Treatment of Tension Type Headaches

Many people try to treat themselves but this misuse of medication can lead to unwanted results.

Medication used for acute pain;

Prescription and non-prescription pain-relieving medication can be used to reduce the pain.

Changes to lifestyle

Resting, ice packs and cold compresses or a long, hot shower may be all you need to relieve tension headaches. Trying different methods before resorting to medication can assist in reducing the intensity and frequency of chronic tension headaches. You can try some of the following:

Manage your stress levels: Reducing stress is a good option which involves advance planning and organizing your busy periods well. Another important point to note is that during these times it is good to create the opportunity to rest. If you are faced with a stressful situation then you can try one of the other options.

Hot or cold compress (your choice): A hot or cold compress on an aching muscle can help alleviate tension headaches. You can use a warm pillow, a hot water bottle or a warm towel to create a hot compress. A hot shower can also help. When using a cold compress, wrap the ice in a cloth to protect your skin. You can also use packets of frozen vegetables.

Correct your posture: Correct posture will help your muscles contract correctly. Keep your shoulders back and your head level when you are standing. Draw your stomach and hips in. When seated, be sure that thighs are parallel to the ground and your head is upright.

Coping and support

It can be difficult to live with chronic pain. Chronic pain may cause anxiety and moodiness. It can severely impact your relationships, productivity and quality of life.

Cognitive behavior therapy can help you to manage stress and is effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of headaches.

Other relaxation techniques: Methods which help muscles to relax including taking deep breaths, yoga, and meditation can help your body to rest. You can read books on these subjects or learn relaxation techniques by listening to audio recordings.

Learning and correctly implementing stress management techniques can also be an effective option to help you reduce your use of medication.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the most effective way of avoiding headaches:

  • Make sure you have sufficient sleep, not too much and not too little
  • Avoid smoking
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat regular, balanced meals
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and sugar