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A tension headache can be characterized as a mild to moderate headache that feels like a tight band around your head. It is also one of the most common type of headache whose exact causes has not yet been determined. Usually brought about when someone is stressed or tense, this headache usually radiates from the nape of the neck to the front of the head. While this sensation and its intensity can vary from one person to the next, the pain can be quite debilitating, causing sensitivity to light and fatigue in some people.
While you can pop a painkiller to beat the pain and power through the day, there are a few natural ways to beat the pain. Here are some quick and simple ways you can use to thwart the pain.
Rest your eyes: Since eye strain is one of the most common reasons for a tension headache, it is best you rest your eyes when you have one. Usually when you do have a headache you will tend to be sensitive to light so take the opportunity to rest your eyes and keep any bright lights away from your eyes. A good way to do this is to close your eyes while to sit comfortably on a chair, rub both your palms together so that they become warm and then place them pver your eyes such that your fingers overlap. Stay like this and allow the warmth and darkness to relax your mind and eyes. Breathe in deep making sure your back is straight. A great way to better this tip is to switch off your computer screen (as you might need to do this while you are working) and the lights if you can. Alternatively you could also find yourself a slightly dark corner. Once you have done this three times, slowly open your eyes. This should help reduce the intensity of your headache.
Light pressure: One of the easiest ways to get rid of a tension headache is to apply a little pressure on your eyelids. Close your eyes and cup them with the palm of your hands. Apply pressure for around 2-3 minutes and release. You might experience blurry vision for a few seconds; however, do not be alarmed. You will be feeling better as a result. You can also close your eyes and press the point between your eyebrows with your ring finger. Make sure the pressure is not too much and press down for only so long as you feel comfortable. This point helps in relaxation and calming the mind.
Peppermint teabags: Wet peppermint teabags are also a great way to relieve a tension headache. All you need to do is wet the tea bags, cool them for a little while and place them on your eyes for about five minutes. The peppermint and tea leaves help soothe your eyes thereby relieving your headache.
Ginger Tea: Ginger is a great remedy for headaches as it contains compounds that help reduce inflammation. Know to be able to reduce inflammation as fast as an aspirin does, ginger is a great natural remedy for a headache. All you need to do is steep some crushed ginger (a one inch long piece should suffice) in some water. Alternatively you could add it to some green tea (without milk) for relief. If you tend to have tension headaches often, you can also sip on this tea before bed. It will help you relax and get enough rest helping to keep headaches at bay.
Chamomile tea: You can treat tension headaches at home by sipping on some chamomile tea. The tea has a number of beneficial compounds that will help relax you by easing the pain caused by a tension headache. To find relief brew a cup of tea making sure the tea bag to soaks for around seven to ten minutes before you drink it. If you want, you could sweeten the tea by adding a little honey. Sip on this mixture slowly while it is still warm to help reduce the pain.
Lavender or peppermint oil bath: There are some health experts who swear by the fact that footbaths can help relieve tension headaches. When you immerse your feet in warm water, it helps draw blood to both your feet. Therefore, this helps ease the pressure exerted by the blood vessels in your head on the muscles of your head leading to a headache. Add a few drops of lavender or peppermint oil to your bath as the aroma as these scents help relieve stress and calm the mind.
Here are a few things you shouldn't do if you have a tension headache
Popping pain killers: While it may seem like the right course of action, having pain killers to reduce the pain caused by tension headaches might not be your best option. Some experts believe that having OTC painkillers like aspirin or acetaminophen can increase the incidence of headaches as it sensitizes the brain to pain signals.
Avoid coffee: There is a genuine reason you should avoid caffeine during a headache. Caffeine has been known to helps shrink swollen blood vessels, and therefore being a great remedy for headaches. But once the caffeine wears off your headache will be back, in some cases worse than before.
How you can prevent tension headaches
You can avoid the occurrence of tension headaches by ensuring that you do not stare for too long at the computer screen at work. Also, ensure that you remain hydrated by drinking a lot of water during the day. Finally, get a good 6-7 hour sleep at night to avoid such headaches.
Photo source: Getty images
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