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What are some natural treatments for a tension headache?

Various types of physical and relaxation therapies prevent tension headaches, although these techniques work only if you practice them on a regular basis, preferably every day. The simplest strategy is to apply a heating pad to your neck and shoulders to relax the muscles. Exercising these muscles also helps, by strengthening and stretching them. Your doctor may be able to provide examples of suitable exercises or a referral to a physical therapist. Other physical techniques to relieve tension headache include massage to relax muscles or traction to stretch them.

Two types of relaxation therapies may also be useful. Autogenic training is a technique in which you learn to focus your attention on various parts of your body, in succession, and then imagine them becoming warm and heavy in order to relax them. Another relaxation technique is biofeedback, in which you learn to recognize when your muscles are becoming tense and learn how to relax them, based on signals from your own body. In biofeedback for tension headache, typically a therapist will attach electrodes to your skin to detect electrical signals from your neck and shoulder muscles. When you become tense, the biofeedback machine may beep or flash a light. You learn to recognize when you are becoming tense and then find ways to relax the muscles before they tighten so much you develop a tension headache.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)
Instead of popping a pill, try these natural cures to relieve your tension headaches. Their efficacy proves that you can find relief outside of a bottle.
  • Peppermint oil: Apply this oil to your hairline; it creates a cooling sensation that relaxes the muscles in your head and neck. You can find this oil in health stores for $6.
  • Ginger tea: You can buy fresh ginger at your local grocery store. Crush up an inch of ginger root and add it to boiling water. This homemade tea reduces inflammation in about the same amount of time as it would take an aspirin to work.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.