Stressed woman at computer suffering from a tension headache

Habits That Trigger Tension Headaches & How to Relieve the Tension

To many people, it remains a mystery why tension headaches occur and what brings them on in the first place. It may come as a surprise to learn that there are distinct causes and certain physical habits that trigger tension headaches and facilitate their arrival. This is good news, however, because it means that headache sufferers can take control over their own symptoms and establish good habits that lead to wellness and pain-free days. The purpose of this article is to answer the question of what can cause tension headaches, what are the symptoms of a tension headache, and explore various therapeutic activities that headache sufferers can incorporate into daily routines to relieve the tension.

What Can Cause Tension Headaches?

The physiological cause of tension headaches is abnormal muscle contractions in the head and neck. These headaches are very common and can be mild, moderate, or severe in terms of pain. Tension headache triggers include different foods, stressors, and activities that people do without thinking every day. For example, staring at computer screens for extended periods of time can trigger a tension headache, as well as driving long distances without taking breaks. Cold temperatures are known to bring on tension headaches and also alcohol, dry eyes, fatigue, smoking, poor posture.2 Stress is the most common trigger for tension headaches.2,3
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What Are the Symptoms of a Tension Headache?

Although tension headaches are sometimes confused with migraines, they have their own distinct set of symptoms. People with true tension headaches typically describe the feeling as a dull pain in the head, pressure on the forehead, and tenderness of the forehead. However, most tension headaches do not tend to result in throbbing pain, nausea, vomiting, or sensitivities to light and sound in the way that migraines occur.3

How to Get Rid of Tension Headaches

Fortunately, there are certain habits that headache sufferers can adopt to make tension headaches less common and frequent. For example, people who get tension headaches on a regular basis should take frequent breaks while working on computers and driving. They should also avoid drinking an excess of alcohol or caffeine and learn to control stress in their lives. Since stress is the most commonly reported tension headache trigger, relaxation exercises, deep breathing methods, yoga, and meditation should be incorporated into daily life. Simple exercises and ergonomic chairs can help improve posture and reduce the likelihood of tension headaches too.3

Tips for Tension Headaches Relief

Preventative measures can go a long way in keeping headaches at bay, and fortunately, tension headaches can usually be treated at home with over-the-counter solutions. Gentle, yet effective, headache medications like Vanquish deliver quick relief for headaches without a prescription.1 For very severe tension headaches, a physician may recommend prescription medications, such as naproxen or prescription-strength acetaminophen. Taking hot baths or showers, or applying a heating pad to the head may help relieve tension. These are simple routine changes that can make a big difference for preventing and treating head pain that gets in the way of daily activities.
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Vanquish® is indicated for tension headaches. If you have a cluster headache, sinus headache, migraine headache or any other type of headache you may want to consult a doctor.

References for Habits That Trigger Tension Headaches & How to Relieve the Tension

  1. Altabakhi, I. W., & Zito, P. M. (2018, December 2). Acetaminophen/Aspirin/Caffeine. Retrieved on August 22, 2019 from
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Tension-Type Headaches. Retrieved on September 5, 2019 from
  3. Mayo Clinic. Tension Headache; Diagnosis and Treatment. Retrieved on August 19, 2019 from
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