Tension Headache Relief : Effective Ways to Deal

Written by: Tanvi Vinay Gangavali – MA (Clinical Psychology)

Last updated date : January 20, 2023

Tension headaches are common. Many people have it. This also causes mild-to-moderate pain. It feels like we have tied a tight hair band around our forehead. Tension headache relief is possible. Many options are available for chronic tension headache treatment. Tension headaches can disturb your daily life. But healthy lifestyle choices can help. You can start with the basics, including diet, exercise and relaxation.

What Are Tension Headaches?
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. Tension headaches often cause mild-to-moderate pain. It is mostly around the head, face or neck. Tension headaches are not considered to be very serious. Tension headache relief is possible with the use of many different forms of treatment.
What Are the Types of Tension Headaches?
There are two types of tension headaches. It is based on the number of headaches you get:
  • Episodic Tension-Type Headaches- These happen less often (fewer than 15 days a month).
  • Chronic Tension- Type- This type is when your headache days are more in number. When headaches happen for 15 days or more in a month continuously for three months then it is most likely a chronic tension headache.

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Chapter 1:

What Is the Reason for Tension Headaches?

No single cause is there, there are many causes. Also, this type is not genetic. Sometimes tight muscles in the back of the head or neck can trigger tension headaches. There are also many triggers or causes which do not give you tension headache relief such as-
  • Strained eyes, such as from working on the computer for very long.
  • Feeling that your neck is strained.
  • Pain in head.
  • Sleep issues.
  • Any kind of stress.

Chapter 2:

How Does a Tension Headache Feel?

People experience different symptoms of tension headache. Like, some people say tension headache pain feels like someone pressing both sides of their tightly or having a tight band around their head. Many people also use different methods for tension headache relief. Pain feels like:
  • Constant.
  • Mild or moderate.
  • On both sides of the head.
  • You feel better after you take pain relievers.

Chapter 3:

How Long Does a Tension Headache Last?

The duration of a tension headache depends from person to person. A tension headache may last for 30 minutes. In general, episodic tension headache symptoms come on slowly and end sooner and happen in the middle of the day. Also, episodic tension headaches usually don’t last longer than a week.

Similarly, In chronic tension headaches, symptoms last for months at a time. Pain may stay at the same level for days. Also, these headaches can take a toll on your quality of life.

For both, tension headache relief methods help to reduce headaches and feel better.

Chapter 4:

Is a Tension-Type Headache Dangerous?

No, according to medical experts it is not dangerous. But, it can disrupt your life. Although, chronic tension headaches do not tend to cause serious health issues but make you feel irritated. Sometimes tension headaches may also be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Also, if you have a tension headache consistently then it is better to talk to a doctor for tension headache relief.

Chapter 5:

What Is the Treatment for Chronic Tension Headache?

There are many treatment options for tension headache relief. Out of the treatment options, some are suitable for many. It also depends on the needs of every person. But, a healthy lifestyle can give good overall health. It also helps prevent tension headaches. Here are a few basic tips to follow:

Chapter 6:

Basic Tips

  • Eat healthy food. We should eat at least three meals a day. Breakfast is very important out of all the meals. Eat home-cooked food.
  • Keep yourself hydrated. Many times tension headaches are triggered if you do not drink enough water. Hence, we should drink at least 2.5 to 4 litres of water daily.
  • Regular Exercise. Exercise blocks pain signals to the brain by releasing certain chemicals. You can start slowly and choose any exercise which you enjoy. For example, walking or yoga.
  • Sleeping well. Having a fixed time to go to bed and to wake up help. Do this even on weekends. Also, if you find it difficult to get sleep then maintain good sleep hygiene. Like, such relaxing before you go to bed or even keeping all gadgets away.
  • Avoid excess caffeine. A little amount of caffeine may help curb headaches. But, heavy daily caffeine use can cause headaches. Avoid drinking caffeine in the evenings as it may make it difficult to get sleep. This can also trigger a headache.
  • Do not smoke. The blood flow to the brain is reduced because of nicotine in cigarettes. It also triggers a reaction in the nerves at the back of the throat. This can also lead to a headache.
Keep Stress under Control
Tension headache relief is essential. Stress and tension headaches are very good friends. Hence, it is necessary to reduce stress. Below are simple tips to lead a stress-free life:
  • Make your life simple. Prioritize your day. Do not block your full day with a lot of tasks. Choose what you can do and leave out what you cannot do.
  • Take regular breaks. Even if you do not feel stressed, take regular mindful breaks between tasks. Such as stretching or a quick walk. This also helps to renew your energy levels.
  • Breathing. Breathing well helps you reduce stress. When you feel you are stressed, you can take few deep breaths or even count 1-10. Even in your daily routine practise breathing exercises to feel relaxed.
  • Positive attitude. Many times most of the stress is in our head. Hence, think positive thoughts and try to look at only positives even if it is hard to do so.
  • Let go. Holding on to things makes you feel stressed. Hence, let go of things that are not in your control.
Relax Muscle Tension
Chronic tension headache relief and treatment also involves relaxing your muscles. Tense muscles can cause chronic tension headaches. Hence it is needed to relax them using:
  1. A hot or cold pack relieves tension in your neck and shoulder.
  2. A heating pad or a hot shower or bath can feel better.
  3. Even applying an ice pack (wrapped in a cloth) or a cool washcloth across the forehead feels good.
  4. Massage also can ease muscle tension and also headache. You can gently massage your forehead, head, neck and shoulders with your fingertips.
  5. Stretching your neck and back also makes you release tension in your body.
Another important aspect of chronic tension headache treatment is to unwind every day. You can try this deep-breathing exercise:
  1. Lie down on your back or sit comfortably.
  2. Keep your feet flat on the floor; hands in your lap.
  3. Imagine yourself in a peaceful place, somewhere in nature. Hold this scene in your mind.
  4. Breathe in and out slowly for at least 5-10 minutes.
  5. When you’re done, keep viewing the scene and sit quietly for a minute or two.

This breathing exercise is good to practise every day or you can try any other form of relaxation.

Maintain a Headache Diary
A tension headache diary is helpful. This helps to note the triggers of headaches. You can also note when headaches start and their duration. You can also try to note tension headache relief methods that worked best and which did not. This diary may help you to track various patterns in your daily life which may cause tension headaches. Tension headaches are stressful and hence it is necessary to find the best treatment. At Epsychonline, we have courses developed to help you deal with body and aches. To enrol for a course register on our website.

"Quick online learning, thanks!" Susan

92 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount