Many of us suffer tension headaches. They’re often brushed off by doctors, who tell us that we need to limit the amount of stress that we feel. If only the actual ability to stop the stress was as simple as telling ourselves that.
Tension headaches can also be known as stress headaches, and people are suffering them describe pain that is on both sides of the head with sometimes stiffness in the neck. Most of the time the headaches will disappear within a couple of hours. Some people just have a blast of pain for a couple of minutes.
While these headaches don’t usually stop you from doing everyday activities, they’re annoying. They can also be depressing if they happen often enough. Why should you just have to put up with pain on a daily basis because of the tension in your body? Doctors will prescribe mild painkillers, but that’s about it.
So it’s time to stop the tension headaches yourself. Here are seven top tips that will help you add more peace in your life, relax your muscles, and get rid of the pain. Unfortunately, the tips aren’t going to work overnight. The aim is to reduce the amount of stress that you feel throughout the day to help relax the muscles. However, we’re more helpful than the doctor who says “just reduce your stress and the headaches will go!”
Start By Focusing on a Better Night’s Sleep
Lack of sleep is one of the top causes of tension headaches. When your body hasn’t had the proper amount of rest, it will start to put pressure on various elements. You will release the bad hormones into the body, including cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone. At the same time, your muscles won’t have had the chance to relax and repair overnight, so you start to carry the tension in them.
If you’re struggling to sleep, you will want to look at your sleeping pattern. One bad night isn’t going to make a major difference, just like one good night isn’t going to make a world of difference in the middle of a bunch of bad ones. What you want to avoid is a constant cycling of struggling to sleep and then stressing over the lack of sleep that you’re getting.
Setting up a good bedtime routine is crucial for a good night’s sleep. We are all creatures of habit; this is in our human nature. Just like children, we need to help our brains wind down and get ready for sleep.
Some people find reading relaxing, while others prefer to have a warm bath. There are others who like to listen to nature music, while some people like to burn incense. Work in the way that you prefer to wind down.
This will involve getting rid of the phone. The light in LED tricks the brain into thinking that it is still daylight so you won’t start to feel tired in the same way that you would without that phone light glaring in your face.
Boost Happy Hormones with Exercise
Did you know that you can force a balance of hormones? If you release more happy hormones in your body, you balance out the cortisol and stop it from being released into the body further. So what you really want to do is find a way to boost a number of happy hormones that are being released.
One of the best ways to do this is through exercise. Your body needs you to exercise regularly, and doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. This doesn’t have to be high-intensity gym workouts, either. You can go for a game of soccer in the park or enjoy a power walk with your best friend.
It’s all about being more active to get the brain working in the right way. You’ll also find that your muscles relax because your body isn’t holding onto the stress that you feel.
At the same time, exercise helps to release the body’s natural painkiller. When you do get a headache, your body won’t actually feel it because it’s releasing all the right hormones throughout your body.
The more exercise you do, the better your body will look. You’ll feel great and be more confident, helping to make you feel happier and less stress.
Follow a Better and Healthier Diet
It’s time to cut out the food that is causing your tension headaches. This includes the sugar and caffeine that you get on a daily basis. These types of foods are creating an imbalance in hormones and energy crashes. When you start to feel tired, your concentration and clarity are affected. You’re more likely to make small mistakes, which will just annoy you.
When you follow a healthy and balanced diet, you will get all the good nutrients that your body needs. This includes the likes of iron and antioxidants. They will give you more energy, support your immune system, boost your brain function, and so much more.
The healthier your diet is, the more chance you have of maintaining your weight or losing excess weight. Eating fewer calories is much easier and sticking to a diet becomes fun and just part of your normal daily routine.
Weight loss is important for reducing tension headaches. Your body has to do more when you are overweight, putting it under strain. You’re carrying around unnecessary pounds, which only just adds to the tension within the muscles around the back, shoulders, and neck. These pounds will end up adding to your tension headache side effect.
Eat More Anti-Inflammatory Foods
While focusing on a healthier diet, you will also want to think about adding foods that offer anti-inflammatory properties. These types of foods include onion, garlic, and bell peppers. They help to keep the inflammatory response down while protecting the body from other ailments and diseases at the same time.
Inflammation is a common cause of a tension headache. The muscles in the neck and shoulders contract, while the area around inflammed and puts pressure on the nerves. The head is the area that suffers from all this, but you can also feel it on the sides of the neck, especially along the sides of the middle towards your skull.
Some doctors will recommend taking aspirin or something similar. In fact, there are some that recommend taking a pill every day just to avoid any of the headache-causing inflammation. It’s commonly used as a prevention rather than a cure. You’ll want to think carefully about this action.
The body gets used to the medication that you give it. Eventually, the medication that you used won’t be strong enough so you will have to change tactics or increase your medication. There are also side effects, making the medication unsafe for some people.
With natural methods, you can eat more without causing other damage to your body. You get all the benefits without any of the dangers unless you’re allergic to the ingredients for some reason.
Step Away from Work
Work is one of the most common reasons for stress. While you can’t completely give it up, you can take steps to reduce the amount of stress that you feel.
For some people, the stress is simply because they don’t get enough downtime. You need to start taking breaks throughout the day and discuss actually taking time off to be with your family. Not only will you release more happy hormones by doing something that you love, but you can also increase your productivity in the workplace. This really will benefit your employer.
If you run your own business, you have control to step away from the workplace now and then. Have your work in a different room or out of sight when you’ve finished. You’ll find it easier to leave it behind.
When you can’t get away from work, find ways of managing the stress. If you can’t change something, there’s no point in worrying about it when you get home from the office. Nothing that you worry about now will change what happens between now and when you get back to the office. You could also delegate more of your tasks to others to relieve the amount that you do. This is beneficial for business owners and managers.
Also, consider talking to other people within the office or outside of the office. Let them know about the stress that you feel and discuss options that are available to reduce that stress.
If changing jobs is the only change that you could bring, consider doing it to help reduce the amount of stress that you feel. You’ll find that your headaches become infrequent events in your life, rather than hourly struggles.
Find Relaxation Techniques that Work for You
When you really can’t get away from the stress, you need to find ways to handle it instead. You want to physically handle the stress symptoms, which means finding ways to relax your whole body. This is more than just finding a way to sleep better!
Many people turn to meditation to help reduce their stress. It is a highly effective option, but you do need to put a little effort into it. Meditation isn’t about thinking about nothing, but about putting yourself into a safe space. It’s important to get books and watch videos from licensed or trained professionals who will be able to help you effectively add meditation to your day.
Yoga is another popular way of relaxing the body. It gets you some exercise while helping you connect with your soul and improve your breathing. This is also an exercise that will improve your flexibility and posture (something we’ll move onto next), which will strengthen your muscles and improve your whole build.
There are different types of yoga for your needs. Try out the beginner classes, especially if you are new to doing this type of exercise. The poses aren’t as easy as they initially look.
Taking deep breaths to help add more oxygen to your body is another helpful way to reduce the stress that you feel. You can do this at the moment to reduce any anger or other negative feelings that can lead to tension headaches soon after.
When you breathe deeply, your muscles and brain get the oxygen they need. It’s easier to reduce contractions and improve the balance of happy hormones in the body.
And if all that fails to relax you, try a hot bath or a trip to the sauna or stream room. The heat will definitely help to ease off the muscles and can even improve the way you feel mentally. Heat is especially beneficial in the winter when the dark nights just make us feel so miserable. With the heat, you’ll also help to reduce inflammation, so you reduce the pressure on the nerves and get rid of the reason for the headaches.
Improve Your Posture to Improve Your Alignment
Finally, you need to think about improving your posture. Poor alignment does lead to headaches since it affects the muscles in the neck and back. When you stand up with good posture, you’ll find that your neck and shoulders relieve some of the tension that you wouldn’t likely have realized they hold.
This isn’t always easy. You may find that you need to have your spine realigned by a professional, even when you do fix your posture. But start with working on your posture first.
As mentioned, yoga is a good way to do this. Your yoga instructor will explain how you can pull your shoulders back and sit with your head up slightly to look straight forward. When you’re standing, you should make sure your shoulders sit back with the spine completely straight.
Sitting is when most people experience poor posture. Too many of us slouch into the chairs, rather than sitting with the back arched naturally. You can get back supports that keep that natural arch there, supporting it, so your muscles in your back don’t get tired.
We also have a habit of sitting with our legs cross. You should keep both feet firm on the floor and the shoulders back. Sit with the computer screen at the natural eye level, so you don’t have to look down and put tension in your neck.
At the end of the day, roll your neck gently to ease off the muscles. This will help you improve your ability to sleep on a night.
It’s Time to Reduce Stress to Relieve Tension
Many of us hold tension without even realizing it. It’s not surprising that these tension headaches just seem like a normal part of the course, so we don’t do that much about it.
Getting rid of tension headaches is more than just getting rid of stress. You need to improve your diet and focus on better posture. You’ll find that your whole life improves with these seven relatively simple tips.
Start with one tip at a time. Doing too much change at once becomes stressful and defeats the whole purpose. You could work on making changes to your diet this week and after a couple of weeks add more exercise into your day. Work your way up to doing all seven and you will prevent tension headaches from occurring.