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What is the Best Stress Headache Relief?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 17, 2024
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Stress headaches, also called tension headaches, are very common and are often caused by muscle tension in the back, neck, and shoulders. These muscles are often the first to tense in a stressful situation, and can also tighten when forced into one position all day, such as when hunched over a computer at a desk. The best stress headache relief is simply to relax, but this is easier said than done. If possible, get up and stretch throughout the day to prevent stiffness.

The best stress headache relief is often natural. Heat is very good for relaxing tense muscles, so it might be beneficial to place a heating pad on the neck and shoulders, take a hot shower, or soak in a warm bath. The water and heat will work together to relax the muscles and relieve stress, which should eventually relieve the headache.

If the stress headache is coming from a stressful situation, excusing yourself from the situation, if possible, might be the first step to relief. Taking a break from work and going for a walk or simply taking some deep breaths can also help to relieve a headache. Many people find stress headache relief by getting up from the desk and doing some simple stretches. In addition, it is important to practice good posture when sitting or standing. Slouching or leaning the head forward puts unnecessary stress on the neck and shoulders, which can quickly lead to tension and pain.

While caffeine can be the cause of a headache, it can also work well as stress headache relief. Drinking a cup of tea may help relax the body, while the caffeine constricts enlarged blood vessels that can cause pain. Caffeine is especially helpful for migraine sufferers. However, it is a good idea to avoid sugary caffeinated drinks when suffering from a headache, so try not to put any sugar in that cup of tea.

If these natural techniques do not work, over-the-counter pain medication is often effective stress headache relief. The medication should be taken at the lowest dose that is effective against the headache, and only as needed. Instead of constantly relying on pain medication for stress headache relief, it may be helpful to consider the situations in which stress headaches occur, and to try to prevent them.

Incorporating some stress relieving activities into daily life might be helpful at preventing stress headaches. Yoga, meditation, or any source of daily exercise is excellent at combating stress. Trying some time-management techniques, such as creating a schedule or daily to-do lists, might help relieve stress as well.

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