Tips for Getting Relief from Tension Headaches


The Trapezius muscle, better known as the Traps, is the muscle that runs from the base of the skull along both sides of the top of the shoulders and halfway down the back forming almost a diamond shape. The Sternocleidomastoid, SCM, is the superficial muscle running down both sides of the anterior portion of the neck starting right below the ear and connecting to the collar bone. These muscles are controlled by what is called a cranial nerve rather than a spinal nerve. So, when these muscles become tight or tense, they are in turn pulling down on that cranial nerve and can cause the common headache. 

The best and most natural thing to do when you feel a headache coming on is to find those muscles along your neck or your Traps on the top of your shoulders and slightly massage or gently pinch those muscles to help relieve some of that pressure that is being placed on that cranial nerve. This may help that headache from ever coming on completely or give some relief to an existing headache.

Another tip for tension headaches is to gently pull your hair. The skull and muscles on the head are covered by what is called a layer of fascia. Fascia is a structure of connective tissue that surrounds muscles, bones, organs and nerves, and helps to protect the body. The fascia can be soft and pliable or hard and dense. When it’s hard, it can compress nerves and cause discomfort. When the fascia that is covering the skull becomes hard and dense, it can often cause headaches. A trick to relieving this type of tension headache would be to give your hair a tug in all directions. You want to get a good amount of hair in each hand. Gently, but firmly, pull the hair slowly in one direction and then another. This will loosen up that tight fascia and can bring instant relief to a tension headache. Taking slow deep breaths in and out will also assist in headache relief by bringing in plenty of fresh oxygen to the brain.

Brittany Boswell, LMBT

Urbana Wellness Spa