Do you suffer from tension headache, commonly known as stress headache?
Wouldn’t you want to know the stress headache relief techniques to ease you from the pain?
I do suffer sometimes from such tensions headaches, and am always on the lookout for better stress headache relief methods. Do you too?
Experts say that tension headaches are more common in middle-aged women!
Not only that, about 20% of the world’s population suffered from it at some time or the other, including men.
This mental stress often translates into and extends to physical stress and pain in the body. A healthy lifestyle would definitely help reduce stress related headaches.
If you wish to change your lifestyle then you can read my posts on lifestyle besides my post about how to cope with stress in general.
But this post is particularly about headaches arising due to stress and other factors, and the ways to get rid of them.
You all can make your life easy if you know the best stress headache relief techniques and follow them.
Let’s start quickly by first trying to understand all about stress headache, which is technically known as tension-type headache.
“Every head has its own headache” ~ Arab Proverb
What is Stress Headache
Stress headache is a feeling of constant pressure and tightness, or a band-like pain on the sides of the head, forehead, or back of the head and neck.
You may also experience stiff neck, nausea, slurred speech, confusion, or weakness, accompanied with fever. Have you ever gone through any of these symptoms?
The throbbing pain arising out of tension headache is generally mild to moderate, but can be severe at times. It almost feels like your head is being squeezed!
Such pain may last for a few minutes, hours to days, weeks, or even months. In cases of chronic tension headaches, the pain almost remains all the time, though varies in intensity.
It helps in seeking stress headache relief if you know its cause.
What are the Stress Headache Causes
A stress headache is not simply a mental phenomenon. Although stress headaches are the most common form of headaches among adults, its causes are not well understood.
Stress is the biggest factor of tension headaches. It includes mental stress and emotional tension.
This stress could be due to work, your boss or colleague at your workplace, conflicts in the family, a fight with your loved one, or any other uncomfortable situation.
Apart from stress, some other factors to consider while seeking stress headache relief measures include:
- Sleep deprivation
- Inadequate rest
- Hunger or meals at irregular times
- Food containing tyramine
- Red wine
- Bright sunlight or changes in weather
- Strong smells
- Tightly tied hair
- Strenuous exercise
- Excessive sex
- Excessive caffeine and its abrupt withdrawal
- Menstrual periods
If you are like me who spends a lot of time sitting on the computer or laptop, or need to work sitting for long hours at your desk – you need to take care of the following to avoid tension headache:
- Bad posture
- Hunch or stoop while sitting
- Uncomfortable position
- Eyestrain or squinting to read
- Using a chair without any low back support
- Incorrect position of the monitor/screen, which should be at your eye level
- Holding the phone between the ear and shoulders while talking for long hours
- Using the computer mouse without any elbow support
Stress headache is thought to be caused by muscle tension or tightness around the head and neck. It is also assumed that these tension headaches have something to do with the mixed signals sent by the nerves to the brain.
Daily stress could be one of the causes that may lead to chronic tension headaches. Before that happens, you should either seek self-help measures or professional help for stress headache relief.
How to Seek Stress Headache Relief
The action plan to seek relief from stress headache consists of –
- Lowering stress levels
- Living a healthy lifestyle
- Getting enough sleep
- Exercising regularly and keep moving
- Relaxing your eyes
- Eating healthy food at regular intervals
- Quit smoking
Is this difficult to achieve?
You may need to make efforts to change your lifestyle, but it will all be for your good. Most importantly, take care of your stress levels and body posture.
Remember one thing when you try to lower your stress levels that if you can’t change the stressful situation; change your reaction towards it.
This will help you maintain your composure. You also need to achieve mind-control so that you don’t raise your stress and anxiety level, and eventually not have stress headache.
A good posture puts minimal strain on your ligaments, muscles, tendons, and bones. So, they don’t get tensed up.
However, poor posture puts continual strain on your shoulders, neck, and upper back. This causes the muscle fibers to tear.
As a result you feel tightness in those areas and the flow of blood to the back of your head is restricted, besides causing some nerve ending irritation too.
Don’t worry; you do have an army of stress headache relief techniques that can really help you normalize the muscles, nerves, and achieve mental balance.
Here’s a short video that shows some exercises that you can do on your own to seek relief from stress headache, whenever you take a break from your work.
Dr. Kevin McDougal ~ Get Rid of Computer Neck Headaches and Shoulder Pain ~ You Tube Video
10 Stress Headache Relief Techniques
There are various techniques that range from ancient to modern ones that bring stress headache relief by reducing mental stress, and restoring natural muscle state.
Some of these techniques and methods are –
1. Meditation – It allows your mind to settle and release the mental stress. You find your relaxed state and achieve mindfulness, which releases your stress headache. Try it out – it works wonders!
2. Massage – This is mainly for muscle relaxation and to bring stress headache relief by reducing the stress and tension in the tender muscles of the neck, shoulders, and back of your head.
3. Walking – It’s not only good for muscle relaxation but you can also meditate while walking and achieve relief in stress. I do a lot of this to ease of my stress levels.
4. Hot or cold compress – This is to relax the muscles by either hot or cold application, either with the help of hot flannel or ice pack to your neck or forehead.
5. Acupuncture – You get temporary relief from tension headache when acupuncture practitioners slightly pierce special points on your body with the help of extremely thin, disposable needles.
6. Deep breathing – Breathing exercises help you re-oxygenate your body and supply more oxygen to the brain as well as all parts of the body, which allows the tension to be released.
7. Biofeedback – You learn to control certain body responses, which help reduce the pain. It requires connecting a device to your body that provides the feedback to various body functions like your heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension.
8. Behavior therapy – You learn to manage stress by getting involved in a talk therapy with your counselor, who helps you learn new ways to cope with life and stress.
9. Yoga – This is an ancient Indian practice to achieve mind body balance, and full relaxation of the mind and body. It consists of various asanas or body poses/postures.
10. Progressive muscle relaxation – This way you gradually and completely relax all the muscles of your body taking them one at time. You tense, hold, and relax the muscles along with positive affirmations in your mind.
Apart from these techniques and method of achieving stress headache relief, you can also use art, music, mental imagery, games, aromatherapy, essential oils, spas, and even sex for relaxation.
Remember, anything different from what you usually do, or which takes away your mind from what you are doing – will ease you. It will help remove your stress headaches, if you are having them.
You should drink plenty of water to flush out the body toxins, and herbal tea to rejuvenate your body. I know most of these things work because I’ve tried them and seen the difference.
Mostly you suffer from tension headache because of your faulty lifestyle. Once you learn to avoid stress and learn the right way of living, the stress headache vanishes.
Over to you –
Have you ever experienced tension headaches? How did you achieve your stress headache relief? What were the stress headache relief techniques you used and how effective did you find them? Share in the comments below.
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos
Posted on: April 5th, 2013
Last Updated on: January 6th, 2014