Relief For Tension Headaches

Any type of headache can cause significant disruption to your day, and even a few days, depending on what type of headache you have. Most headaches are manageable from home, and in specific, tension headaches can be treated and the frequency reduced by taking a couple of measures. 

Photo by Mehrpouya H on Unsplash

What is a tension headache? 

Almost everyone who experiences headaches will, at some point, get a tension headache. Although if your headache lasts more than a few days or they increase in frequency or severity, you should consult a doctor. 

The symptoms of a tension headache are: 

  • Feeling pressure or tightening around your head
  • The area where the headache is located may feel tender to touch
  • Pain is on both since of the head, neck, and face

You can usually continue your daily activities with a tension headache, as while they are painful, they aren’t typically debilitating. Often tension headaches will last between 30 minutes and a few days. 

What causes tension headaches?

There are a couple of things that can cause tension headaches. 

  • Using painkillers for headaches too often may cause rebound headaches (also known as overuse headaches) 
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Caffeine 
  • Stress

While tension is painful and can be uncomfortable, they are not a sign of underlying conditions. 

What can you do to relieve tension headaches?

OTC painkillers are one of the go-tos to help reduce the pain associated with a tension headache, but often some self-care and lifestyle adjustments can help reduce the pain. 

Here are some of the general lifestyle improvements that can help: 


Our bodies need to have a lot of rest. Rest is important for our system to make sure that our bodies can repair themselves overnight. But when we skip out on sleep, or our sleep gets disturbed, it can set our whole systems off. 

We do best when we go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day – but having a little bit of sleep-in on the weekend is fine! Tension headaches can be commonly associated with people who have sleep apnea. People who are under a lot of stress will often grind their teeth or tense their jaw, and one way to reduce that is by using a soft night guard

If you find that you aren’t getting enough sleep regularly, it is a good idea for you to speak to your doctor so that you can get some sleep aids. It is also a good idea to make sure that you take a look at your routine too. 

Watching TV or playing on devices until you fall asleep can put a lot of strain on your eyes. 

Pain medication 

When you take pain medication too often, it will begin to have less of an effect. People who take pain medication for more than nine days across a month are less likely to be able to get rid of a tension headache with ease. 

Food & Drink

Skipping meals is one of the fastest ways to set off a headache or a migraine. Drops in sugar and salt and not drinking enough water will quickly upset the balance of the body. Breakfast is one of the meals that is considered one of the most important. 

Move Often

You most likely will not feel like heading to the gym and working out while you have a headache. However, if you make sure that you move for a while every day, your body will have a higher level of endorphins, and that higher level can help reduce how much pain you feel. On the other hand, when you work out very intensely while not correctly hydrated, you will likely end up with a headache. 


For some people, caffeine can help fend off a headache – especially those who drink a lot of tea and coffee. And one of the ingredients that you often find in painkillers for headaches has caffeine in them. However, if you exceed 400 milligrams of caffeine in a day, you are at risk of getting headaches more often. 


Smokers are much more likely to get headaches because the nicotine in a cigarette reduces blood flow to the brain. 

How can you reduce stress?

Stress is one of the bigger culprits for tension headaches (much like the name suggests). Reducing stress is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health, not just to reduce headaches. 

It is almost impossible to reduce stress from life completely, and even when you implement a few changes into your life to help – the chances are you will only see a few changes after a few weeks. 

The changes that you make to your lifestyle should be sustainable. 

Cut back 

Anything that you don’t HAVE to do should be cut off your to-do list for a while. Giving yourself fewer commitments and more free time. 


Often ‘sticking it out’ and ‘grin and bear it’ are things people say when you may be going through a difficult time. Instead, the advice should be to step away from difficult situations, take regular breaks from work (during the day, and book time off when possible).

Deep breathing 

Taking some deep breaths can be transformative; the more often you do it when you need to relax, the more relaxing it becomes. Take a long deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, and then slowly release it. Any time a stressful moment arises, this can help you to stay calm. 


We hold a lot of tension in our bodies, and one of the best ways to remove that is by getting a massage. Massages help to remove knots and sore muscles and are relaxing. If you don’t like the idea of booking a massage, then there are portable massage devices that can be used. 


Take time every day to focus on relaxation for at least 10 minutes. Use the ten minutes to slow your breathing, close your eyes and sit comfortably or lay down. Listen to some relaxing music to help further the relaxation. 

There are more ways that you can reduce your stress: Practical Ways To Cut Stress Out Of Your Life – OurKidsMom


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