A tension headache is a very common type of headache that can affect your head behind the neck or around the forehead. It can cause moderate, intense pain or a feel like a tight band around the head.
Usually many people experience tension headaches on an average of one of two times per month even if this problem can also be chronic.
This post discuss about 5 natural remedies to treat tensions headaches, commons causes, supplements and some considerations to diagnose and find the right treatment.
The main cause of the pain is due to some muscle contractions in the head and neck regions that can be developed by bad postures, foods or weather conditions like humidity or cold.
The pain or discomfort is also associated with muscle tightness of head neck or scalp. Sleeping with the neck in a bad position or in a cold room can also cause a tension headache.
Symptoms of a tension headache can include pressure around the scalp and forehead or a dull head pain. If the pain is intense it might also be confused with a migraine even if a tension headache usually don’t give symptoms like nausea and vomiting or sensitivity to light and noise like migraine does.
The effects of tension headaches can effect considerably the quality of your life and daily activities especially if is chronic. Your ability to function properly can be affected by some complications that prevent you to do job or social activities.
There is no specific test that can detect a tension type headache, usually is the descriptions of the symptoms and other medical history that can determine that.
A doctor might prescribe you to do a CT ( computer tomography) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These imaging tests may be better help to find the causes and pain association with some unusual symptoms.
A typical tension type headache can last between 30 to 45 minutes but it also can recur for few days. If it is chronic the pain can be continuous with an intensity that can fluctuate every time.
When to consult a professional
Most headaches can be treated without medication and occasionally with a pain reliever however, you should consult your doctor if you experience headache after you have a head injury.
A headache that occurs after a head injury, fever or vomit symptoms associated with, blurred vision or numbness of the arms or legs;
Headaches that require to use often pain-relief medications or loss of consciousness and that increase in intensity over time.
5 simple remedies to treat tension headache!
1. Hot and cold applications
You can opt for hot or cold applications for the hot one you can buy a heat pack in a drugstore or make it one using a small piece of fabric filled about two third with uncooked rice. When needed you can microwave the pack for about one minute at a medium heat and apply it to your neck or forehead for relief.
For the cold option you can use an ice bag or pack covered with a cloth and apply it wherever is the source of pain. It is important to limit both types of applications for no more than 15 minutes to avoid muscles stiffness.
2. Take some magnesium
Magnesium has been shown to be very effective in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks as some studies reveals that 600 mg of oral magnesium can reduce both the frequency and intensity of headaches symptoms.
It has fewer side effects than prescription medicines and it can be helpful for other important body functions like blood sugar control and nerve transmission.
3. Essential oils
Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids extracted from several plants that have aromatic essences with numerous health benefits.
Peppermint and lavender essential oils have been the most effective for treating headaches in general. Usually they are applied to the temples or forehead to relief from tension.
Also other essential oil used for reduce migraines triggered by stress are chamomile, rosemary and eucalyptus oils which have also other healthy properties like anti-inflammatory and pain-killing.
4. B complex vitamins
B vitamins are a group of important nutrients that are useful for many functions in the body. One for example, is to help neurotransmitter to turn food into energy. Some types of of B vitamins have beneficial effects in reducing headaches as shown by some studies like Vitamin B2, B12 and pyridoxine B6.
B vitamins are water soluble and the excess of riboflavin is expelled through the urine so they are pretty safe if taken regularly. If you are thinking to take this supplement consult your doctor about the right dosage to your daily regimen.
5. Massage therapy
Massages can be also a very effective solution as most of the pain in the upper neck comes from the result of tension of the muscles from a poor posture, general tension derived from everyday stress or a repetitive workout routine.
Massages can release shortened muscles and the tension held in the muscles of the head, shoulder and neck.
Massage therapy is a form of manual work in which various part of the body are rubbed, stroked and pressed . Some types of tension pain may need a specific form of massage. You should spend some time to research which one is most suitable for your need (Trigger point, deep tissue, shiatsu, etc.) and get good referrals for a practitioner that can address and fix your issue.
The Bottom line
A tension headache can generate mild to moderate pain, it is the most common type and its causes are still not well known. It is usually described like a painful stretch pain like a tight band around your head or on the upper neck.
It can be treated in different ways and often the best way is to find a balance between promote healthy habits, use the appropriate medications if needed and to experiment which solution work better for you.
This post have discussed few simple tension headache remedies that have helped so far many people which are easy to try and not even expensive definitely worth to try. Please leave a comment or your experience if you wish also to share.. See you on the next healthy episode!!