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What is the Best Tension Headache Treatment?

Angela Crout-Mitchell
Angela Crout-Mitchell

There are several ways doctors and other medical practitioners treat tension headaches. As thousands of people each year are newly diagnosed with stress headaches, a new emphasis is being placed on both preventative medications as well as effective drugs used after the onset of these often severe headaches. A variety of prescription drugs and holistic methods are used to treat tension headaches. Some treatment options work for some people, and may not work for others. After finding the correct tension headache treatment options, it is possible for a patient to live relatively pain free.

Using drugs as preventative measures is a tension headache treatment method growing in popularity. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a type of antidepressant, produce fewer side effects than other types of antidepressants used to treat tension headaches. Some of the more commonly known of these medications include paroxetine and fluoxetine.

A variety of treatments are available to treat tension headaches, including prescription drugs.
A variety of treatments are available to treat tension headaches, including prescription drugs.

Once migraines or tension headaches are present, preventative treatment options aren't feasible options. Other medications are available to relieve the pain caused by tension headaches. Analgesics are often the first type of tension headache treatment prescribed. These drugs contain both pain relievers and anti-inflammatory ingredients to help reduce the pain and vascular inflammation that occurs during these types of headaches. There are some analgesics that contain only over the counter strength pain killers, while others are manufactured with more potent pain relievers.

Doctors have a range of methods for treating tension headaches.
Doctors have a range of methods for treating tension headaches.

When standard preventative and analgesics tension headache treatments aren't as effective as needed, combination therapy of pain relievers, anti-inflammatory agents, and sedatives may be prescribed. Like other tension headache treatment options, this therapy consists of prescription medications designed to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of the stress headaches. These medications must be closely monitored by physicians, as they can be habit forming when taken for long periods of time.

Some people who suffer from tension headaches may benefit from making adjustments to their posture.
Some people who suffer from tension headaches may benefit from making adjustments to their posture.

Some patients choose to seek out effective, non-medication tension headache treatment options, either in conjunction with or instead of prescription drugs. Holistic treatments include massage therapy, biofeedback techniques, and the use of acupuncture to reduce or even eliminate the presence of tension headache symptoms. Many in the medical community believe that reducing common stress through biofeedback and massage therapy plays a huge role in limiting the length, severity, and frequency of tension headaches. Acupuncture is used to help improve the body's energy flow, or chi, according to ancient Chinese medicine. Several studies show the benefits of acupuncture on a variety of ailments including tension headaches.

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    • A variety of treatments are available to treat tension headaches, including prescription drugs.
      By: Johan Larson
      A variety of treatments are available to treat tension headaches, including prescription drugs.
    • Doctors have a range of methods for treating tension headaches.
      By: Africa Studio
      Doctors have a range of methods for treating tension headaches.
    • Some people who suffer from tension headaches may benefit from making adjustments to their posture.
      By: Ana Blazic Pavlovic
      Some people who suffer from tension headaches may benefit from making adjustments to their posture.
    • In cases of frequent tension headaches, a woman's physician may prescribe a prophylactic medication.
      By: Andy Dean
      In cases of frequent tension headaches, a woman's physician may prescribe a prophylactic medication.
    • Lifestyle changes may help reduce the frequency of tension headaches.
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      Lifestyle changes may help reduce the frequency of tension headaches.