How to Treat and Prevent Tension Headaches

How to Treat and Prevent Tension Headaches

In addition to causing discomfort, headaches can also make you anxious or depressed and affect your relationships, your productivity and the quality of your life.

A tension headache is pain or discomfort in your head, scalp, or neck. Tension headache is a common type of headache. It can occur at any age, but is most common in teens and adults.

Here are the top 10 ways to treat and prevent tension headaches.


A good scalp massage for a few minutes can also provide significant relief from stress-related headaches. It will help reduce stress, ease muscle soreness and tension, and improve blood circulation.
When massaging, focus on the temporal regions or the occipital area (the back of the head) for the best results.

Mix 1 or 2 drops of thyme or rosemary essential oil in 2 tablespoons of warm olive or coconut oil.
Dab the oil on each temple and on your forehead.
Massage it gently into the skin.
Then, sit quietly for several minutes to let this home remedy work.
You can also consider a whole-body massage for relief.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar works especially well for migraines, but it is also effective for tension headaches. It helps balance the pH levels in the body and aids in detoxification.
Plus, it offers anti-inflammatory benefits that provide relief from a throbbing headache. It is also effective at reducing your stress level.

Add 1 tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of water.
Optionally, add a little honey.
Drink this once or twice daily to prevent as well as treat headaches.
You can also drink chamomile tea and green tea to help ease headaches.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil can calm your nerves and reduce your stress level, making it one of the best remedies for tension headaches.
Topical application helps relax your muscles and nerves as well as promoting blood circulation.

A 2007 study published in American Family Physician found that topical application of peppermint oil may be effective in the treatment of tension headaches.

Find a quiet place to relax. Massage a few drops of peppermint oil onto your temples, forehead, and back of your neck. Breathe deeply while doing so.
Alternatively, you can place 2 wet peppermint tea bags on your closed eyelids or forehead for 5 to 10 minutes.

Improve Your Posture

One common cause of tension headaches is muscle tension and tightness. This tightness occurs all over the head and neck, and poor posture is one of the main reasons behind it
Improving your posture can make all the difference in the world when it comes to tension headaches. Good posture can help keep your muscles from tensing up.

Work hard to improve your posture, both when sitting and standing.

When standing, hold your shoulders back and your head level, while pulling in your abdomen and buttocks.
When sitting, keep your thighs parallel to the ground and your head facing straight ahead.
Also, while walking and lying down, make a conscious effort to correct your posture.


An alternative therapy, acupressure is also effective at treating tension headaches. Acupressure is like acupuncture but without the needles. You simply exert pressures on certain points, which when stimulated can reduce headache pain.
One of the acupressure points to reduce a headache due to stress is the drilling bamboo point.

To find the drilling bamboo points, look for the points where the bridge of your nose meets your eye sockets, just below the eyebrows.

B-Complex Vitamins

Many B vitamins are involved in the formation of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which may be deficient in people who suffer from migraines. Sadly, millions of Americans are coming up short on one or more of the B vitamins and this is causing energy slumps, unhealthy blood cell and adrenal effects, foggy thinking and headache symptoms.

A B-complex vitamin includes a group of eight water-soluble vitamins: thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, biotin and pantothenic acid. Together, these vitamins improve brain cells, circulation, immune function and cardiovascular health.

Stretching and Moving

Staying in one position for an extended period of time, like sitting at your desk or computer, can lead to body tension and create headache symptoms.

Plus, let’s face it, many of us spend hours a day hunched over, such as peering at your smartphone. This position, with your head sticking out, puts an extra 20-30 pounds of pressure on your neck!

No wonder such a position leads to major tension headaches. An easy way to avoid this chain reaction is to take a break every 30-60 minutes — stretch and move your head and neck around in a circular motion. This will relieve the built up stress and can help in avoiding headaches


Particularly if you are struggling with migraines, resting or sitting in a darkened room can help relieve symptoms and it can be a basic headache treatment at home. Close your eyes and focus on relieving tension in your neck, back and shoulders.


When reaching for a compress, most people begin to wonder whether they should be using a hot or a cold compress. The answer: either could work for a headache. Many people with tension headaches prefer using a warm compress, while people with migraines often prefer cold. Whether migraine fighting or fending off a tension headache, either, however, could offer pain relief, so if you try one with no success, you can try the other.

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