Headaches are one of the most common complaints that millions of N. Americans suffer from each year. There are numerous types of headaches and, it is essential to be able to differentiate between the different types.
It is quite common that patients will claim to have migraine headaches and proceeds to take aspirin or Tylenol to deal with the condition. However, in most cases, the headaches are not migraines but rather stress, or tension headaches.
In a classical presentation, the patient would indicate having pain on both sides of the head along with a vise-like grip on the forehead. It may last for a few minutes to a few hours depending on the severity. The condition is very commonly associated with stress; hence, it also being referred to as stress headaches. Speaking of stress, this is truly a “silent killer” which can affect all of us in many different manners. I’ll leave this to another discussion since it is a topic on its own. The tension may be felt not only in the head & neck area but also down to the upper shoulders and back. When the tension persists for a period of time, the person may even feel sensations of fatigue with a general lack of energy or drive.
Treatments of tension headaches range from home care to actual therapeutic care from a health professional. Let’s start with the home remedies.
Being able to identify the stressors is a helpful start. Whether it being a difficult project at work or family & emotional issues, it is important to deal with the issues on hand and approach them with the mental focus of a resolution and NOT a burden. The power of water is often neglected in the regiment of home remedies. Start with a nice, comfortable, warm shower. The repetitive feeling of water on our bodies is a soothing start.
Alternative health specialists in the areas of Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Registered Massage Therapy, and Traditional Chinese Medicine may all provide effective relief for tension headaches. In addition, holistic therapies such as acupressure massage may also provide relief.
Herbal remedies with the use of Chinese medicine, lecithin, white willow bark, and calcium/magnesium are all part of the home care remedies that may be effective with tension headaches.
Last but not least, the importance of regular exercise cannot be ignored as a general maintenance protocol. This may include practicing yoga, tai chi, or meditative techniques along wit cardio-enhancing exercises such as brisk walking.
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