You are not alone. Common tension headaches account for an amazing amount of time lost from work and more importantly, loss of productivity at work. You will find pain relievers in nearly all workplace breakrooms. There are some natural approaches you can take to address them once you have them and avoid getting them in the first place.
One of the simplest solutions is to drink more water. Dehydration of the brain is a very common cause of headache and mental fatigue.
While headaches result from many causes we will address the common muscle tension headache and headache patterns resulting from trigger point activity in muscles. It is always advisable to have acute and chronic headaches screened by medical doctors to rule out anatomical causes such as tumors and vascular distress such as blood clots and narrowing of the arteries such as the carotid arteries in the neck.
These are the most common causes for headache symptoms. They are usually brought on by stress. It could be emotional stress from events at the workplace or from domestic home situations. Those of us in relationships know that there are good times and there are not so good times. There is no age limit when it comes to tension headaches. School aged children deal with exams and homework not to mention the postural distortions caused by heavy backpacks. Prolonged postural strain at work, home or play can lead to the formation of myofascial trigger points described below.
Prolonged postural strain patterns can lead to muscular tension that becomes embedded in the body and may result in pain patterns which include headache symptoms. Past traumas to the head and neck often leave their legacy in the form of headaches with the creation of myofascial trigger points and misalignment of the skull and neck due to muscular tension and scar tissue adhesions.
In our massage practice over the years we have encountered numerous clients with headache complaints. Often, they result from muscle tension created by poor postural alignment. When your head is positioned forward of your shoulders, the muscles that are responsible for moving the head and neck in the back of the body are put under constant strain. This results in poor circulation and muscular tension. Some nerves which serve the head pass through the muscles in the back of the head and neck. Pressure on these nerves can result in pain and reduced blood flow to the tissues they control. Massage of these muscles can bring relief.
Trigger points can develop in muscles which have referral patterns into various areas of the head and face. Some of these muscles are sternocleidomastiod, splenius capitis, splenius cervicis, suboccipital group, trapezius, frontalis, and occipitalis. Several of the referral patterns are similar to those reported as migraines. These muscles can be massaged by addressing the muscles on the back and side of the neck thoroughly using fingertip or thumb pressure. (See our instructional videos on Self Massage of the Neck and Effective Massage of the Neck)
Reflex areas on the feet and hands can also be manipulated in order to reduce tension and increase blood flow to the brain.
Traditionally, the aromatherapy approach to headache relief would include the application of peppermint, Roman chamomile or basil essential oil directly to the skin on the back of the neck or to the temple or forehead areas of the head. There are other essential oil blends that can help headaches by increasing blood flow to the head such as AromaLife , M-Grain, Relieve It, and Aroma Siez marketed exclusively by Young Living Essential Oil company.