Tension headache causes: How to reduce tension-type headaches
Dr Rangan visits a mum with cluster headaches
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Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, and everyone gets them every now and then. They affect both sides of the head and can often be felt along the neck and behind the eyes as well. Stress, anxiety, poor posture, squinting, bright sunlight, screens, dehydration, tiredness and a number of things can cause tension headaches, so it’s very easy to develop one. But how do you reduce the occurrence or even prevent tension-type headaches? Express.co.uk chatted to Health and Wellness Coach Charlene Gisele to find out how to avoid or reduce tension-type headaches.
Spending too much time looking at TV, mobile phone and computer screens is something we’re all guilty of.
This can result in squinting, poor posture, skipping meals, being inactive, and of course, tension-type headaches.
This primary headache is not caused by an underlying condition and most people will have experienced one at least once in their life.
Painkillers are an easy way to ease a tension headache, but how do you stop them from coming on?
Health and Wellness Coach Charlene Gisele has revealed her seven hacks for avoiding or reducing tension-type headaches.
She said: “Headaches are the body’s way of telling you to slow down and change up your habits.”
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In today’s world, it is easy to spend time on your phone while chatting to someone sitting beside you, eating, AND doing a number of other things at once.
We call this ‘multitasking’, but this form of hyper-productivity takes up far more energy than you realise, according to Charlene.
She said: “You end up doing things half as well, in double the time, plus the mental overload can cause headaches.
“Instead, diligently allow for a single task or thought at a time, and systematically move through the list instead of juggling them all.
“Plus, each time you tick something off the list, it helps to lighten your mental load.”
Schedule in a daytime nap
Some of us find it very difficult to nap, but allowing yourself some shuteye during the day could be the treatment you need for those recurring headaches you’ve been having.
Charlene said: “It’s possible to have headaches due to physical or intellectual fatigue!
“So, rather than cramming in as much work as possible, do the opposite – take a nap or have more sleep and you’ll find you’ll have more sustained energy and fewer headaches.
“This might sound counterproductive when you have ‘so much work to do’, but you’ll work more efficiently and with fewer headaches when you’re well-rested.”
Take a breather
Breathing keeps us alive, but most of us don’t even think about how well we are breathing.
Partaking in conscious breathwork rather than relying on breathing as a necessary habit could help to relieve tension in your body – including tension-type headaches.
Charlene said: “Whether you’re on the move or working at your desk, just take a few minutes to inhale and exhale deeply and consciously, engaging your diaphragm instead of your chest.
“Keep the breaths even, deep and smooth. Deep breathing calms the body down and reduces the stress on the brain, which should help to alleviate headaches.”
Have a bathroom dance
The clubs might be closed, but we should all be taking some time for a little boogie at home (especially if you’re prone to headaches)
Charlene said: “Try to pause at least once a day for a creative release, as it’s a brilliant way to reduce stress on the mind and engage another part of the brain.
“Try drawing, doodling, playing an instrument, singing, or having a quick dance.
“If you’re in the office, a co-working space or around others, you might have to escape to the bathroom or windowless meeting room for that dance, but it’ll be worth it.”
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Take a cold shower
You might have heard of the Wim Hof Method, and it really works.
Showering in ice-cold water or applying a cold compress on your forehead – also known as cold therapy – are great home remedies for headaches.
Charlene explained: “Cold therapy reduces headaches because the cold constricts blood vessels and reduces pressure on the nearby nerves.
“If you feel brave enough, hop into a cold shower for 30 seconds to three minutes for dramatically quick relief.”
Put on blue light filter glasses
Screen time is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to headaches, but using a blue light filter is one way around this.
Charlene explained: “Prolonged exposure to artificial blue light from staring at our screens is a major contributor to headaches.
“I recommend hourly eye breaks by using a mask to completely rest the eyes for a couple of minutes.
“If you absolutely can’t reduce your screen time (are you sure though…?) then consider a pair of biohacking blue light filter glasses to help reduce the strain.”
Feeling the sun on your skin and walking in nature is a great idea if you’ve got a headache.
Charlene said: “A little walk about the block and a bit of sunshine could also reboot your energy and help to reduce the intensity of a headache.”
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