How can I relieve my Tension Headache?

What is a Tension Type Headache?

  • A headache that can be felt as pressure around the head and/or neck, generally associated with tight bands of muscles.
  • If it lasts 14 days or less, it is considered episodic and if it lasts fifteen days or more out of a month for 3 consecutive months it is considered chronic.
  • A tension headache can last from 30 min to several hours.
  • This headache is normally felt on both sides of the head and can sometimes be felt behind the eye.
  • It is not throbbing or pulsating, and not accompanied by nausea or vomiting.

Tension Headache








Who gets Tension Type Headaches?

  • Anyone can get a Tension Headache at some point in their life. It is the most common type of headache.
  • They can develop at any age but are more common in teenagers and adults.
  • Women tend to suffer from them more commonly than men.


What causes a Tension Type Headache?

The exact cause is unknown, but the following are associated with tension headaches:

  • Neurotransmitter imbalances which trigger pain pathways in the brain
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Squinting
  • Poor posture
  • Tiredness
  • Missing meals, lack of iron/minerals
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Dehydration


What is the treatment for Tension Headaches?


Relaxation techniques:

Soft tissue massage:

  • Natural lift face Massage

Medication guided by your GP


What can my physiotherapist do for my Tension Headache?

Physiotherapists are trained with to assess, pick up muscle imbalances and locate the muscles causing pain and treat them accordingly. Tension headaches are treated with:

  • Acupuncture: There is consistent evidence that acupuncture is effective for tension-type headaches. The needles release a cascade of natural pain killers by triggering a response from the nervous system and relaxes muscular tension by directing blood flow to the area.
  • Soft Tissue Release: A massage technique that assists in stretching the muscle, fascia and ligaments that could potentially be causing pain.
  • Education for correct alignment and posture and a structured exercise programme: By correcting posture through exercise it automatically transcribes to relieving other areas of our body and thereby can relieve tension headaches.
  • Passive manipulation of cervical spinal joints: Your physiotherapist manually puts pressure on the vertebrae in the neck whereby any stiffness or pain is felt and relieves pain through manual pressure
  • Cryotherapy: Placing ice on the Tension headache causes a decrease in blood flow to the area thereby relieving pressure.
  • Stretches
  • Deep Neck flexor exercises: Strengthening the deep muscles in your neck can help prevent muscle tension caused by weak muscles.Posterior and Lateral Neck Muscles.

Tension Headaches are easily managed and preventable.

If you are suffering from tension headaches, contact our team for a quick recovery; to not only treat your headaches, but keep them away.



Amy Vowles

Consultant Physiotherapist

Amy Vowles, Consultant Physiotherapist

Physit Limited.
Registered Office: 71-75 Shelton Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9JQ
Registered in England & Wales No. 08276116