When you get a tension headache, the only thing you care about is how to prevent another one. That’s no surprise.
You know the tell-tale signs:
- Dull, aching pain
- Tightness or pressure across your forehead or on the sides and back of your head
- Tenderness of your scalp, neck, and shoulder muscles
If you get less than 15 per month, you have what doctors call episodic tension headaches. If you get more than 15 per month for three or more months, you have chronic tension headaches.
How Can I Prevent Them?
You might not be able to stop every single one. But there are lots of things you can do to get fewer of them. For starters, try some of these lifestyle changes:
Exercise regularly. At least 30 minutes, 5 times a week, is ideal. It eases stress and keeps you fit. It also helps to stretch. Pay close attention to your jaw, neck, and shoulders. These are areas where we tend to hold a lot of tension.
Get enough sleep. When you’re well-rested, it’s much easier to deal with daily stress.
Improve your posture. A strong stance can help keep your muscles from tensing. When you stand, hold your shoulders back and your head level. Tighten your belly and buttocks. When you sit, make sure your thighs are parallel to the floor and your head and neck don’t slump forward.
Drink lots of water. If you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to get a tension headache. Drink several glasses of fresh, filtered water each day, even if you’re not thirsty. It also helps to eat foods that are naturally rich in water, like most fruits and vegetables.
Keep a headache diary. Record the date, time, and what you were doing or had eaten when you get a headache. This will help you spot triggers. It’ll also help your doctor come up with a treatment plan.