by Dr. Sheena Wu, ND
Headaches are one of the most common pain conditions, many normalized it as a part of life, where they simply need to endure and push through. For many, however, it can be very debilitating, greatly impacting one’s ability to daily function and the quality of life.
There are several types of headaches, each with different quality, causes, and locations pain. Tension headache are the most common types of headaches, with up to 70% of population experiencing at least once in their lifetime. It is described as dull aches, pressure, or tightness starting from the forehead that continues to the base of the skull, similar to a band around the head. Tension headaches are generally mild to moderate, typically affecting both sides of the head/bilateral, but one-sided/unilateral are possible as well. Depending on frequency, they can be further divided into episodic, appearing once in a while, or chronic, where they occur for more than 15 days per month for months on end.
The exact cause of tension headaches is unclear and can differ from episodic or chronic. Some causes include pain with muscle tension that is brought on by stress, poor posture, and/or weak neck muscles. Poor sleep, eye strain, low blood sugar can also be contributing factors as well.
Below are some solutions that can help prevent and manage tension headaches –
Peppermint & Eucalyptus Essential Oils
– effective within 15 minutes, topical application of peppermint or eucalyptus oil at the start of headache reduces tension headache severity, with results comparable to Aspirin.
– tension headaches are often brought upon by bad posture. Doing some light stretching of the neck muscles in between prolonged fixed position can help relief muscle tension
– topical heat packs, hot baths or showers, help to relieve tense neck and shoulder muscles
– a muscle relaxant, beneficial for headache prevention
– as tension headache are often triggered or caused by stress and muscle tension, it is important to address both.
- Adequate stress management – this can include mindfulness meditation, yoga, exercise, and improving sleep quality
- Proper posture – improve ergonomics when sitting or lifting can prevent muscle tension and spasms
- Taking break in screen time – decreases eye strain, a trigger for tension headaches
- Diet – decrease caffeine and alcohol can help in stress-reduction, thus improve tension headache; staying hydrated with adequate water intake are crucial as well
*Note – speak with a healthcare professional for any new onset or changes in symptoms of headaches, and for any drug/supplement interactions as well as concerns of comorbidities.
There is no single one-size-fits-all approach. Our various healthcare professionals, each provide unique support and effective results for an individualized protocol that is tailored to your needs.
To learn how these different approaches provide solutions, schedule your appointment with us today!