Can Relax: Natural Cures for Tension Headaches
by Sárka-Jonae Miller
See more articles by Sarka_Jonae Miller
(The Best Years in Life)
Tension headaches are most common kind,
so chances are that either from stress, overexertion, or a really bad night's
sleep you've experienced the sensation of feeling like someone put your head in
a vice. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that as many as 78
percent of people have experienced these headaches. A tension headache is caused
by a simple contraction of muscles in the skull, but it doesn't take complicated
to cause massive discomfort. Fortunately, you don't have to choose between
suffering and popping pills. There are many gentle, natural ways to fight
tension headaches, though going back to bed or taking a relaxing bubble bath
aren't bad ideas either.
Tension Headaches and Natural
several essential oils associated with relaxation and muscle pain, but if
you're head is really hurting the number one oil of choice is peppermint oil.
Peppermint not only helps to relax the muscles, it also creates a cooling
sensation that numbs the pain. Smelling peppermint oil might stimulate
whole-body relaxation, but for a tension headache apply it to the area around
your temples and forehead following the hairline. Research suggests this oil may
work as well as Tylenol for pain relief. Just don't get it into your eyes or
you'll have a new source of pain to deal with.
Oils such as
menthol and clove are associated with reducing pain, but instead of tracking
down an mixing a bunch of oils together consider picking up some Tiger Balm. The
inexpensive clear ointment is a favorite with many athletes for treating muscle
pain, and according to the University of Maryland Medical Center it works for
tension headaches too. Simply rub some along the hairline and your headache pain
may decrease. Avoid getting Tiger Balm in your hair though, unless you like the
Supplements for Tension
oils can minimize the pain in your head, supplements can work internally to make
you feel better. Some evidence suggests that butterbur and feverfew fight
migraines, and some people believe that both natural substances could be
beneficial for tension headaches. Unless you're pregnant or breastfeeding, or
have a known allergy, why not do your own study and see if one of these
supplements works for you? If your doctor approves, of course.
A 50 to 75
milligram dose of butterbur extract twice a day or between 50 to 80 milligrams
of feverfew taken once daily may treat or even prevent tension headaches.
Feverfew is not safe to take with blood thinners.
supplement you may want to stock up on is vitamin D. Not everyone gets enough
from the sun, especially people who live in areas with little natural sunlight.
At least one study found a relationship between reduced headaches and
supplementing with vitamin D and calcium. Vitamin D deficiency is a suspected
cause of headaches.
Acupuncture and Biofeedback
There are many
non-pharmaceutical ways to treat headaches, a main one being activities that
promote relaxation. For some people, hypnosis or guided imagery work. You can
even buy audio programs to listen to in the privacy of your own home. If you
want something a little more scientific, there's always biofeedback. Using
harmless sensors, an expert in biofeedback can teach you to control muscle
tension, and you'll know it's working not only from how you feel but from data
that tells you what your muscles are doing. Biofeedback systematically teaches
you how to relax the muscles causing your tension headaches at will, which
makes a lot of sense really if you think about how easy it is to relax your
shoulders or let go of tension in any area of your body with a little practice.
Acupuncture could also be a drug-free answer to tension headaches. Research
hasn't been conclusive but some evidence suggests that acupuncture does decrease
pain from tension headaches, both chronic tension headaches and ones that come
Of course, all
of these cures for tension headaches will only go so far if you continue to
trigger the headaches. Certain food additives and medications can cause tension
headaches, so figuring out what those are and abstaining from them could cure
your headache. It's a good idea to avoid additives anyway. If you have a habit
of clenching your jaw, straining your eyes, maintaining one position with your
head for prolonged periods, or skipping meals, you might want to look into help
in breaking that bad habit. Smoking could also contribute.
everything you shouldn't be doing anyway if you want to be healthy could lead to
tension headaches. So, exercise regularly, eat well, get adequate sleep, and
focus on stress management if you want to cure and prevent tension headaches.
Use vanilla and other natural
remedies to relieve and prevent headaches
Natural Help for Migraine
About the Author
Sárka-Jonae Miller is a health and fitness expert. She began working in the
fitness industry in 2000 while pursuing a BS in journalism at Syracuse
University. She became certified as a personal fitness trainer and group
exercise instructor in 2003. She has also received training in massage therapy.
Sárka also writes fiction. She is the author of the chick lit novel,
Boyfriends. Get more health and wellness tips on Sárka's
Natural Healing Tips
blog or join her on
Sarka-Jonae Miller's "Between Boyfriends eBook"
When "the one" breaks her heart, Jan vows to change.
Read the book
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twist on the chick-lit genre."
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