Natural tension headache relief is easy with the right information. Experienced by as much as 80% of the general population, tension headaches are a real obstacle. Tension headache pain is thought to be caused by muscle constriction that results in the reduction of blood flow. Tension headaches can be caused by stressful situations or staying in one position for too long. Most often there isn’t a trigger that is easily pinpointed. The pain of a tension headache can range from mild to severe and generally affects the upper back, neck, scalp and jaw areas. Although many people seek relief through over-the-counter medications, there are other methods, like self-massage that are being used successfully to treat annoying tension headaches.
Tension Headache Relief through Self Massage
Massage relieves muscle tension, manages pain and improves blood circulation. Massaging away a headache can be accomplished by targeting a few key pressure points on your head by moving stagnant energy out of tissues.
Begin by getting in a comfortable position in a quiet space. Find a relaxing position. Dim the lights in the room to encourage relaxation and eliminate distraction. Here are four key areas to focus on when tackling a tough tension headache.
- Massage under the eye area. With eyes closed, position your middle fingers directly above your cheekbones. Massage this whole area using circular motion. Alternatively, a light sweeping motion under the eye can be used.
- Massage above the eyes to nose area. Using your thumb, rub the area along the underside of eyebrows above the eye socket. Where this bone meets the bridge of your nose and eyes, there is a point with a small indentation, apply gentle pressure by pushing your thumbs into the points and hold for a few seconds. Repeat.
- Massage the neck area. With your fingertips, locate the muscles at the back of the neck where they meet the base of your skull. Massage this entire area using all four fingers on both hands. Applying a comfortable amount of pressure, use circular motion . Reach as far down your back as you can for maximum relief.
- Massage the scalp. With fingers spread, begin at the forehead and massage toward the back of the scalp using a circular motion. Apply enough pressure to make the scalp move. You can also use back and forth strokes on the scalp.
After your self massage, lift and hold your shoulders towards your ears for five to ten seconds. Gently roll them backward and bring them back to their natural position. Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, and they are also the type that responds well to simple self-massage techniques.
Foods & Things to Avoid When a Headache is Present
- Dairy Products: Dairy products can produce a phlegm in your sinus cavity, causing a rebound headache for many people.
- Fragrances: Chemical fragrances from cleaning supplies, laundry, or scented candles can trigger sinus and headache pain.
- Bright Light: Bright lights can bring on a migraine quickly when a tension headache is already present.
- Gluten: If you have any kind of gluten sensitivity, the immune response from eating gluten can make tension headache pain worsen.