Apply heat or ice to relieve tight neck and shoulder muscles. Use a set of low-temperature heating pads, a hot water bottle, a hot shower or bath, a warm compress, or a warm towel. Or apply an ice pack (wrapped in a cloth) or a cold cloth to the forehead. Massage can also relieve muscle tension and sometimes headache.
A tension headache occurs when the muscles in the neck and scalp tighten or contract. Muscle contractions can be a response to stress, depression, a head injury, or anxiety. Unfortunately, repeated use of painkillers that are available without a prescription can cause another type of headache, the headache from overuse of medications. If you have frequent tension headaches (more than once or twice a week), here are some strategies that can show you how to get rid of a headache.
These types of headaches occur when you get so used to a medicine that you feel pain when the medicines go away. If tension headaches occur regularly or frequently, therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation therapy, or biofeedback can reduce or eliminate headaches. Newman, MD, President of the American Headache Society and Director, Headache Institute, Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital, New York City. Because tension headaches are often caused by specific triggers, identifying the factors that cause headaches is one way to prevent future episodes.