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Chronic Tension Headaches: Why They Happen and How To Beat Them

48438685 - asian senior with severe headache and medicine
48438685 – asian senior with severe headache and medicine

There are many kinds of headaches that plague people, and some of them are signs of serious underlying health issues, such as migraines, or headaches caused by tumors or poor cardiovascular health.

However, most of us have gotten tension headaches throughout our lives – the common “everyday” variety that usually feels like pressure, tightness and/or dull pain throughout your head and neck. They are also known as “stress” headaches.

Tension headaches last anywhere from minutes to several days, and they usually occur infrequently, and these are known as episodic tension headaches, meaning they occur just 15 days a month or less. If they occur more often than that, then they are called chronic headaches. Often, these types of headaches come on slowly, and often in the middle of the day. If they are chronic, they are likely to stick around for days or even weeks, and the pain never completely goes away.

These types of common headaches do not exactly hinder you from going about your everyday life, and they certainly do not mess with your vision, strength or balance like other types of serious headaches can. However, they are still a sign that there are things you need to pay attention to in your body, and should be taken seriously.

In the United States, 80% of adults regularly experience tension headaches. Women seem to be twice as likely to have them as men. Usually, these headaches are started off by a chain reaction caused by a build up of different types of stress over days and weeks. At the root of it, we often find that there are overly tight muscles in the back of the neck and scalp, caused in part by poor lifestyle habits such as bad posture, or sleep deprivation. Other factors can be anxiety, anemia, fatigue, depression and even hunger.

Bottom line is, your physical, mental or emotional state can bring on headaches.

Those who suffer from tension headaches will tell you that they suffer from inconvenient symptoms such as mild sensitivity to light and noise, irritability, trouble with focus, insomnia, and pain in their muscles.

So what do you do if you struggle with headaches on a regular basis?

Here are some natural as well as conventional ways to treat them. Sometimes, a combination approach can be helpful

1. Eliminate poor lifestyle habits
If you are sleep deprived, catch on sleep. If you’re hungry, eat. If you have a habit of hunching, correct your posture. These steps may sound trite, but they could really go a very long way toward getting rid of your headache.

2. Drink a very tall glass of water.
Often, something simple such as drinking a big glass of water could eliminate your headache in seconds or minutes. Dehydration causes you to feel fatigued and tense up, so correcting that could very well be the magic cure for your tension headaches.

3. Develop relaxing practices and hobbies
Learn to meditate, or take up a yoga class. Do something that relaxes your mind and body, and you will reap the benefits by having much less tension and stress in your life, which will in turn eliminate your headaches.

4. Take a warm/hot bath
Often, a hot bath is just what the doctor ordered. Taking a bath is a relaxing ritual that can calm you right down and take away that pain in your head. Dim the lights, diffuse some essential oils and add some epsom salts into your bath for the ultimate relaxation experience.

5. Use painkillers – sparingly
If all else fails, consider taking a painkiller. This is often what conventional doctors recommend for headaches. Some patients even take them as preventative measures before the headache even hits them. But, do try all the other natural and alternative methods first.


Sarah P

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