Tension headaches are unfortunately very common and more women than men suffer from them. They are intense headaches that have various causes. Even though they are much lighter than migraines, they can last for hours and compromise your ability to work or enjoy your day. However, getting painkillers every time you have a tension headache is not the best solution. Your body might get used to them and require higher doses every time and of course, drugs are not natural, so they are taxing to your body. It is best to use painkillers only if all the other natural remedies have failed.
Even though this article is about treatment, prevention is also key to minimize your suffering from tension headaches. Foods that are high in sugar or artificial sweeteners can trigger tension headaches. If you work many hours in front of a computer screen, you also increase your risk of getting tension headaches. Make sure to get a good quality screen and always wear your glasses, if you have any kind of issues with your eyes. The same goes for reading books. And since many tension headaches are a result of tense muscles due to bad posture or tension, try to relax, stretch often and exercise a few times a week. Both your body and mind will benefit from these activities. As for hormonal tension headaches, there are still some things you can do. Drinking plenty of water and consuming fresh, whole foods instead of processed foods, coffee and soda will certainly help you experience a much lighter PMS.
Start by using one of these methods each time, in order to find out what works best for your own body. You can of course combine more than one treatments, if that’s what works for you. The good thing about natural remedies is that they cannot harm you.
Chamomile, spearmint tea and sage are all excellent to naturally treat headache. Make an infusion by letting the dry herb steep for 5-15′ covered and take your time to drink it. Go to a quiet place, sit comfortably and seep slowly. You can keep your eyes closed between seeps as well, to help your eyes relax. Even if you are in the office, you can go to an empty meeting room, the kitchen or outside.
Dip a cotton towel in warm water, squeeze it so that is damp but not dripping, and put it over your forehead and eyes. You can do that while seated, but it is better if you lie down, because then you avoid the extra strain for your neck. Lie down until the compress is cool and if needed, dip it in warm water again. In case the weather is warm or you have a fever that is accompanied by a headache, use a cool compress, instead of a warm one.
You don’t need to be a yoga master to perform simple breathing exercise. All you need to do is sit comfortably, with your back strait, and breathe deeply into your belly. You will know that you are doing it right, because your belly will expand. Try to visualize the fresh air as it enters your system and focus on it. This will help you both relax and better oxygenate your brain and other tissues. Often a few deep breaths is all that it takes for a tension headache to disappear.
You can fill a sock or any other type of cotton pouch with rice. Then you need to microwave it for 1-2 minutes. The rice stays warm for up to half an hour. Depending on where your headache feels the most intense, you can put the rice sock under your neck or on your forehead. The advantage of the rice sock, compared to the compress is that it is dry so it does not dampen your pillows and you can just fall asleep with it under your neck.
For some people, being active helps more than staying still. You can try walking outside and breathing fresh air or follow a ten minute yoga video, that will help your back, neck and shoulders relax. Since tense muscles are often the source of headaches, yoga stretching can be of great help.
Listen to your body, let it guide you and soon you will be headache-free!