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Tension Headache:5 Effective Strategies To Cure

July 14, 2023

8 min read

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Author : United We Care
Tension Headache:5 Effective Strategies To Cure

Introduction

Are you someone who easily gets concerned about issues? Do you often get headaches, like someone has put a band around your head and they are pulling the strings? That seems like a “Tension Headache.” You’re not alone in dealing with this type of headache. Roughly 70% of the world has complained of having a tension headache. Since I was one of them, I can help you understand what exactly tension headache is, its symptoms, its cause, and how you can manage it.

“Tension is a habit. Relaxing is a habit. Bad habits can be broken, good habits formed.” ―William James [1]

Understanding Tension Headache

While I was growing up, I used to see my mom complain of headaches quite often, and then she put an ointment and tied a scarf around her head. She used to say, “It anyway feels like there’s a tight band around my head, and someone is only tightening it. I might as well put a physical band and hope the pain would go away.”

Because my mother was someone who would never go to a doctor, when she did, we got to know that these headaches are called Tension Headaches. You know, the ones that feel like a band around your head. As I already mentioned, roughly about 70% of people globally have at least once had a tension headache, in different degrees from mild to moderate, of course [4].

Ultimately, I even started getting tension headaches. But because of my mom, we were prepared, and I was able to treat my tension headaches quickly. I will share with you what helped me and my mother.

Symptoms of Tension Headaches

If you want to know if your headache is a normal headache or a tension headache, you can check for these signs [4]:

Symptoms of Tension Headaches

  1. Headache Location: One of the main differences between tension headaches and other headaches is their location. Look at your head and pinpoint the areas where you feel the pain. If it is like a circle around your head, basically the forehead, the temples, or the back of the head, then you can be confirmed that it’s a tension headache.
  2. Pain Intensity: If you have tension headaches, then you will not have too much pain. Usually, it will be between mild and moderate. If it’s a throbbing pain where you can feel your heartbeat, then it’s less likely to be a tension headache.
  3. Duration: Do you know tension headaches can last anything between 30 minutes to a couple of days? I remember when I used to get a tension headache, it would last about three to five days. So, ask yourself how long you’ve been having the headache.
  4. Associated Symptoms: If you get a tension headache, you might become a little sensitive to light and noise around you. You might even feel a tender scalp or mild tenderness in your neck and shoulder muscles.
  5. Absence of Nausea and Vomiting: Unlike other headaches, you will not face any symptoms of nausea or vomiting if you have a tension headache. So, if that’s not the case, then it’s like to be a tension headache.

Types of Tension Headache

There are two primary types of tension headaches: episodic and chronic [5].

  1. Episodic Tension Headaches: These are the most common type of tension headaches and can happen at any time. If you have stress, pain in the neck, anxiety, etc., then you can trigger an episodic tension headache. Usually, you won’t get them for more than 15 times a month, and they can last anything between 30 minutes to a few days.
  2. Chronic Tension Headaches- These are tension headaches that have more severe and last longer. You can get them for more than 15 days a month and can last many, many hours and days. In fact, if you have anxiety, depression, or use any medications, then you are more prone to get a chronic tension headache.

Causes of Tension Headache

If you’re asking yourself why you get tension headaches, then here’s an answer [6]:

Causes of Tension Headache

  1. Muscle Tension: If you have stiffness in your neck or shoulders, then you can easily get tension headaches. Since our shoulders, neck, and head are connected, whatever happens in one area impacts the other.
  2. Stress and Anxiety: If you already have symptoms of anxiety and depression, then you’ll be more prone to getting tension headaches. When you have anxiety or depression, your stress levels can be high. High stress levels impact the muscles in the neck and shoulders, and hence, you can end up getting a tension headache.
  3. Lifestyle Factors: If you are someone who doesn’t sit straight and has a bad posture, then you can also give yourself a spasm in your neck and shoulders, triggering tension headaches. In fact, if you have a desk job or don’t get up for any physical activity, then you can also get tension headaches. Other lifestyle habits like not getting enough sleep, not having meals on life, or having too much caffeine can also add to tension headaches.
  4. Environmental Factors: Let’s stay there is construction work happening in your house, or you have been in the sun for too long, then you are highly likely to get a tension headache. Certain strong odors, like perfumes or sudden changes in the weather, can also be triggers.
  5. Medication Overuse: Sometimes, we go overboard with painkillers, even if they are prescribed by a doctor. Rather than helping us, we become immune to them. If we continue to have them, we can trigger chronic tension headaches.

Treatment for Tension Headaches 

Treatment for tension headaches typically involves [3]:Treatment for Tension Headache

  1. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: You can go to your local pharmacy and ask for medicine for headaches. If the symptoms increase or last more than a few hours, then you need to go to a doctor and get yourself checked properly.
  2. Muscle Relaxants: Some doctors may even give you a muscle relaxant just so that the muscles around your neck and shoulders can get rid of the stiffness. That can help you treat even your tension headaches.
  3. Stress Management Techniques: One of the best ways to avoid getting a tension headache is by practicing stress-management techniques. You can bring meditation, breath control, yoga, etc., into your daily life to not get over-stressed. In fact, you can speak with a therapist, and they can help you treat the factors making you stressed using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), etc.
  4. Physical Therapy: You can even get sessions with a physiotherapist to help you get rid of the stiffness in your neck and shoulders. In fact, they can even help you correct your posture. They use physical exercises, massages, etc., to help you manage this pain and stiffness.
  5. Lifestyle Modifications: Did you know that exercising regularly can make you feel energetic and release happy hormones in your bloodstream, making you less stressed? So, take 30 minutes every day for some sort of physical activity. That way, you can reduce stress, improve your mood, and get rid of muscle pains and tension headaches. Plus, you need to cut down on your caffeine and alcohol intake.

Read more about What is Yoga Nidra:5 Amazing Benefits

Conclusion

Tension headaches are more common than I thought initially when I started getting these headaches. But, over time, I was able to deal with its symptoms. So if I tell you that so can you, then I wouldn’t be lying. There is a lot that you can do. You can understand why you’re getting these headaches and what it is that is causing you to be so stressed. Once you understand these underlying factors, you can get all the help you need through medicines, physical therapy, and stress management techniques. Just give yourself time, and you will get better.

Seek support for tension headaches from our wellness and mental health experts team at United We Care. Our experienced counselors will provide guidance and the most effective methods to promote well-being and manage tension headaches. Please feel free to contact us today for personalized care and support.

References

[1] “William James Quote,” A-Z Quotes. https://www.azquotes.com/quote/784602

[2] “Tension headache – Symptoms and causes,” Mayo Clinic, Sep. 29, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tension-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20353977

[3] @ClevelandClinic, “Tension Headaches: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments,” Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8257-tension-type-headaches

[4] C. Philips, “Tension headache: Theoretical problems,” Behaviour Research and Therapy, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 249–261, 1978, doi: 10.1016/0005-7967(78)90023-2.

[5] D. Chowdhury, “Tension-type headache,” Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, vol. 15, no. 5, p. 83, 2012, doi: 10.4103/0972-2327.100023.

[6] E. Loder and P. Rizzoli, “Tension-type headache,” BMJ, vol. 336, no. 7635, pp. 88–92, Jan. 2008, doi: 10.1136/bmj.39412.705868.ad.

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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