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How Can I Get Quick Tension Headache Relief?


Do you ever have to stop everything mid-way through your day because of a tension headache? Where does your head feel like it’s in a vice-like grip? Or being hammered from the inside out?

You know the kind – that dull, maybe even throbbing pain behind your eyes or in the back of your neck. It could be stress, poor posture, or insufficient eating or sleeping. But whatever the cause, it’s no fun. 

However, don’t worry. In this blog post, we have plenty of great ways to quickly relieve tension headaches without medication, so you can learn some simple yet effective strategies for managing and even avoiding these annoying headaches. We share all the information you need to regain control over your tension headaches and get right back to work, studying, or whatever it is you want to do.

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What Causes Tension Headaches?

Tension Headache

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, and they can affect anyone at any age and at any time. They occur because of chronic tension in the head, neck, and shoulder muscles and the surrounding connective tissue that is generally caused by stress, poor posture, or spending too much time looking down at your phone or laptop.

How To Quickly Fix A Tension Headache

Tension Headache

If you think you have a tension headache right now, there are some simple things you can do immediately to get some quick relief and reduce the pain. There are also some simple but effective ways to prevent them from reoccurring.

Here are our top 10 tips to fix and prevent tension headaches:

Tip 1

First, try taking a break and getting some fresh air or stretching.

This break can help relax the muscles in your head and neck that may be causing your headache. When you feel tension in your head or neck, it can be frustrating and distracting when trying to focus on something important.]

So, if you’re doing any strenuous activity like exercising or working at a desk for long periods, it’s essential to give your body and brain a rest. Stand up, stretch, quickly walk around the room, or even close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

Trust me. You’ll return feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

Tip 2

Make sure you’re practicing good posture, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk or working at a computer.

Poor posture, slouching over a desk, or unnaturally twisting to look at screens is one of the most significant risk factors for developing tension headaches. It can also increase the severity of existing headaches.

You could also apply natural analgesics such as capsaicin cream or menthol rubs like Tiger Balm on your temples and forehead to soothe the pain.

Tip 3

You could also apply natural analgesics such as capsaicin cream or menthol rubs like Tiger Balm on your temples and forehead to soothe the pain.

The white, cooling Tiger Balm is usually the best bet for tension headaches, but the red version can work too.

Tip 4

Make sure you drink plenty of water or other hydrating drinks throughout the day to prevent dehydration and headaches.

Staying hydrated is not only crucial for dealing with headaches, but it’s also essential for maintaining good all-round health. When you’re dehydrated, your body can’t function optimally.

That’s why it’s important to drink water throughout the day. So next time you feel the onset of a headache, try reaching for a glass of water instead of popping a painkiller.

Tip 5

Looking for a simple way to ease stress and headaches? Well, look no further than your fingertips.

Try massaging your temples or scalp in a circular motion with your fingertips. Massaging your temples or scalp in this way can work wonders for relieving tension. Not only does it feel good, but this technique can also help increase blood flow and release endorphins, boosting your mood.

So, the next time you feel a headache brewing or need a quick pick-me-up, try this easy massage. For even better results, perform the massage while resting/lying down.

Tip 6

Try placing an ice pack on the back of your neck or the base of your skull for 10 minutes to reduce inflammation and pain.

Headache ice pack

It’s a quick and easy solution. You’ll be amazed at how much relief you can feel from this simple trick. The cold temperature can help to reduce inflammation and numb any pain you may be experiencing.

It’s also like a mini ice massage for your neck and head and feels oh-so-good when you’re stressed out. So, the next time you feel achy or sore, try it and let me know how it works.

Tip 7

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, as these substances can worsen tension-type headaches.

So, if you suffer from tension-type headaches, you might want to consider tweaking your lifestyle. For example, did you know that substances like caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can make your headaches worse?

Giving up your daily cup of coffee or after-work glass of wine might seem tough, but it could make a difference in how you feel. Instead, try incorporating alternative stress-relief methods like meditation, exercise, or herbal tea.

Tip 8

Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga to help reduce stress-induced headaches.

Stress can lead to some pretty unpleasant tension headaches. But before you reach for the painkillers, why not try some natural remedies to help ease the tension?

Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can work wonders in reducing stress levels and alleviating those nagging headaches. It might take some practice to get the hang of them, but the benefits of these techniques are worth it.

So next time you feel the pressure mounting, grab a mat, strike a yoga pose, or focus on your breathing for a few minutes.

Tip 9

Making small changes to your diet.

Such as incorporating more nutrient-dense foods and controlling your blood sugar levels, can promote overall health and reduce the impact of stress on your body.

By taking these simple steps and modestly changing your diet, you can dramatically help to diminish the effects of stress and ease the pain of tension headaches.

For example, nuts and leafy greens are said to help with headaches because they contain magnesium, which helps relax blood vessels and increase blood flow.

Tip 10

Make sure you prioritize getting enough sleep at night.

This tip may seem like a small measure. Still, sleep is massively underrated, and getting good sleep can go a long way in helping you to avoid tension headaches in the future.

After reading these suggestions for headache prevention and relief, you can see that there are many natural and non-invasive strategies to help alleviate tension headaches.

Hopefully, one of these remedies will give you the relief you need. But if your tension headaches persist, booking a consultation with a physical therapist for additional support is a good idea.

We can help you with a treatment plan and lifestyle modifications to help eliminate tension headaches and permanently prevent them from returning.

How Does Physical Therapy Help With Tension Headaches?


These days, we all spend a lot of time in front of the screen and looking down at our smartphones. Unfortunately, these activities cause posture problems.

Some muscles become overly tight, and others become weak, often causing headaches and neck pain. If you suffer from tension headaches, you’ll know that the throbbing pain can be difficult to manage.

But you probably don’t know that physical therapy can relieve all your tension headache woes. 

The good news is that physical therapy is an effective treatment for chronic pain conditions like tension headaches and migraines.

We use various techniques in physical therapy to treat headaches, from manual therapy to exercises that reduce muscle tension. Massage, for example, uses touch and pressure to help promote relaxation and reduce muscle tension. Meanwhile, stretching exercises can help increase your flexibility, improve your posture, and reduce your risk of tension headaches. We help you dissolve muscle tension and tightness, wake up in the morning without pain, and improve your basic level of mobility and flexibility: alignment, posture, and balance.  

Physical therapy is a great way to relieve the continual pain and discomfort of all types of headaches, not just tension headaches

Remember that tension headaches are manageable and treatable, so you don’t need to let them hold you back. Take time to de-stress, eat healthily, rest, exercise, and hydrate well. You should notice a big difference in the frequency and severity of your tension headaches. But if you’re still suffering after making these changes, we urge you to book a free consultation with us, so we can find and fix the root cause and help you get your life back. It can be life-changing if you’ve been suffering from tension headaches for a while.

Brandon Evans

Brandon Evans

Dr. Brandon Evans is the Founder and Owner of ProActive Physical Therapy and Wellness. He received his bachelor's degree from Purdue University and his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Western Kentucky. Dr. Evans has vast experience in outpatient orthopedics, hospital physical therapy, health and wellness, and preventative medicine. Dr. Evans provides peace of mind, reassurance, and hope to people who have previously been told:
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