If you want quick ways to relieve a common tension headache, we’re about to give you some of the best tips available. We’ll start with a number of things that you can do at home to get rid of a headache. We will conclude with a natural therapy that has helped many patients, even those suffering from tension headaches on a recurring basis, to significantly reduce or even eliminate their headaches. Your long-term, natural relief from headaches starts here.
#1 Take Your Hat Off
This is a simple enough solution. Sometimes a tension headache is merely a signal that something is causing physical stress to your head. It may be that the hat is too tight, or that you are particularly sensitive to anything touching your head (at least at the moment). You don’t have to stop wearing hats. Just be sure to wear the right size hat and take it off if you feel a headache coming on (tip: you’ll usually feel a tension headache in your neck first).
#2 Use Better Posture
While we are addressing the connection between the neck and tension headaches, we should also mention the importance of good posture. Many common headaches begin with tension in the neck and shoulders. While much of this tension can be due to stress, it can also be related to poor posture. Be especially careful if you use mobile devices frequently or you work sitting at a desk all day.
#3 Manage Stress Levels
Speaking of stress, this is one of the primary triggers for tension headaches. It is no secret that the body stores stress in the neck and shoulders. That’s why a good massage can do so much to help us relax. Other things that you can try to manage stress include taking short breaks throughout the day, exercising regularly, taking up a new hobby, or even taking a short vacation. Many people find that being constantly available is a stressor, so have some time each day when you put your phone on silent. Family dinner is a great time to disconnect and focus on your loved ones.
#4 Ice Your Neck
Inflammation is another problem that can lead to tension headaches. While you may be tempted to take a hot shower, this will push more blood to the area and increase inflammation. Cold is necessary to reduce swelling. Remember to wrap your ice pack in a towel, so it does not directly come into contact with the skin of your neck, and only use ice for about 20 minutes at a time.
#5 Manage Your Caffeine Intake
No, we’re not going to tell you that you have to give up coffee. In fact, a little caffeine is good for blood flow, so your morning cup of joe may do more than just help you wake up – it may help prevent a tension headache from forming. But too much caffeine can ramp up the body to the point where headaches are more likely, so it is time to end the full pot of coffee per day habit.
#6 Stay Hydrated
The other problem with too much coffee is that it is a diuretic. That’s why you may have to go to the bathroom not long after each cup. Unfortunately, this can dehydrate you if you are not replacing the water. Be sure to drink at least half a gallon of water per day. You may want to download an app to track your water intake for a few days. It may surprise you how far off you are from the daily suggested minimum water intake.
#7 Avoid Medication Overuse
Many over the counter (OTC) pain relievers can actually cause rebound headaches if you use them too often or for too long. This creates a vicious cycle that results in more headaches and more pills. If you think this may be part of your problem, the only way to know for sure is to get off the pills for a couple of weeks and see if you suddenly experience fewer headaches.
#8 Get More Exercise
Daily exercise is a great preventative measure for tension-type headaches. First of all, it is a great stress reliever, so it may take away one of your biggest triggers. Second, it helps to improve blood flow, so you overcome one of the main underlying issues that lead to tension headaches.
#9 Improve Your Pain Tolerance
Some things hurt your pain tolerance. Not getting enough sleep, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, eating junk food, and social isolation are just a few of things that researchers have associated with higher pain levels in the body. A few lifestyle changes may lead to those headaches not feeling as bad.
#10 Upper Cervical Chiropractic – Getting to Common Tension Headaches at the Source
The top two bones in the neck, the C1 and C2, could be the underlying problem when it comes to tension headaches, Misalignments in this area can affect brainstem function, reduce blood flow to the head, and may even increase intracranial pressure. To learn if this is the source of your headaches, contact a practitioner in your area to schedule an examination as soon as possible. You may be a few gentle adjustments away from relieving one of the primary contributing factors to your headaches. For some patients, upper cervical chiropractic care has meant the end of headaches altogether!