When Tension Headaches Disrupt Your Day
Stress headaches, also known as tension headaches, are a type of headache that come about when you are experiencing stress, inadequate sleep or poor posture. They’re described as dull pain, tightness or pressure around your forehead or the back of your head and neck. Some describe it as a band squeezing their head.
Stress headaches are extremely common: there are about 3 million cases in the U.S. every year. They’re usually self-diagnosable, self-treatable and resolve within days to weeks. Treatments include pain relievers, ice or heat pads on sore muscles and good posture. But probably the most important factor is the alleviation of stress in your life.
Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. When you experience stress, what most likely is occurring is increased myofascial pain sensitivity caused by sensitization of neurons in the supraspinal region.
In other words, stress is bad. And believe it or not, stress also increases your blood pressure and places a greater strain on your heart; it also increases your chances of developing a stroke. Tension headaches are actually very minor compared to what stress can do to your body in the long-term.
When you consistently experience stress headaches, then you know it’s time to make some adjustments to your daily routines. You have to identify what factors are stressful in your life and fix them. Maybe work is getting to you. Then try fixing something about your work, such as adjusting your pace or the way you approach work mentally.
Maybe you’re not getting enough exercise in your life. Exercise is a great source for the alleviation of stress: it helps you escape pressure and the demands of work and family life. It’s also very healthy and makes you feel great mentally, physically and emotionally. You cannot go wrong with exercise.
Maybe your sleep hygiene is slacking. Are you getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night? Yes, we all know that you’ve heard this one a thousand times, but how come you’re still not applying it? Sleep is crucial for a well-functioning brain! In order to feel less stress and perform more optimally, you need to treat yourself right with 8 hours of sleep per night.
By getting rid of stress, improving your sleep hygiene and posture and exercising at least 2-3 times a week, you will start to feel much better in many aspects of your life. You will also notice that your stress headaches will dissipate and you will start feeling great again! Start making the changes today.
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