tension headaches

Dealing with tension headaches

Fact Checked

Tension headaches are also called stress headaches which is the most common types of headache. The headaches are usually due to contraction of the muscles in the head and neck area.

There are two categories of tension headaches, the episodic and chronic. Episodic tension headaches usually last for 30 minutes to one week while chronic tension headaches last for hours and can become continuous.

Tension headaches causes mild to moderate pain and a sensation of a tight band around the head. The pain will start in the back of the head or above the eyebrows and eventually pain can be felt in the whole head.

Causes of tension headache

  • Lessened sleep
    tension headaches
    Tenderness around the forehead and scalp
  • Stress
  • Skipping meals, eyestrain
  • Vision problems
  • Muscle strain
  • Overexertion
  • Alcohol
  • Fatigue
  • Dry eyes
  • Having a cold or flu
  • Caffeine
  • Sinus infections
  • Emotional stress
  • Poor posture


  • Tenderness around the forehead and scalp
  • A dull pain in the head
  • Pressure can be felt around the forehead
  • Sensitivity to light and loud noise


  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin to lessen the tension headache.
  • Apply icepack on the head to relax sore muscles and lessen the tension headache. Place a few ice cubes in a plastic bag and wrap it using a towel. Lay down and place the cold compress on the forehead for at least 2 minutes. Wait for 2 minutes and reapply again the cold compress at least 4-5 times. Avoid placing directly on the skin to prevent making the condition worse.
  • Control being stressed by taking a hot bath or shower to relax tension in the muscles, listening to soft and relaxing music in a quiet room. Perform relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, meditation and progressive relaxation of the muscle. Take a walk and perform exercises regularly to lower the stress and for proper blood circulation in the area.
  • Massage the scalp for at least a few minutes to lessen the stress due to headaches, lessen the soreness, the tension and increase blood circulation in the area.

Additional measures

  • Apple cider vinegar balances the pH levels in the body and for detoxification. It has anti-inflammatory properties for relief from throbbing headaches and lessen the stress level. In a glass filled with water, add 1 tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Honey can be added to the mixture. Drink this mixture at least once or twice to treat and lessen the headaches.
  • Maintain proper posture to prevent tightness on the head and neck which can result to tension headache.
  • Avoid straining the eyes by giving the eyelids a gentle massage for at least 1 minute several times every day to relax the muscles around the eye and lessen tension headaches. Take a 5- minute break from work by simply standing up and walking around to reset eye muscles.


  • Eliminate foods that causes tension-headaches such as preservatives, chocolates, aged cheeses, and nitrates.
  • Maintain a regular eating pattern and mealtimes.
  • Maintain consistent sleeping habits, but avoid sleeping too much
  • Drink plenty of water every day to stay hydrated





Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • All firstaidtrainingclass.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional