Relieving Tension Headaches

I'm 24 and my problem is I have an issue with stress. I sometimes can let others or certain things worry me or stress me out. It is causing a major health problem for me like headaches that may occur in the joints of my head or the back of my head. I have these to the point that sometimes I feel pressure in the back of my head that will cause the back of my neck and shoulders to tense up.


I sometimes worry could it be stress, anxiety, or high blood pressure. I was never diagnosed with high blood pressure. Every time I go to the ER or the doctor, they tell me my blood pressure is fine.

I started a new job so I no longer have insurance at this time and I travel every day with my 2 year old daughter. I'm sometimes afraid of passing out while driving. I need help or at least answers, could someone please help me.

By Sheena

December 6, 20100 found this helpful

I have the same problem. Try putting a ziplock bag full of ice on your neck. I had been trying heat and it only got worse. Advil helps alot too. I think the feeling like you are going to pass out is just a panic attack. Once you have a panic attack in a certain place, like the car, it is likely to happen again. I was about your same age when my panic attacks started. You have a new job and a baby to take care of which is alot of responsibility. I am sure you are stressed out. Hang in there and try to relax.

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December 6, 20100 found this helpful

I used to have problems with stress, but rather than headaches I got awful stomach cramps. It's not fun, I know. Some aromatherapy is really helpful. Try some lavender or chamomile essential oil in a diffuser or inhale a couple drops on a tissue. If you feel very stressed while driving, pull over for a minute and try to collect yourself. A lavender compress with a cool washcloth would also help. Cut back on coffee too, caffeine makes stress worse.

Try and get some time to yourself each day. That would be hard with a new job and a child, but even 15 minutes where you can put your feet up and relax is helpful. Try imagining soothing scenes, like a waterfall or a beach. Be aware of your breathing. I also find that keeping a journal is helpful. Writing down your worries can be surprisingly cathartic. Hope you feel better soon.

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December 7, 20100 found this helpful

#1 Mk sure you are getting all your vitamins, the B's & Calcium are particularly good for the nerves.(You can even get multivits from dollar stores today!)

#2 Try using Rescue Remedy (from the health food store) for calming you down, it's an old homeopathic remedy much used in Europe.

#3 for tension headaches, try to work on keeping your neck muscles relaxed by bending slowly from side to side and around. This will keep the blood flowing. Also try gentle massage with your fingers on your upper face, at the jaw & on your temples and scalp. Think about getting an electric massager to use at home.

#4 Take deep breaths and keep your breathing slow & regular, don't hyperventilate!

#5 Start to meditate or use a repetitive prayer daily for a few minutes to calm your mind.

#6 There is a wonderful book by an female physician from Australia about How to use your head to calm your nerves. It's not new, but see if you can find it, because I think it's very useful advice.

Take care of yourself & your daughter & good luck!

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December 7, 20100 found this helpful

You may be having panic attacks. There are ways to treat those and you need to see a doctor about them if that is what you are having, You should not have to live that way.

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Anonymous Flag
December 7, 20100 found this helpful

Have you told your doctor all the things you mention here? If you have and are told you have nothing physically wrong then it's most likely anxiety attacks/panic attacks. I have struggled with those off and on for most of my life and what I found to work the best (because I refuse to take medications to relieve it because they can cause other more serious problems) is relaxation and breathing exercises/methods and they are especially helpful for focusing and calming yourself when others are upsetting you. And the saying, "Let go and let God" is the secret of success for worry. :-)

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December 7, 20100 found this helpful

All of these suggestions are great. I'd question my intake of food and drinks, if it were my headaches:

1) Do you drink caffeine in sodas/ coffee more than 8-10 oz. per day?

2) Do you read every ingredient that is in your prepared foods? Is there MSG in any of it? It has been proven to cause both headaches and brain tumors.

3) Do you have any habits like chocolate, heavy sugar or salt, candies, donuts, ice cream/cheese, or milk and milk

byproducts? Milk and it's byproducts are mucogenic, and can cause a mucous 'plug' in your head, a type of 'glue-

trap' that is a trap for bacteria/ virus one breathes in, and therefore usually leads to some sort of infection.

4) Do you buy pre-packaged pop corn, or "butter flavored"things? The artificial "flavoring" is known to cause ear

infections, which can begin in the inner ears and is very hard to heal from and painful. Children cannot express exactly where it hurts, but adults can know what they have eaten. I believe it's also sprayed inside of the packages of microwaveable popcorn, onto certain breads and buns, used often by fast foods.

If it were me, I'd re-examine these particular issues, and if you find any of them the culprit, don't expect instant healing, but God is the Great Physician and can heal anything, so pray for a Miracle and for His wisdom. "Wisdom is yours for the asking and in abundance." His miracles work quickly, especially if you will promise to give Him all the credit/"glory" and tell others of what He has done for you.

If you have been consuming any or all of these things, not only should you give up the item(s), but I'd begin with a few doses of Robitussin's Guafenisen (or DM, if you can't find that.) If it's going to work at all for this, I'd give it about three or four doses to see if there's relief. Also for the pain, I'd take only Acetaminophen to reduce any inflammation from any infection. The Robitussin should cause any mucous plug to begin to drain, along with remnants of whatever might be trapped in your head.

5) Are you certain that you don't have a bad tooth or two? Teeth can cause head pain that is surprisingly bad. If you suspect teeth, I'd gently dental floss 1-2 times a week, then rinse with Hydrogen Peroxide, being careful not to

swallow any. I'd also change my toothbrush and brush only with salt and baking soda for about a week. Many dental

infections come from eating shelled nuts, peanut butter, and trail mix, because they are not cooked but are picked

off the ground and the nutmeats picked out by less than clean hands or equipment.

God bless and help you. "-"

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December 7, 20100 found this helpful

I have suffered with headaches and migraines every since hitting puberty. Never had headaches when I was pregnant so I assumed it was all hormonal. Now after a hysterectomy I still suffer from headaches but a different kind. My chiropractor told me to take a tennis ball, stand with my back to a wall and "roll" the ball on my shoulders and base of neck and shoulder blades if the tension goes that low. It really helps. Also although some feel heat feels better, ice pack or cold washcloth will work better for tense muscles. Excedrin also helps but really you shouldn't be taking it everyday which I was doing when younger. Now I try to avoid it as much as possible. Another thing that helps relieve tension is Aromatherapy stress relief. I got mine at Bath and Body Works. It is a roll on (like roll on deodorant) you just put on your wrist and smell. It contains Eucalyptus oil and spearmint. Also agree with the person who said don't sleep on your stomach, it twists your neck in a position it should not be in. I hope you find something to help. I have suffered over 35 years with headaches almost everyday, these are a few things I have found to help. Good luck.

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December 7, 20100 found this helpful

I have a few other suggestions:

First, are you taking a lot of pain relievers on a regular basis? They can cause 'rebound' headaches if you take them often.

Another big thing-do you drink diet soda? Some people are sensitive to the sugar substitute. Over 20 years ago,I used to get the worst migraine headaches & it took several weeks to figure out that it was the diet soda I was drinking, because when I quit,the headaches went away & came back when I started drinking it again. I can drink it now, but only maybe 1 a day at most, or I get headaches & my whole body aches.

Do you maybe grind your teeth when you are sleeping? I do,to the point that I have cracked some teeth. Without a night guard, I have terrible headaches during the day.

Do you carry a heavy bag or purse?Silly question I guess, because carrying your 2 year old around can cause the same pain you describe! I had it a lot when my kids were little,from carrying them.

Do you work where you sit in a chair without good back support? That can put stress on your back & neck,causing pain.

These are all suggestions based on my experience with my own headaches. What really gives me headaches like you describe, is when I'm under a lot of stress & I tend to squeeze.scrunch my forehead really tight without even realizing it & it makes my head,jaw,neck & shoulders hurt so bad I can hardly stand it. The best thing that ever worked for me was to take a 3-4" strip of packing tape & put it right across my forehead where I tend to tense up so bad. When you tense up, the tape pinches & pulls, reminding you to relax your muscles. I would have to do it for hours a day, days on end, until I learned to not tense those muscles. Just remember not to go anywhere with it on, or people will look at you funny! My kids thought it was hilarious!

Ice on the back of the neck, the top of the head, the temples & forehead work wonders too.

And remember to take a deep breath occasionally! It sounds like you have a stressful life that is causing you a lot of aniety. If you can learn to make yourself calm down & relax a little, the pain might ease up. Good luck!

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December 8, 20100 found this helpful

A wise man that worked on my car said,"I never worry. If you are worrying you are not praying and if you are praying you are not worrying." I take my hat off to him and I will never forget it.

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December 8, 20100 found this helpful

I sympathize, I know stress! Try sitting in a quiet place for a few minutes and massaging the webbed area triangle of muscle between the thumb and hand with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand (thumb on top, finger on bottom). If it's sore, with firm pressure, gently massage that area on both hands until the soreness is gone, the headache should be gone, too! I hope this (and maybe some of the others' suggestions) can help. It has worked for me when it's a stress and tension headache. Blessings.

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December 6, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

If you have ever had tension headaches, and found a relief for them, please let me know! I want to know what you did to minimize the tension headache, or what actually helped get rid of them?

Stephanie from Paterson, NJ


Relieving Tension Headaches

The Advil website has good information about the causes of tension headaches.

I have suffered from them due to anxiety for years. The two things that I have done that worked the best were massage therapy and meditation techniques. Yoga would be worth trying too. Good luck!

By Laurel_admin

Relieving Tension Headaches

The thing that helps me the most is to go to sleep. Even a short nap can help tremendously. If that isn't possible I get relief resting my head and neck on a heating pad. Put it on the lowest heat setting and cover it with a towel because even the lowest setting can get pretty hot. And do not fall asleep on it! (02/21/2008)

By perfume and powder

Relieving Tension Headaches

Excedrin makes a tension and migraine formula tablet. I have tension headaches and they both work well for me. I get mine at Wal-mart. Good luck. (02/22/2008)

By sandyb125

Relieving Tension Headaches

Try using moist heat on your neck, shoulders, and upper back (microwavable heat packs are great!).

Take frequent stretch breaks if you work at a computer terminal all day. A good stretch is the "military stretch." Back ramrod straight, chest out, head up. Hold for three minutes and do every couple of hours or so if you work sitting down all day.

You can also visit for more information. (02/22/2008)

By The Headache Guy

Relieving Tension Headaches

I also take a nap when I can. I find that Aspirin-Free Excedrin (the Tension Headache formula) helps tremendously. I think it may be the small amount of caffeine that's in it. (02/22/2008)

By Maryeileen

Relieving Tension Headaches

I have to agree with everyone else Excedrin Tension Headache pill's are great. However if you find you are nauseated this could be a migraine, either way for either headache my doctor told me to take Dramamine spelled something like that. Also before you take your meds please remember to eat something and never take meds on a empty stomach. And I agree a nap also helps. Try that Excedrin I think you will be happy!

Take care and try to find some way to relax each day. Watching a good movie, a walk if you do not live where it is about 10 degrees give or take a few degrees. Lunch and movies with friends, a good book, a nice warm bath with a magazine if at all possible. A massage is great, but don't make plans for after the massage as you always feel like they can just help you out to your car and pour you back in. If money is a problem try an institute wear the girls learn to give massages.

The ones who give the messages have to have so many hours in to graduate and it cost about $20.00. If money is no problem try the massage with the rocks they place on your back (pure bliss!). At any rate try to find ways to relax. You need to for your health! Good luck and have some fun. (02/22/2008)

By dar

Relieving Tension Headaches

My massage therapist helped me with this. It works better than pain killers! On the back of your head on the underside of your skull, right at the base of your head there are pressure points. They will be very sore. If you massage them it does huge amounts of good. Your will know how much you can take at a time. It will hurt while you are massaging them, but I always get relief. Also deep breathing. Blessings! (02/22/2008)

By velsgal

Relieving Tension Headaches

I find that visiting a chiropractor on a regular basis is a life-saver. Hope you find some relief. (02/23/2008)

By Marsanna

Relieving Tension Headaches

I have also found relief using a massaging shower head with the hottest water I can stand. I recommend avoiding sleeping on your stomach and try to find a pillow that supports you head and neck. I also do shoulder shrug/rolls frequently and gently tilt my head from side to side and front to back and hold for about ten seconds in each position. (Don't overstretch, just till you feel a very slight stretch of the muscles - not a pull). Therma-care also has the neck/shoulder pads that might be helpful for relieving the muscle tension in your neck/shoulder area. As the others here, I've had these for 15 years+ and have tried it all. You'll find a combination of things that will work best for you. (02/23/2008)

By youngster8

Relieving Tension Headaches

I have had headaches my whole life including migraines. The only thing that touches it is Advil liquid gels. But one thing I have by my bedside that I love is Bath and Body Works headache cream. It is in their aromatherapy line and it works great. It smells of peppermint and is just so soothing it almost puts me to sleep. Also, fill a tube sock 3/4 with uncooked rice sew that top closed and nuke it for a minute or so for a wonderful moist heat pack. I actually sew mine using a fleece fabric into a tube and continue as above. Hope it works! (02/24/2008)

By Carol

Relieving Tension Headaches

There are so many great tips here to follow. I've battled stress headaches and tension headaches for a good portion of my life. One thing that really helps me is walking by myself. It doesn't have to be an hour walk. It could be for just fifteen minutes, but it allows me to clear my mind and put things in proper perspective. I'm able to prioritize my problems and deal with them in a more orderly fashion instead of trying to solve them all at once. When you try to take care of everything all at the same time, even the slightest problem can seem overwhelming. The mere fact of being outside in the fresh air is also very relaxing.

The other thing that really helps me is using an aromatherapy eye pillow. I keep the eye pillow in the freezer so it's always ready to use. I use one with peppermint leaves, peppermint oils, and flax seed.

The weight of the flax seed works like acupressure on my eyes and temples. The flax seed holds the cold in to help reduce swelling and stress around my eyes. The peppermint scent just opens my sinuses right up and helps me breathe so much better. That alone helps me to relax. The eye pillow itself blocks out any light which always helps my headaches! The company I purchased it from is A Touch Of Satin. Their website is if anyone is interested.

They use organic flax seed and organic peppermint leaves and that was important to me. If you think this will help you then you might want to give them a look. I hope this helps everybody. It certainly helps me! (01/21/2009)

By CathyF

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