Tension headaches are the most common kind of headache people experience. They are due to the contracting of the muscles which cover the skull. This is why it is described as feeling like your head is in a vice. The squeezing, contracting muscles, are acting just like a vice! The pain is usually felt around the front of the head, as it runs from one ear to the other.
Tension headaches can be very painful and distracting, however, instead of reaching for pain medication, try some of the following natural solutions.
Rub peppermint oil into your hairline and into your temples. It creates a cooling sensation on the skin and helps to relax the muscles in your neck and head. Peppermint oil can keep you awake, so don’t use it at night. If you do use it late in the afternoon, make sure to wash it off before retiring.
Fresh ginger root is available at your local grocery store. It is easy to grate for making a tea with boiling water. Ginger has antispasmodic properties and helps your muscles to relax. This homemade tea can help to reduce inflammation in approximately the same amount of time it would take an aspirin to take effect – so in approximately half an hour.
Engaging in stretching exercises can be extremely helpful for combatting neck tension. Doing some basic neck and back stretches, before and after exercising, or when experiencing a headache, can greatly relieve tension and improve overall flexibility.
Try slowing rolling your head in circles one way and then going the other way. Repeat this exercise as often as possible or needed. It is an excellent exercise for keeping your neck supple and free from built up pain and tension.
Back pain, neck tension and lower back discomfort can be alleviated with yoga exercises. Certain poses can help increase your mobility in the spinal region. This is excellent for the neck vertebrae, which are responsible for many health problems, including headache pain.
Massage may be a more expensive option, particularly when relying on the experienced hands of a trained professional, however, the benefits outweigh the costs. Be sure to drink copious amounts of fresh water after a massage, as the physical stimulation releases toxins from your body and lactic acid from your muscles. Trained hands can determine where you are holding tension in muscles you didn’t even know existed and help to release it.
Correct Sleeping Posture
Check your pillow, if it is too bulky it could potentially be pushing your neck too far forward. You may benefit from sleeping flat on your back without a pillow or replacing your pillow with a sleep pillow. For those on a budget, try using a rolled-up towel behind the neck with nothing else behind the head. This can be as effective as the more costly versions.
Using a hot water bottle or a heating pad can be an excellent remedy. Try having a hot bath or use the hot tub or sauna room if you have one (or access to one). The heat can help your muscles unwind and relax. Do some stretching exercises after loosening up your muscles to help stay limber.