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Get Relief from Tension Headaches - 6 Tips from a Massage Therapist

Updated: May 7, 2021

Tension headaches range from annoying to debilitating. For many people, they’re a frequent distraction from work, but something we’re all too used to pushing through and ignoring.

No longer!

Take care of your health and reduce the amount of headaches you deal with through these 5 tips.

1. Take a deep breath of something minty...

Did you know essential oils can relieve headache pain? In particular, peppermint and eucalyptus have been proven effective (lavender is also good!). You can diffuse the essential oil and breathe it in to relieve your tension headache, or put a drop in some oil and massage it on the face.

If you get frequent headaches, I recommend keeping a little essential oil jar in your purse, and you can simply open it and inhale for quick relief, and then put it back and keep going.

2. Get new pillows.

Your pillow should support your head while keeping your neck at a neutral angle. Often times people who sleep on their sides will accidentally use a pillow that’s meant for back-sleeping… this pillow is too low, and neck ends up tilted all night, which contributes to imbalance and muscle tightness in the neck and shoulders.

This same principle is why the wrong mattress can cause low back pain. Investment in your mattresses and pillows can prevent a lot of pain down the road!

3. Take breaks from being still.

Any activity that has you looking at something and staying mostly still for long periods of time (e.g. working at a computer, looking at your phone, playing video games) makes your body stiff and tight.

Your muscles fatigue in as little as 30 minutes, but you can restore them in as little as 10 seconds as long as you take frequent breaks. The longer you go between breaks, the longer it takes to restore… So set a timer, get up, and wiggle!

4. Take a break from staring, unblinking, at bright screens.

Eye strain can bring on headaches. If you’ve been looking at a bright screen for a while, refresh your eyes by cupping your hands over your eyes and staring in the darkness for a minute. Yes, staring into darkness with your eyes open will refresh your eyes much much quicker than simply closing and rubbing them!

5. Talk to your dentist about a mouth guard.

If you clench or grind your teeth, not only does it damage your teeth over time, but it can misalign your jaw and stress out your chewing muscles. A mouth guard won’t stop your muscles from flexing overnight (and therefore getting tight and fatigued), but it can at least keep your jaw aligned and protect your teeth and gums from wear.

6. Get a massage!

OK, you knew this was coming. Massage therapy not only helps balance the muscles that may be causing the headache, but it helps with stress, too. It works to cure a headache in the moment, and prevent future headaches. Studies (and my own personal experience with my clients) have shown that a routine of regular massage can drastically reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.

Want more DIY solutions to headache pain? Try these stretches.

Ready for professional help? Schedule a treatment with me online.


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