Tension Headache Treatment
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
How to Treat Tension Headache
Tension headaches are managed , rather than cured. Therapies aim to stop the headache and reduce the frequency of future episodes.
Treatment may include:
Medications may include:
- Over-the-counter pain pills-Continuous use of some over-the-counter medication may create rebound pain when you stop taking the drug. Pain medications are most effective when taken at the first sign of pain and before it becomes severe.
- Prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or muscle relaxants
- Drugs to prevent headaches, if you suffer from daily tension headaches
- Antidepressant medications, even if you are not clinically depressed
- Botulinum toxin injections (Botox)
Self-care During the Headache
Self-care may include:
- Put an ice pack or heat pack on your head or neck to ease discomfort.
- Take a warm shower, with water running over tense muscles.
- Massage your temples and neck.
- Practice relaxation techniques.
Lifestyle changes may include:
- Exercise regularly.
- Improve your posture.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Take breaks from tasks.
- Learn and practice stress management and relaxation techniques.
- Consider seeing a counselor to:
- Develop new coping skills.
- Identify events that trigger the headaches and work toward resolution.
Additional therapies may include:
- Acupuncture -Acupuncture may help you to have more headache-free days and lessen the intensity of headaches when they do occur.
- Physical therapy-Physical therapists can help you develop a home-exercise program.
- Massage therapy if the pain is in your neck and shoulders
If you are diagnosed with a tension headache, follow your doctor's instructions.