A Tension Headache is a type of headache caused by muscle tension in the neck, shoulders and head. The muscle tension, which causes Tension Headache, may be the result of being in an uncomfortable body position, stress or fatigue.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Tension Headache usually begins in the morning or early afternoon and gets worse during the day. Tension Headache results in a steady, moderately severe type of pain that often occurs above the eyes or in the back of the head. The pain may spread over the whole head and sometimes into the back of the neck and shoulders. Tension Headache can also produce a feeling of tight pressure around the head.
Always consult your Doctor for diagnosis and advice. In no way is this information intended to replace the advice of a medical practitioner.
Diagnosis of Tension Headache involves asking the patient about the Headache - how long it lasts, where the pain occurs, what factors bring it on, what makes it better or worse and other symptoms experienced with the Headache. This will help the Doctor determine whether the patient is experiencing a Tension Headache or whether the symptoms are caused by another condition.
Treatment of Tension Headache involves taking steps to prevent the Headache occurring - by understanding and controlling the stressful situations that cause the Headache. Steps can be taken to relieve Tension Headache when it occurs - these include gently massaging the muscles of the neck, shoulders and head and lying down and relaxing. Analgesics can be used to relieve the pain. Biofeedback, acupuncture, relaxation techniques and TENS therapy may also be used.
• Eat a healthy diet.
• Eat regular meals - avoid skipping meals.
• Limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume.
• B Group Vitamins, especially Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), may be beneficial in relieving stress and anxiety. B group vitamins may be helpful in cases where stress is a trigger for Migraines.
• Antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and zinc may help to prevent Headaches by neutralising free radical waste products in the body.
• There are a number of herbs, which have actions that may help to decrease the incidence and frequency of Headaches e.g., feverfew, chamomile, passionflower, hops and ginkgo biloba.
The listed essential oils are suggested for the temporary relief of Headache. The most specific oils are shown in capitals.
Basil, BLUE CHAMOMILE, CHAMOMILE, Clary Sage, Eucalyptus, LAVENDER, Melissa, PEPPERMINT, Rosemary.
MASSAGE: Blend any single listed essential oil or combination of several essential oils - 5 drops (total) to 10mL vegetable carrier oil i.e.: Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel. Massage into back of neck, temples, shoulders or apply as full body massage.
BATH: Add 5 drops (total) of any single listed essential oil or combination of several essential oils to warm bath, just before turning off the taps.
VAPORISATION: Add 5 drops (total) of any single essential oil listed or combination of several essential oils listed to water in oil burner. Please note, essential oils that are pre-diluted in Jojoba oil are not suitable for vaporising.
The above recommendations are for an adult. For children 2 - 12 years and during pregnancy use 1/2 dose i.e. - 3 drops to 10ml.
Ask your MedAux Pharmacist for advice.
1. Follow the diet hints.
2. Avoid stress and have adequate uninterrupted sleep. Some regular exercise such as walking may help relieve tension. Check with your Doctor before undertaking any exercise programme.
3. Lying down in a darkened room and applying a cold compress to the forehead may help to relieve the pain. Ask your Pharmacist about a special cold compress if one is needed.
4. A regular intake of caffeine may create a dependency on the chemical i.e., headaches develop unless the caffeine is consumed. It is best to gradually lower the intake of caffeine as stopping too suddenly may worsen the Headaches. Caffeine containing drinks include tea, coffee and cola drinks.
5. Ask your Pharmacist about some pain relieving tablets. Remember that codeine used in many pain-killing tablets may cause fewer bowel movements. A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or paracetamol might be suggested. The use of analgesics for long periods as the sole solution for the ailment is not suggested because of the danger of drug dependence.
6. If Headaches are suffered more on waking in the morning a more supportive neck pillow may relieve the symptoms. Some Pharmacies have these available.
7. If the diet is inadequate, consider some supplements.