, we’re going to mention it again… the neck massager for tension headaches will quickly become your best friend.

tension headaches cause

✅ Tried & Tested Massage Method 1

Self Massage for Tension Headache Relief

We found that tension headaches respond incredibly well to regular, targeted massage. Yet, many people don’t give massage a second thought and default to daily pain pills for tension headache relief. Our headaches are now very few and far between because we try and use our neck massager daily. If we suspect a tension headache is on the horizon, the massager is the FIRST thing we use (along with ensuring we’re properly hydrated). If we can’t use our massager, we use our built-in massage tools, our hands.

The inexpensive neck massager below has been a pain game-changer for us regarding neck tension and headache management. The volume of positive reviews is genuinely staggering, and they continue to grow, and for a good reason. It just works... brilliantly.

We perform just two exercises when using the neck massager for tension headaches, please click here and scroll down to see a visual guide. Very effective and simple to follow.

3,189 Reviews
An excellent massager, perfect for:


So why don’t we just use our fingers instead of a massager?

Hands and fingers are the greatest massage tools on the planet, but there is a counterproductive downfall in massaging your own neck and shoulders (If you don’t have someone to do it for you) You have to tense your muscles in order to massage your tight muscles. Try raising your hands to massage your neck or temples without tensing and engaging your shoulders.

The armrests integrated on the above neck massager ensure complete relaxation of your shoulders and trapezius, which allows the massager to work its magic while you take a tension time-out. Making a neck and shoulder massage a part of your daily routine will quickly become something you look forward to once you’ve experienced it.

tension headaches cause

✅ Tried & Tested Method 2

Change your pillow… CHANGE. YOUR. PILLOW.

If your neck is unsupported when you sleep, you will wake up with a neck primed for pain and a head ready to ache (if it’s not aching already.) We cannot emphasize how much impact a change of pillow can have on
your neck and head pain. Your choice of pillow can make or break you. Why on earth would you eliminate your pain with an amazing massage, then sleep on a pillow that continues to undo all the good work?

It’s staggering how many people suffer from neck pain, dizziness, headaches, and conditions like occipital neuralgia and don’t consider their pillow a potential cause. When we found the right pillow for occipital neuralgia it changed everything for us. We now use two types of pillows, solid memory foam and adjustable shredded memory foam.

Our pillow of choice for Occipital Neuralgia


We use two types of pillows depending on current pain and comfort levels. The Therapeutica is our all-time favorite pillow for occipital neuralgia, neck pain, tension headaches, and easing dizziness as it positions our neck perfectly and feels amazing. The shallower contour pillow is an excellent alternative. Both pillows will offer you absolutely fantastic support for many years. *Note – If you haven’t used these types of pillows before, they take a brief time to get used to, but once you’ve adjusted (a week or so), You will kick yourself for not upgrading your pillow sooner.

Excellent all-round pillow for neck pain


We spend on average 33yrs of our lives in bed, 26yrs sleeping, and 7yrs trying to sleep. It’s difficult to comprehend that amount of time, of course, but we can say without any doubt that if your bed and pillow don’t support you correctly, you’ll keep waking up tense and primed for pain… everysingle… day.


Headaches can affect all areas of life. We all know how a persistent headache can affect our work, personal and social lives. It’s safe to say 100% of us have experienced a headache of some sort. We know that 80% of adults will experience back pain in their lives, and a growing number of people are developing occipital neuralgia and other neck issues due to ‘text neck’… if you combine them all, life can very quickly spiral into a roundabout of daily pain. If we had to choose one of the above changes, it would, without doubt, be the change of pillow because of the daily impact it has had on our quality of life. That’s a big statement for something as simple as a pillow, but it’s true.

Of course, there are times when Acetaminophen (paracetamol), Ibuprofen or other medications can be beneficial for tackling a persistent tension headache, but with consistent use of a neck massager and a pillow that offers appropriate support for your neck, head pain can become a memory ;O)

Additional relaxation methods

  • Exercise / Yoga etc…
  • Deep breathing 
  • Listening to guided relaxation audio
  • Reading / listening to music
  • Anything that makes you feel good is relaxing!

Last prices update on 2024-07-13

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