Tension headaches are characterized by a mild feeling of pain and pressure on the forehead, along the sides of the head and across the back of the head. While the causes for tension headaches are not entirely clear, there are many home remedies that can help to alleviate symptoms and bring relief from the pain.
Peppermint is known to calm and soothe, opening blood vessels and encouraging circulation. It is theorized that this increased circulation can help get rid of tension headaches. For many headache sufferers, topical application of peppermint oil can fix the problem. Other solutions include drinking a warm cup of peppermint tea, or placing damp peppermint tea bags over the eyes for a few minutes.
Products that contain caffeine like soft drinks and coffee can increase the frequency of tension headaches. However, caffeine is addictive and abruptly removing caffeine from the diet can cause headaches. To eliminate caffeine from the diet, taper off your use of caffeine products gradually. Remember that caffeine is found in many food products—not just soda and coffee. As you're attempting to remove caffeine from your diet, read the ingredients on products you consume most often.
Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Inflammation is a common cause of tension headaches. Fortunately, there are many foods that are known to reduce inflammation and its effects. This includes:
- Fish and fish oil
- Whole grains
- Fruits and vegetables
- Spices like turmeric, black pepper, curry, ginger, clove, cayenne pepper and cinnamon
While there are some foods that are known to be anti-inflammatory specifically, the best way to reduce inflammation in the body is to maintain a healthy weight, and to do that, one must eat a healthy diet. Reducing processed foods and trans-fats from the diet can help with this as well.
Take Breaks During the Work Day
Sitting in the same position and focusing hard on one subject for a long period of time can cause muscle tension, which can contribute to the development of tension headaches. Take breaks throughout the day to alleviate this tension. Walk around and if possible, go outside.
Get a Massage
Massages can also help to relax the muscles, improve blood flow and reduce occurrences of tension headaches. You can either get a professional massage, or simply ask a friend or family member to massage your shoulders and neck.
If these solutions don't work, see a chiropractor like Davidson Chiropractic Clinic—especially if the tension headaches are recurrent. There are medicines that can help reduce inflammation and dull the pain for tension headaches.