If you've been suffering from regular tension headaches, then chances are you'll try anything to make them stop. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of people will eventually deal with tension headaches, so you're not alone. If traditional treatments haven't been helping, it could be time to experiment with alternative therapies. These aren't necessarily traditional medical procedures but have still been shown to provide many benefits.
All of the treatments listed below are safe and non-invasive, so you've got nothing to lose by trying them. Headaches are so common that the practitioner you see is sure to be experienced in treating them.
During an acupuncture session, fine needles are inserted into the body at special points believed to manipulate the flow of energy and reduce pain. You shouldn't feel any more than a mild discomfort while the needles are inserted, and everything will be fully sterilised and safe. Research on the use of acupuncture to treat headaches has shown that it may help by increasing endorphins in the body, reducing inflammation and stimulating nerves which affect the way we process pain. Many people also find acupuncture helpful in relieving stress, which can be a common cause of tension headaches.
Aromatherapy uses different essential oils specially blended to target your specific problem. Your practitioner will take a detailed medical history and then put together a blend of oils tailored to you. The oils can be applied to the skin during a massage, inhaled gently or dropped into a bath of water for maximum relaxation.
Peppermint oil is sometimes applied directly to the head due to its cooling properties and ability to stimulate blood flow. Lavender oil can help reduce stress and alleviate sleep problems, which are often seen in combination with regular headaches. Eucalyptus can help to relieve pressure in the sinuses, a common culprit when it comes to head pain. You might need to experiment a little before you find the aromatherapy treatment that works for you.
There are several different types of massage which can be really helpful in stopping headaches and reducing stress. A craniosacral massage involves a therapist gently massaging your skull and scalp, stimulating the nerves and reducing pain. A massage around the neck and shoulders can also help to release the tension that often contributes to headaches. A neuromuscular massage is an effective way to relax muscles by applying pressure to special 'trigger points'. You might feel some discomfort while the pressure is applied, but the relaxation you feel afterwards will be worth it.
Acupressure is a simple type of massage that works by applying pressure to different areas of the head. Once you've had the massage carried out professionally, you can try some of the techniques yourself next time a headache strikes.