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What is the best treatment for stress headaches?

Updated on July 22, 2008

Natural Tension Headache Relief

Here are a few natural ways that I've found will help relieve occasional tension headaches. Some of them work faster than others, and it's also good to experiment with each of them to see which one might help you the best.

1) Acupressure: Use the thumb and forefinger of one hand to squeeze the fleshy area between the thumb and forefinger of the other hand. You'll find the exact spot about an inch below the V between your thumb and forefinger. You'll want to pinch fairly hard. Try to hold this for about two minutes. Do this to each hand. This will work, but it's not instantaneous and you may want to repeat the procedure several times before you'll feel relief.

2) Self massage: Hold your hands on either side of your head so that your thumbs have access to the back of your neck, just below your skull. Massage all along the base of the skull and the back of the neck. Breathe slowly and deeply while you do this.

3) Peppermint Oil: If you're prone to headaches, it might be worth investing in a bottle of pure peppermint oil. You can find it for various prices, but it seems to start at around $10 and go up from there. Apply a small dot of oil to each temple and massage it into your skin. Just be aware that this is not a product that should be used on small children.

4) Cold Therapy: Take a bag of frozen peas from your freezer (choose a cheap brand that you will designate as the headache peas - don't ever plan to eat them!). Wrap them in a towel, get comfortable, and lay the peas across your forehead. The cold temperature should help to constrict blood vessels. Breathe slowly and deeply while you rest.

5) Heat Therapy: Run a hot bath for yourself and add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the water. Sink into the water. Dip a hand towel into the hot water and fold it until it creates a little pillow. Place that directly at the back of your neck. Lay your head back, close your eyes and breathe!

6) Breathe: If you're under stress, it's easy to start breathing shallowly and causing a cascade of stress responses in your body. If you start getting a headache, use it as a reminder that you need to stop and take a few deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth for a few moments (or better yet, a few minutes if you have the time). Go slowly and savor each breath. While you're doing this, stand up a little straighter so that you fill your lungs properly.

7) Meditate: A regular meditation habit will help keep life in perspective and make you less prone to tension. Do at least 5 minutes per day, but aim for 20 (or longer!). If you only have 5 and you're worried about the time, set a timer to go off so that you don't have to keep checking the clock.

8) Yoga: If you can go to a class, all the better. If you don't have the time to go to a gym, pop in a yoga tape and do at least 20 minutes. Even a gentle yoga workout will help you unwind.

9) Take a walk: Walking for 20 minutes every day will help everything in your body work better. If you have a tension headache, taking a walk using good posture while mindfully breathing will help get rid of it quickly.

10) Laugh! It sounds silly, but it's an easy way to banish tension. If you don't have time for a movie or a TV show, check out funny videos online. They're everywhere! Just type in the kind of thing that tickles your funny bone and you should be laughing in no time.

Additional hints:

If you are suffering from lots of tension headaches, it's time to take an inventory of things that may be triggering them. Keep a journal of what you eat, how you spend your time and when you get headaches. If you notice a pattern, work on pinpointing and eliminating the source. This can also help you rule out caffeine-withdrawal headaches as the true source of the problem.

Check with a doctor if none of these techniques bring relief and/or if your headaches occur frequently.

Best wishes for fast, natural relief!!


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    • SPwrite profile image

      SPwrite 9 years ago from Los Angeles

      Interesting suggestions! Thanks! As with all herbal remedies, check for drug interactions with any medications that you are taking. Also, you will be well-served to check with a qualified natural physician for additional hints -- a naturopath, accupuncturist, O.D., etc.

    • profile image

      healthcures 9 years ago

      Apples are valuable in curing all types of headaches. After removing the upper rind and the inner hard portion of a ripe apple, it should be taken with a little salt every morning on a empty stomach in such cases. This should be continued for about week.

      The herb marjoram is helpful in traetment of a headache. An infusion of theleaves is taken as a tea in the treatment for a headache.

    • SPwrite profile image

      SPwrite 9 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks, New Reflection! I really hope at least one of these tips helps!! Also, I just wanted to add that the 20-minute walk will release endorphins, which is a natural pain killer. Best to all!

    • New Reflection profile image

      New Reflection 9 years ago from The Real World

      Thanks so much for all the useful information. I will definitely try some of these. Thanks!