What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety Headaches
Two types of headaches most commonly associated with anxiety are tension headaches and migraine attacks.
Tension headaches, while they can impair your quality of life, arent always disruptive to your daily routine and may improve fairly quickly.
Symptoms of a tension headache may include:
- tense muscles around the neck, head, and face
- tender neck, shoulders, and scalp
- squeezing pain around the head that may feel like a tight band
- mild to moderate pain
- dull or aching pain
On the other hand, migraine attacks can be severe enough to disrupt your daily activities and may get worse through physical activity.
Symptoms of a migraine attack include:
- severe pain, usually only on one side of the head
- severe pain that lasts a few hours to a few days
- throbbing, pounding, or pulsating pain
- sensitivity to light, noise, or smells
- nausea and vomiting
- migraine aura, which are sensory symptoms like vision distortions that may happen before or during a migraine attack
2016 study found higher rates of depression and anxiety in people who have migraine.
Based on the research, headaches, anxiety, and depression may be directly linked through a common neurological issue or indirectly linked through unintended side effects if the person with anxiety or depression is being treated with medication.
Anxiety may also set off your fight, flight, or freeze response. This response could lead to increased muscle tension , which may cause headaches.
How To Seek Stress Headache Relief
The action plan to seek relief from stress headache consists of
- Lowering stress levels
- Eating healthy food at regular intervals
- Quit smoking
Is this difficult to achieve?
You may need to make efforts to change your lifestyle, but it will all be for your good. Most importantly, take care of your stress levels and body posture.
Remember one thing when you try to lower your stress levels that if you cant change the stressful situation change your reaction towards it.
This will help you maintain your composure. You also need to achieve mind-control so that you dont raise your stress and anxiety level, and eventually not have stress headache.
A good posture puts minimal strain on your ligaments, muscles, tendons, and bones. So, they dont get tensed up.
However, poor posture puts continual strain on your shoulders, neck, and upper back. This causes the muscle fibers to tear.
As a result you feel tightness in those areas and the flow of blood to the back of your head is restricted, besides causing some nerve ending irritation too.
Dont worry you do have an army of stress headache relief techniques that can really help you normalize the muscles, nerves, and achieve mental balance.
Heres a short video that shows some exercises that you can do on your own to seek relief from stress headache, whenever you take a break from your work.
Dr. Kevin McDougal ~ Get Rid of Computer Neck Headaches and Shoulder Pain ~ You Tube Video
Significance Of The Study
TTH and stress are common problems the students experience. Alternative and complementary medicine, like cryotherapy, is effective for relieving physical and psychological pain. Use of ice compression by placing it at the back of the neck leads to relief tension and anxiety, and gives feeling of relaxation and full of energy for doing daily life activities. The effects occur like antidepressant drugs. It also decreases recurrence feeling of TTH. The significance of using it comes from the fact that this experience needs no money, no effort, little time, and effective safe alternative therapy for mental tension and TTH for academic students and other people who are suffering from mental tension and tension headache. The results from this study will provide the basis for the formulation of future research questions that can explore the effects of cryotherapy for the treatment of many psychological and physical problems, and more specifically, research studies that will consider the role of cryotherapy for the treatment of physical and psychological problems.
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As If Stress Werent Bad Enough On Its Own It Can Both Trigger And Worsen Headaches
Modern life is stressful and, unfortunately, that doesnt seem likely to change any time soon. From the moment your alarm clock jolts you out of bed until youre finally done for the day, you are likely to experience some amount of stress. This can be in the form of anxiety or other psychological pressures, or physical stress such as eye and neck strain from sitting at a computer. While a little stress is tolerable, too much can have damaging effects on your health.i Many symptoms can be attributed to the mental and physiological pressures were under. These can range from fatigue to stomach upset to sleep problems. Top of the list? That nagging headache.ii
Give Yourself A Massage
Gently targeting the muscles in your scalp, temples, or bottom of your neck can help relieve the tension that spurred your headache, Dr. Mikhael says.
You can also target your masseter musclethe thick muscle that connects your jawbone and cheekboneif you tend to clench, grind, or generally hold tension in your face. When your jaw becomes too tight, it can cause other nearby muscles in your head and neck to do the same. When the force is too great you can get tension headaches, David Reavy, a Chicago-based physical therapist, previously told Prevention.
Try this 10-second masseter massage from Reavy a few times a day:
- Place the pads of your fingers or knuckles at the masseter muscle.
- Then, open your jaw as much as you can.
- Close your mouth and repeat until you feel the muscle release.
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When To See A Doctor
Aside from the use of stress management techniques, many people find that over-the-counter stress relievers are also very helpful. However, particularly with migraines, heavier medications may prove to be more useful. And because some headaches can be associated with more serious health conditions, its important to see a doctor if you have severe headaches or if you just suspect that something may be significantly wrong.
Either way, stress management can be helpful, but if you’re concerned about your headaches and they interfere with your daily activities or you seem to need more help than stress management alone, it’s always a good idea to run things by your doctor to be sure there are no serious issues at play, or to find the help you need to be more comfortable in your daily life.
How To Relieve Tension Headache
Tension headache is likely to happen again and again if you are stressed. The pain can be managed with over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. For some people, hot or cold shower help relieve tension headache. Resting in a quiet, cool room and putting a cool clothe on your forehead can also ease out the pain.
There are gentle exercises that can help alleviate head pain related to stress and tight muscles in the upper back or neck.
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Move : Pec Doorway Stretch
What Are The Stress Headache Causes
A stress headache is not simply a mental phenomenon. Although stress headaches are the most common form of headaches among adults, its causes are not well understood.
Stress is the biggest factor of tension headaches. It includes mental stress and emotional tension.
This stress could be due to work, your boss or colleague at your workplace, conflicts in the family, a fight with your loved one, or any other uncomfortable situation.
Apart from stress, some other factors to consider while seeking stress headache relief measures include:
- Eyestrain or squinting to read
- Using a chair without any low back support
- Incorrect position of the monitor/screen, which should be at your eye level
- Holding the phone between the ear and shoulders while talking for long hours
- Using the computer mouse without any elbow support
Stress headache is thought to be caused by muscle tension or tightness around the head and neck. It is also assumed that these tension headaches have something to do with the mixed signals sent by the nerves to the brain.
Daily stress could be one of the causes that may lead to chronic tension headaches. Before that happens, you should either seek self-help measures or professional help for stress headache relief.
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When You Have A Tension Headache
Hot or cold showers or baths may relieve a headache for some people. You may also want to rest in a quiet room with a cool cloth on your forehead.
Gently massaging your head and neck muscles may provide relief.
If your headaches are due to stress or anxiety, you may want to learn ways to relax.
Over-the-counter pain medicine, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen, may relieve pain. If you are planning to take part in an activity that you know will trigger a headache, taking pain medicine beforehand may help.
Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
Follow your health care provider’s instructions about how to take your medicines. Rebound headaches are headaches that keep coming back. They can occur from overuse of pain medicine. If you take pain medicine more than 3 days a week on a regular basis, you can develop rebound headaches.
Be aware that aspirin and ibuprofen can irritate your stomach. If you take acetaminophen , DO NOT take more than a total of 4,000 mg of regular strength or 3,000 mg of extra strength a day to avoid liver damage.
Are Headaches Caused By Stress
Many people may wonder if headaches are a direct result of stress. The answer is yes, no, and maybe. Stress can cause many headaches and they can exacerbate others. However, knowing the type of headache you are dealing with can help you to know if stress is a trigger, a contributor, or simply a by-product of the type of headache you are experiencing, so you know the best ways to focus on pain relief and prevention.
While some headaches are blamed entirely on stress, there can be other factors at play as well likewise, some headaches can be blamed on a predisposition to headaches when stress can be a primary trigger. In all cases, it helps to understand more about the nature of the headaches you are experiencing and their relationship to stress.
There are three different types of headaches, two of which are not caused primarily by stress, and one that may be:
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How Can I Be Sure It Is Not A More Serious Type Of Headache
With tension headaches, you are normally well between headaches, and have no other ongoing symptoms. A doctor diagnoses tension headaches by their description. In addition, there is nothing abnormal to find if a doctor examines you . Tests are not needed unless you have unusual symptoms, or something other than chronic tension headache is suspected. Of particular note, medication-overuse headache should be ruled out as this can often be mistaken for chronic tension headache.
Compared to migraine, a tension headache is usually less severe, and is constant rather than throbbing. Also, migraine attacks usually cause a one-sided headache, and many people with a migraine attack feel sick or are sick . Some people have both migraine attacks and tension headaches at different times. In addition, some people find that one of the types of headaches is followed by another, perhaps because the pain and tiredness due to the first headache cause the second.
Why You Should Kick Headache Medication
While many people turn to medication for headache relief, medications merely dull the pain of the headache. It doesnt address the source of the problem. It doesnt make it go away. Most likely, youll be taking pain medication for the rest of your life without receiving long lasting relief.
So, what does physical therapy do for those suffering from chronic headaches? Physical therapy reduces the likelihood of headaches returning in the future by correcting the issue that caused the problem in the first place.
Therapists address the problem head-on by using targeted massage and stretching can alleviate tension in the neck, back, and shoulders. These methods can reduce the severity of tension headaches. Stress related headaches are often associated with tension, as well, while migraine headaches could be the result of an imbalance of hormones or nutrient deficiency. Your therapist will be able to determine if youre dealing with either of these.
You can start working to reduce the pain of headaches at home by following a few simple strategies. Engaging in healthy activities like daily yoga practice can help you to alleviate tension, which can also help to reduce the severity and frequency of your headaches. Drinking plenty of water can help to reduce your risk of dehydration, which, like other nutritional deficiencies, can frequently lead to headaches.
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Get Emergency Care For Severe Extreme Headaches
Tension headaches can be uncomfortable and annoying, but they usually arent severe. If youre experiencing a severe headache , you should seek medical care as soon as possible.
Its especially important to contact a medical professional if you develop a severe headache that starts suddenly, if you vomit during a headache, if you have a high fever, or if you suddenly have difficulties speaking, moving, balancing or seeing clearly.
Finding Out The Type Of Headache You Have
A doctor can usually diagnose tension headaches by asking you questions about your health and lifestyle and by examining you.
It can be hard to know which type of headache you have, because different types can have the same symptoms. But the treatments may be different, so its important to find out which type you have.
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The Science Behind Pressure Points And Headaches
Theres not too much science that supports the use of reflexology to treat headaches, and the studies we have are small and need to be expanded.
However, there are a few studies that have looked into how massage therapy on the head and shoulders can relieve headaches. This sometimes involves stimulating pressure points on the head.
In one small study from 2002 , scientists investigated how massage might help four adults who were experiencing chronic tension headaches, defined as experiencing tension headaches two to three times per week for 6 months.
In the study, the massages lowered the number of headaches in each study participant within the first week of treatment. By the end of the treatment period, the average number of headaches each study participant experienced fell from almost seven headaches per week to just two per week. The average length of a study participants headache also decreased by half during the treatment period from an average of 8 hours to an average of 4.
In a much older but slightly larger study from 1990, scientists looked at how 10 intense 1-hour massage treatments spread over 2 weeks might affect 21 women experiencing chronic headaches. As in the smaller study, participants in this study received massages from certified massage practitioners. The effects of the massages were then studied on a more long-term time frame.
Do you have migraine attacks too? There have also been studies on stimulating pressure points for migraine relief.
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Diet And Lifestyle Changes
Making healthy changes to your lifestyle and diet is another means of managing the headaches associated with anxiety disorders. Key lifestyle changes to incorporate include:
- Keep a headache diary: Keep a log of when your headaches and other symptoms are happening, what medications youre taking, what youre eating and drinking, levels of tension and stress, and any other factors that may influence your condition. The more you know about your headaches and anxiety, the better youll be able to treat them.
- Exercise:Regular activity and ensuring your fitness can go a long way in managing anxiety disorders and headache attacks. Aim for a minimum of 150 minutes a week of light to moderate activity. Start small and scale up as you make progress.
- Manage weight:Higherweight is linked with increased incidence and rates of migraine and other headache disorders. Working to manage weight through diet, exercise, and other means can reduce the frequency of attacks.
Stress Headaches: Signs Symptoms And Treatment
Stress headaches fall under the category of primary headaches. This means that the headaches are not caused by any underlying illness or condition. The primary trigger for this type of headache is stress, which causes the muscles in the shoulders and neck to contract which leads to pain in the base of the skull where the neck meets the head. The pain then extends to the back of the head and is often described by patients as a dull, vice-like pressure felt around the head. This is a very common headache type which affects even those who are not prone to various other primary or secondary conditions.
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Chronic Vs Acute Headaches
Primary headache disorders like tension headaches and migraines tend to recur. Cases are considered chronic when you experience symptoms 15 or more days in a month. More common are acute headaches, in which symptoms occur less frequently. Research has shown anxiety disorders increase the chances of acute headaches becoming chronic.