The name “tension headache” immediately implies the cause for this malady that affects millions of people every day. People who suffer from these types of headaches describe them as tightness in their head or neck muscles-almost like someone is pulling on them. These types of headaches often have a gradual onset unlike other possibly more severe headaches like the migraine. Because of this gradual onset some people do not even realize they are getting a tension headache until it is full-blown. Sometimes the pain can be just as bad as or even worse than a migraine. The key to treating these types of headaches is to catch them while they are in their early stages, before they get bad.
As we go through our daily activities we experience tension regarding situations at work, at home, and other scenarios. This is when a tension headache is most likely to occur-as the pressure in our lives builds, so does the tendency to build tension and therefore, we may get a headache.
Do You Know The Type Of Headache You Have?
If you are not sure what type of headache you are suffering from, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will probably want detailed information about when the headaches occur, what seems to trigger them and where they are located. If you do have a tension headache problem, it will be fairly simple to diagnose and treat.
How Do You Treat It?
Most of the time you can treat this type of headache with over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. You won’t need a prescription and they often come in store brands that make them a less expensive alternative to treat your tension headache. Just make sure that you check for the amount of medicine contained in the tablets, so that you can get the right dosing information. Some of the drug companies have even come out with formulas that are specifically for each type of headache-like sinus, migraine, or tension headache. Talk to the pharmacist if you are concerned about drug interactions with medications you may already be taking. They will be able to let you know if what you are taking will be safe.
If you are already taking over the counter medications and they are not having any effect on your tension headache you may need to make another trip to the doctor. Sometimes our bodies become so accustomed to a medication that it no longer works. In this case, it may be necessary to get a prescription pain killer that can be taken at the onset of a tension headache. If you suffer from daily headaches with no relief from any type of medication, you may need to be on a daily medication that you take whether you are experiencing a headache at the time or not.
Another medication free treatment for a headache is to apply heat or cold to the area-this is especially effective when the tension is just beginning. You can also take a hot shower and let the water “massage” your neck and head muscles. You can even try massage to alleviate some of the tension.
One of the best things that you can do for yourself when dealing with a tension headache is to try to prevent it. Some of the known things that you can do are to make sure that you get enough sleep every night to avoid fatigue, drink plenty of water, and get daily exercise. Doing these types of things will not only help with your headaches, but your overall health and well-being as well.