Tension Headache (cont.)
Danette C. Taylor, DO, MS, FACN
Dr. Taylor has a passion for treating patients as individuals. In practice since 1994, she has a wide range of experience in treating patients with many types of movement disorders and dementias. In addition to patient care, she is actively involved in the training of residents and medical students, and has been both primary and secondary investigator in numerous research studies through the years. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine (Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology). She graduated with a BS degree from Alma College, and an MS (biomechanics) from Michigan State University. She received her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her internship and residency were completed at Botsford General Hospital. Additionally, she completed a fellowship in movement disorders with Dr. Peter LeWitt. She has been named a fellow of the American College of Neuropsychiatrists. She is board-certified in neurology by the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry. She has authored several articles and lectured extensively; she continues to write questions for two national medical boards. Dr. Taylor is a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council (MSAC) of the Alzheimer's Association of Michigan, and is a reviewer for the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- What is a tension headache?
- What causes tension headaches?
- What are the symptoms of tension headache?
- How are tension headaches diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for tension headache?
- Are home remedies effective for tension headache?
- Can tension headaches be prevented?
- Headache & Migraine Triggers - Slideshow
- Take the Headache Quiz
- Find a local Neurologist in your town
Are home remedies effective for tension headache?
Sometimes headaches can be triggered by mild dehydration or lack of food; if so, then drinking some non-caffeinated fluids or eating something may help. People who eat flaxseed regularly, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, may experience a decrease in headaches. This is thought to be related to the anti-inflammatory properties of the omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, inhaling the scent of peppermint oil or lavender oil may help decrease headache pain (lavender oil should not be consumed orally). Scalp massage is easily done and may provide significant relief; concentrating efforts over the temporal regions or the occipital area (the back of the scalp) may lead to the best response.
Can tension headaches be prevented?
Often, the best defense is a good offense; a similar strategy will work when trying to prevent tension headache. Identification of triggers of headache with subsequent efforts to avoid or modify those triggers can be very successful to decrease or even eliminate tension headache. Some people find that scheduled exercise and eating on a regular basis is beneficial. Learning and practicing relaxation techniques, including deep breathing exercises, directed relaxation of specific muscles, or meditation, can also be very effective.
If headaches are occurring regularly or have changed in severity or frequency; or if the patient experiences a headache which is very different from his or her usual headaches, the patient should see their doctor.
Medically reviewed by Jon Glass, MD; American board of Psychiatry and Neurology
Blanda, Michelle, et al. "Tension Headache." Medscape. 17 May 2012.
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