How to Get Rid of Tension Headaches with 8 Amazing Natural Ways?

Updated on March 26th, 2019
tension head ache

A HEADACHE. The word itself describes how it feels. Just by imagining a day with a headache can be devastating. It can screw up even your most loved day. No matter how hard you try, but you cannot get rid of a headache quickly.

Headaches are also of different types, and one of them is a tension headache. It is one of the most common types of headache. Tension headaches get associated with the tightness or tension of the muscles in the neck, head or scalp regions.

Read on to find out the eight wonderful natural remedies on how to get rid of tension headaches.

What is a tension headache?

When head, scalp and neck muscles become very tight and contract it results in tension headaches. Tension headaches often feel as if a tight band is compressing your head.

What is the cause of a tension headache?

A tension headache causes due to many reasons including but not limited to stress, anxiety, depression or head injury, excessive alcohol consumption, colds and flu, sinus infections, smoking, fatigue, etc. Tension headaches are also seen to be hereditary in origin.

Symptoms of a tension headache

Some of the tension headache symptoms are listed below:

  • Aching, dull pain in the head
  • Feels like a tight band circling the head
  • Tightness and pressure across the forehead or sides of the head
  • Tenderness on shoulder, neck and scalp muscles

How long do tension headaches last?

Tension headaches can last from around 30 min to months. Depending upon the duration they last for, they get majorly classified as episodic and chronic tension headaches. Daily tension headaches, continuing for at least three months get considered as chronic tension headaches. Also, constant tension headaches for at least three months get considered as chronic ones.

A tension headache vs. A Migraine

It can be challenging to differentiate between tension headaches and migraine. Also, chronic tension headaches may also get associated with a migraine. In some types of migraine, there are other associated symptoms like visual disturbances, nausea or vomiting which are absent in tension headaches. Also, tension headaches don’t get aggravated by physical activity whereas a migraine headache does. The location of a migraine is also different from tension headache location to some extent.

How to get rid of tension headaches with the help of 8 extraordinary natural remedies?

Natural remedies work wonders regarding relieving tension headaches. Here is how.

1. How to get rid of tension headaches with foods?

Some allergic foods can be the cause of a tension headache. Eliminating such foods from the diet may prove to be beneficial. Generally, a blood test will reveal what foods you are allergic to.

Foods to eat

Include the foods listed below to get a positive result on how to get rid of tension headaches.

  • High fiber foods like chia seeds, flax seeds
  • Unrefined foods or whole grain foods
  • Healthy fats like avocado
  • Foods rich in anti-oxidants like fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Natural sugars like those available in fruits
  • Enough water content throughout the day

Foods to avoid

Exclude the foods listed below to get positive results on how to get rid of tension headaches.

  • Fried and oily foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Refined foods like all-purpose flour
  • Refined sugars
  • Packaged and processed foods

2. How to relieve tension headaches with herbal remedies?

Using turmeric as a herbal remedy for tension headaches

Image: ShutterStock

Turmeric has been long since used to treat tension headaches. It has excellent anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s also anti-spasmodic.

How to use?

  • Boil a cup of milk with ¼ tsp of turmeric
  • Sip on this remedy twice or thrice a day for better results
  • A little honey can be added to lukewarm milk if desired. However, you should not add honey to hot foods.

Using peppermint to get relief from tension headaches

Peppermint has been used to treat different types of headache. It is readily available and is very useful in treating tension headaches.

How to use?

  • Add peppermint to the diet in various forms like in a salad or as a dip or a dressing
  • You can make a peppermint tea by boiling a few fresh mint leaves in a cup of water
  • Add honey if desired, but make sure to bring the tea to a lukewarm temperature first
  • Use this method twice a day to get relief from tension headache nausea and pain

3. How to get rid of tension headaches with essential oils?

A lot of people strongly advocate the use of essential oils for tension headaches

Lavender essential oil

Lavender essential oil tops the list of the best essential oils recommended for treating headaches. It is especially useful in treating tension headache anxiety.

How to use?

  • Add two drops of essential or therapeutic or pharmacy-grade lavender essential oil to 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • Gently blend in
  • Massage the temples and forehead with this mixture to feel relief from a tension headache
  • It can be done twice a day if needed
  • Lavender essential oil can also be used in an aromatherapy diffuser to get relief from a tension headache symptoms

Peppermint oil

essential oils l

Peppermint oil has been long since used to treat various aches and body pains. It is proven to be effective in treating tension headaches as well. It also helps in alleviating tension headache nausea.

How to use?

  • Take 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil and dilute it in 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • Apply this mixture to the temples, forehead and the base of the skull and massage gently
  • Peppermint oil can also be used in an aromatherapy diffuser to get relief from tension headaches

4. How to stop tension headaches with home remedies?

Some home remedies can help in relieving the tension headaches.

Ice pack remedy

Using an ice pack can give good results in alleviating the pain from a tension headache at the back of the head. It is a wonderful home remedy for alleviating neck tension headache pain as well.

How to use?

  • Take an ice pack and hold against the base of the skull and compress for some time until the pain is gone
  • The ice pack will numb the sensation of the pain and bring the inflammation down

5. How to relieve tension headaches with natural treatments?

Natural treatments prove to be extremely useful in treating tension headaches. One of the best natural treatments is:

Hot water therapy

hot water

Many natural care practitioners recommend hot water therapy for how to get rid of tension headaches.

How to use?

  • Take a small tub and fill it with as much hot water as you can tolerate
  • Add any one of the following to the hot water- some mustard powder, a few drops of lavender essential oil or peppermint essential oil
  • Soak your feet in this water for about a half hour and then towel dry
  • You can repeat this remedy as many times as you need
  • It is an excellent remedy especially for a tension headache in pregnancy, wherein pregnant women are apprehensive about taking any medicines internally. This remedy involves external treatment, and nothing taken internally.

6. How to treat a tension headache with massage?

Tension headache massage therapy is quite helpful in alleviating the pain and relaxing the tight muscles and help you on how to get rid of tension headaches.

How to do?

  • Gently place both your thumbs on each cheek near the ears
  • With fingers touching the temples, gently massage the temples of your head and forehead in circular movements
  • You can use any of the essential oil blends that are listed above to do the massage for better results
  • Repeat the same twice or thrice a day
  • You can also seek the help of someone in the family, a friend or a massage therapist to do the same

7. How to get rid of tension headaches with acupressure?

Pressure points are those points that are believed to be super-sensitive and can provide relief in the body by way of stimulation. Gently press these pressure points for about 10 seconds. However, the process should not be painful. Some tension headache relief pressure points are-

The union valley point

The point between the index and the thumb finger of each hand, between the webs Drilling bamboo points

It is a point where the bridge of our nose meets the gap between the eyebrows. These are two points located on each side near to the eyebrows

Gates of consciousness

These points are at the base of your skull, in the hollow area between the two neck muscles that run vertically

8. How to get rid of tension headaches with stretches and exercises?

Some simple stretches and exercises can give you immense relief from the pain in tension headaches. Try these simple tension headache stretches to get positive results

Behind-the-back stretch

Behind the back-stretch is known to stop tension headaches in an acute attack. Try these steps for how to get rid of tension headaches.

How to do?

  • Clasp your hands at the back
  • Interlock the fingers and stretch down as much as you can
  • Release after holding for about 10 seconds
  • Repeat if necessary
  • It can be done twice a day to get good relief on how to get rid of tension headaches

Neck rotation

It is a simple exercise that can give you instant relief on how to get rid of tension headaches.

How to do?

  • Stand straight or sit in a comfortable posture keeping your back straight
  • If standing, keep your hands on your waist
  • Gently rotate your neck first clockwise and then anti-clockwise
  • Repeat this procedure equally for both sides for a few times
  • This neck rotation can be done twice a day or whenever you feel a tension headache building up

(Precaution- people with a problem of vertigo or anything similar should do these exercises with proper consultation with the doctor).

[Read: Home Remedies to Cure Hypoglycemia]

Precautions and side-effects

Most of the methods described above are quite safe for everyday use. However, everyone has a different body type and may respond to things differently. A few points to be considered are-

  • Never use essential oils without diluting in water or carrier oil. Using them undiluted can cause redness and allergies on the skin.
  • Always do a patch test before applying anything on the body. It is to make sure you are not allergic to any of the things used and can tolerate them safely.
  • You should avoid adding honey to hot foods. Always make sure to add honey to lukewarm or cold foods. Heat can damage the chemical composition of honey, making it harmful for the body


A tension headache is the most common type of a headache that is seen to be affecting people. There are several causes for a tension headache to build up and eliminating the causes can effectively treat a tension headache. However, where this is not possible, several extraordinary natural remedies can alleviate tension headaches effectively. These eight great natural remedies can guide you on how to get rid of tension headaches without any side-effects.

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