(WellnessPursuits.com) – The stress of everyday life can really weigh us down and affect our bodies in a lot of different ways. One of those ways is through stress headaches. Even though this type of headache is pretty common, that doesn’t mean you have to just live with them. We have suggestions on the best ways to stop stress headaches in their tracks — and in some cases, even before they start!
What is a Stress Headache?
In the midst of the pain from a headache, most of us don’t really care whether it’s officially called a stress headache or not. We just want the pain to stop and not come back. What we sometimes call stress headaches are officially known as tension or tension-type headaches according to the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD-3). These headaches don’t have typical migraine features, such as nausea or sensitivity to light.
How to Reduce or Stop a Stress Headache Right Now
If you’re already suffering from a headache, your immediate goal is to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
Give the Trapezius Stretch a Try
There are a lot of stretching exercises that can help stop a stress headache, and one of the most popular is the trapezius stretch. Doing this stretch helps reduce tightness in the trapezius muscle, which runs up the side of the neck from the shoulder to the head. To do this exercise, sit in a chair and put one arm behind your back.
Then look down toward your armpit on the opposite side. Rotate your head up and away from your armpit, and then use your other arm to pull your head down toward your armpit on that same side. Hold the stretch for a few seconds. You can do this as many times as you need to, and this great video demonstrates how to do this stretch the right way.
Check Out the Pressure Points
Another way to stop a stress headache is by manipulating pressure points. There are four main pressure points to stop tension headaches, and you’ll want to press firmly on the point you choose for 15 to 30 seconds. It’s important not to use these techniques during pregnancy, as some could induce labor. The pressure points are:
- Between your thumb and index finger.
- Between your fourth and fifth fingers.
- The middle of your trapezius muscles.
- The base of your skull, behind your head.
Here’s a pressure point video that demonstrates the right position for each one of these maneuvers. You can try them in order, or choose just one area to work on. By working with these pressure points, and trying the stretches mentioned in the above section, you can help stop a stress headache in its tracks.
Getting the muscles to loosen up may mean less pain and a headache that goes away faster. Since stress headaches can last from 30 minutes to one week, getting rid of one quickly is important. Taking a break from the stressful activity may ease headaches, too, but it’s not always possible to get the break you’re looking for.
If you’re over 50, if headaches aren’t normal for you or they’re getting worse over time, it’s worth a trip to your healthcare professional. The same advice is true if you’re taking medication for them once a week or more on a regular basis.
While stress headaches aren’t generally serious, there could be an underlying medical problem if you find that headaches are more painful, more frequent, last longer, or come with symptoms such as dizziness, fever, blurred vision, or faintness.
But for most people, without additional symptoms, stress headaches are an annoyance that can be managed through lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques and the occasional OTC medication.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits!
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