AABP Integrative Pain Care

Our Favorite Tips to Relieve Tension Headaches

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If you’re caught off guard by a painful tension headache, there are strategies you can use to ease pain without medications. Learn some effective tips you can start using today.

Tension headaches are a common side effect of stress and some lifestyle habits you may not even be aware you have, including poor posture and an unhealthy sleep schedule. 

At AABP Integrative Pain Care, we provide a range of treatments for all types of acute and chronic headaches, including recurrent migraines. Our pain specialists also value the importance of preventive care and offer resources you can use to minimize your risk for additional head pain.

Why you get tension headaches

Tension headaches typically develop from overly tight muscles in the shoulders and neck. They cause mild to moderate discomfort or pain around your head and face.

The muscle tightness that contributes to tension headaches can stem from:

Tension headaches aren’t generally a warning sign of a more serious health issue but they can become chronic in some people, especially women. Chronic tension headaches can interfere with your daily routine if not properly managed. Many people find tension headache relief with over-the-counter pain medications.

It’s also worthwhile for those with frequent headaches to make lifestyle changes that relieve head pain before it worsens. There are also strategies you can use to prevent headaches from starting.

Tips for relieving tension headache pain

Our pain management specialists understand how frustrating it can be when a tension headache starts without much warning. If you’re not able to take medications or the drugs haven’t had time to work, we recommend the following tips to help ease your discomfort:

1.Get up and move

If you feel a tension headache coming on, get up and move around. You can also do a few stretching exercises such as gentle neck rolls and lifting your arms over your head to release tension in your upper body.

Daily exercise can also support your overall health and reduce your risk for additional headaches.

2. Take work breaks

Sitting for an extended period of time can worsen tension in your neck and shoulders. In addition to stretching exercises you can do from your chair, try to take a few breaks and walk around the room when you’re sitting for too long.

Frequent breaks are also important if you use a computer for work. Too much screen time can lead to eye strain that triggers painful tension headaches.

3. Book a massage

If you have a lingering headache and can’t release tight muscles through exercise, schedule a professional massage. A massage therapist can target and relax overly tight muscles throughout your body to ease headache pain.

Regular massages are also good for improving blood circulation and reducing stress to prevent additional headaches.

4. Follow a consistent sleep schedule

Going to bed at a time that ensures you get 8-9 hours of sleep each night prevents fatigue and muscle tension. Shut down your electronics at least one hour before bed, so you have time to unwind.

Sleep is also a good remedy for tension headache pain. If you can grab a nap at the start of a headache, you may be able to minimize the pain before it worsens.

5. Follow up with our headache specialists

If you still need help managing frequent tension headaches, you can meet with our team to discuss your options for treatment. We customize a care plan to your needs and can recommend additional resources you can use to prevent additional headaches.

Call the AABP Integrative Pain Care office near you to schedule a tension headache evaluation or book a consultation online today.