Do you often feel that there is a tight band around your forehead putting excessive pressure and causing pain? If you have sudden episodes of pain in your head, behind your eyes or the neck, then you might be experiencing tension headaches. While tension headaches are not as intense as migraines, these can be bothersome and if not treated can turn chronic. Try the home remedies for how to get rid of a tension headache and get great relief from the trouble.
What is a tension headache?
A tension headache results in mild to moderate pain in the head and feels like someone is tightly holding your forehead.
Tension headache symptoms
Following are the signs of tension headaches:
- Dull pain in head
- A sensation of some pressure around the forehead
- Tenderness on the scalp, forehead, shoulder and neck muscles
Tension Headache Causes
Muscle contractions in the neck or head result in tension headaches. These contractions may be a result of:
- Head injury
- Eye strain
- Sinus infection
Types of tension headaches:
- Episodic tension headaches
- Chronic tension headaches
How long do tension headaches last?
Tension headaches can start gradually and may take 30 minutes to subside or last for a couple of days.
How to get rid of tension headaches naturally
Tension headaches are common. Older teens and adults experience them with women being more prone to them. You can always take over the counter medications to subside the pain, but taking in too many drugs isn’t good for your overall health in the long run.
Your body might become accustomed to such medications and may not respond to them causing rebound headaches. Chronic tension headaches occur for more than 15 days of a month, hence taking such drugs is not advisable. Instead, you can opt for natural remedies for how to get rid of a tension headache. These effectively relieve you of the pain without any side-effect.
1. Foods can be a great help in getting rid of tension headaches
Foods to eat:
Your food choices may also trigger a tension headache; hence it is essential to monitor your eating habits. If you are prone to frequent episodes of tension headaches, then switch to a healing diet that helps to relax your muscles and reduce stress. Include the following foods in your diet:
- Foods rich in protein like eggs, wild fish, etc.
- Foods rich in fiber like fresh fruits and vegetables
- Foods containing healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, etc.
- Foods with high magnesium content like bananas, green leafy vegetables, etc.
Foods to avoid:
While some foods can help you relax, some foods can trigger a headache. Eliminate such foods from your diet. These include:
- Foods high in sugar
- Foods that may cause an allergy like peanuts, soy, dairy products, etc.
- Too salty foods
2. Herbal Treatments for relieving tension headaches
How to get rid of a tension headache with Willow Bark?
Those looking for what to take for a tension headache must try willow bark tea that can significantly reduce the pain. Willow bark has some potent properties that make it a highly effective remedy for tension headache treatment. Know how you can use this amazing herb for getting rid of a tension headache and neck pain.
How to use?
- Add about four tablespoons of dried willow bark flakes to a cup of boiling water
- Keep it on simmer for 6 minutes
- After that, strain the mixture and drink the tea
Benefits of Willow Bark Tea
The bark of willow tree is known to contain healing properties. Thus, sipping the tea made using the bark can help in easing severe headache. Please note that willow bark contains an active ingredient known as salicin which has pain-relieving properties similar to aspirin. Hence, instead of popping up an aspirin now and then, sip willow bark tea that provides you quick relief without any side-effects.
Willow bark might irritate the lining of your stomach. Hence, you must consult your doctor before using the remedy.
3. Essential oils for tension Headaches treatment
How to cure tension headaches with peppermint essential oil?
Peppermint Essential Oil is popularly used in aromatherapy for its sharp aroma that can treat numerous health conditions. You can use this potent essential oil for easing stress induced tension headache. The sharp scent of the oil boosts your brain and relaxes the stressed muscle causing tension headache.
How to use?
- Add three drops of peppermint essential oil in half a teaspoon of a carrier oil
- Massage the blend on your temples, forehead, back of neck and shoulders
- Reapply it every fifteen minutes until the symptoms subside
Benefits of Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is one of the best remedies for how to get rid of a tension headache. It promotes blood circulation and prevents muscle contractions that may cause pain. Further, it has a soothing, cooling effect that calms your body and helps it to relax. Thus, it can effectively treat a tension headache and nausea as well.
Peppermint essential oil is highly potent; hence you must dilute it with a carrier oil before applying it topically on your body.
4. Natural Treatments for how to stop tension headaches
How to relieve a tension headache with acupressure technique?
Tension headaches during pregnancy are common. It is normal for the expecting mother to get anxious about the changes happening in her body. As such, many women experience tension headaches during this time. However, if not taken care of, the headaches can become severe and chronic. Some women report for having tension headache for a week which is not good for their health. To get relief from tension headaches, one can try acupressure technique.
How to do?
- Place your both thumbs on the depressions at the base of your skull where the head meets your neck
- Press the thumbs in a slightly upwards direction
- Keep on giving slight pressure on your head for about one to two minutes with your thumbs making small circles
Benefits of acupressure
Acupressure is one of the best techniques for how to get rid of a tension headache. The depression points near the base of your skull are the tension headache relief pressure points. Pressing them can help alleviate the pain.
Apply light pressure to reduce the pain.
5. Supplements for reducing tension headaches
How to get rid of a tension headache with Magnesium?
Most of the people today suffer from magnesium deficiency which is known to play a vital role in the functioning of the nervous system and preventing muscle contractions. A lesser amount of magnesium in your body might be one of the primary reasons that you are suffering from tension headache and anxiety. Ease the symptoms by taking in magnesium.
How to use?
- Take magnesium supplements daily
- The recommended dosage is between 400 and 600 mg
Benefits of magnesium
A stressful lifestyle of yours may cause depletion of magnesium, an essential nutrient. Magnesium is known to prevent muscle tension and maintain your serotonin levels. Low serotonin levels in your body are associated with vascular spasms that may result in tension headaches.
Further, magnesium is also known to improve the flow of blood to the brain promoting healthy cognitive functioning. Thus taking in magnesium supplements can help in treating tension headache and dizziness due to reduced blood flow to the brain.
Your intake of magnesium must be within the recommended dosage. People suffering from diarrhea should take it in lesser amounts.
How to prevent a tension headache?
Following are the techniques that may help reduce stress which is the primary cause of tension headaches:
- Biofeedback training
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Physical therapy
Besides the stress-reducing treatments, introducing the following lifestyle changes can reduce the headache episodes:
- Get enough sleep
- Drink water and keep yourself hydrated
- Take regular and balanced meals
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid smoking
- Limit the intake of caffeine, alcohol, and sugar
Tension headache vs. a Migraine: Know the difference
While tension headaches are often mild, in some cases they can be intense too. As such, one may term a severe episodic tension headache as a migraine attack, but it is not so. People with frequent tension headache episodes can have migraines too, but there is much difference between a migraine and a tension headache. Tension headaches usually cause mild pain in the head while migraines are characterized by intense throbbing pain on one side or whole head. Also, tension headaches do not cause visual disturbances, vomiting or nausea that accompany a migraine and are not affected by physical activity.
Tension headaches can be bothersome and affect your routine life. Follow the remedies mentioned above for how to get rid of a tension headache and get quick relief from the symptoms. These remedies are highly effective in subsiding the pain and reducing the headache episodes.