Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Tension Headaches

Tension Headaches
Photo by pvera.
Most people will suffer from a tension headache at some point in their life. But for some they experience these headaches on a daily basis.

This type of headache can last from half an hour to several days and often grows in severity throughout the day. The pain can range from moderate to severe but is not usually accompanied with other symptoms like a migraine is.

Tension headaches can be caused by emotional tension, stress and anxiety; physical tension in the neck, back of the skull, and the scalp; and triggers, such as caffeine, tiredness, bright light, etc.

Here are a few things that can help with tension headaches.
- Compresses. Add 5 drops of lavender essential oil to some hot or cold water. Place a small towel in to the water, ring out the excess water, fold in half and place on your forehead, and/or neck. Try using a gel eye mask which can be cooled in the fridge before placing over your eyes.
- Essential Oils. Peppermint, roman chamomile, lavender and eucalyptus are all effective essential oils for relieving headaches. Place 4-6 drops of your chosen oil in an oil burner, add a drop to a tissue and inhale, or add 5 drops to 10ml of massage carrier oil and massage in to your forehead, temples, and back of neck.
- Massage. A professional massage from a trained therapist can help with relaxation, stress relief and target any tense and painful muscles which could be contributing to your headaches. I would recommend either an Indian Head Massage or an Aromatherapy back, face and scalp massage.
- Exercise. Exercise is good for the mind, not just the body. Exercise provides a way for the body to release tension and pent-up frustration therefore helping with stress relief.
- Posture. Keep an eye on your posture when you are sat at your desk or at home in front of the TV as poor posture can put strain on the muscles in your neck and shoulders which can contribute to tension headaches. Also, when reading or using a computer, ensure there is adequate lighting so you do not strain your eyes.
- Meditation. There is a wide variety of meditation CDs available on the market today and these are a great way to spend some time relaxing and looking after yourself.

If you are unsure of what is causing the tension headaches, it might be useful to keep a diary to see if any patterns emerge. You may then be able to make some adjustments to your lifestyle and avoid any triggers which may be causing the headaches.

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