I quite often get tension headaches, they make my forehead so tight that it barely moves, my neck can often hurt as well. It usually lasts several days and I try many things to ease it. Screwing up my eyes, staring at a screen and leaning on my desk getting closer to my screen along with the stresses of work are usually the causes of it. I do get my eyes regularly checked as I wear contact lenses, so it’s usually not associated with my eyesight. But if you’ve ever had a tension headache, you know how painful, tight and awful they can be, distracting you from doing things. Closing your eyes can give you some relief as can sleeping, however you can’t often do that. So what can you do to ease the pain, here are a few ideas:
- Find somewhere nice and quiet to sit or lie down. Close your eyes and breathe slowly for around 2-5 minutes.
- Sleep. Pop an eye mask on to block out any light, pair this with the above and it won’t be long until you are counting the zzzzzzzz.
- Get a cooling eye mask or put a cooling cloth on your head, lie down and relax, focus on your breath.
- Smile, it helps to relax the muscles, releases serotonin and makes you feel good.
- Yoga – do poses that focus on your neck and shoulders to use the muscles and help them relaxed. Even a couple of slow and controlled neck rolls or make a circle with your nose, gradually getting bigger (the circle, not your nose)! Gently shrug and roll your shoulders as well, this feels good.
- Put some peppermint oil or lavender oil in a burner or diffuser, these are great oils to help you relax and reduce the pain.
- Rosemary oil is another good one, it is a good pain reliever, it has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Massage your temple, both sides in a circular motion to help ease, use the oils mentioned above. Make sure you mix any of the essential oils with a carrier oil before applying to your skin. Jojoba, grapeseed or coconut oil can be used. Never apply essential oils neat onto the skin.
- Put a few drops of these oils on a tissue or on your pillow and breath deep. It’s all about relaxing your body.
- Have a bath and add a few drops of these oils to it, put some chill out music on and let the aromas and the oils do there thing.
- Put a warm compress on the back of your neck, this can relax the muscles and hopefully help reduce the tightness.
- Check out your posture, are you sitting correctly, we spend so long sitting at desks but our posture can start off correct but we end up slouching or leaning forward, make sure you are sitting back in your chair and that the chair has an adjustable back. You don’t want to be straining your neck.
- Go outside for a walk, just being outside can help in the fresh air. Try to walk somewhere quiet like in a park or through the woods, getting into nature and taking in your surroundings. Wear sunglasses to reduce the brightness which may add to your tension headache. But walking will stretch out your muscles and hopefully loosen off the tightness, A gentle stroll is all that is needed – no need to power walk.
- If you do have a desk job, then take regular breaks away, get up and walk around for a few minutes and when you sit back down, reset your posture and ensure your work station is ergonomically set up.
- Laugh, ok, so you may need something to laugh at, but this can help….in the same way that smiling does.
Tension headaches can be a real pain, in both ways! Do you know what caused yours? Is it stress? Is it tiredness? Maybe it’s bad posture from sitting all day. Take a look at what changes you can make, however small. If you are suffering from these a lot and they are impacting your day then have a chat with your doctor. Taking painkillers may be a quick fix but it doesn’t get to the root of the problem, so try some of the other techniques or ideas to reduce the tension and give them a go until you can remove or reduce the issue that caused the tension in the first place.
Let me know how you get on trying any of the above. My favourites that work for me are smiling, yes, I may look creepy with a big smile on my face but it does give some instant relief – pretty good when you are working and can’t do any of the others. Going for a walk is also something that helps me and I find using lavender and peppermint oil work wonders in a diffuser. Neck and shoulder rolls help to lessen the pain for me and you can also do these at your desk!
Have a great week, take care and look after you!
Love Emma xx