How Long Do Tension Headaches Last & How to Get Rid of it?

A pain or discomfort felt in your head, scalp, or neck is known to be tension headache which is a common type of headache occurring at any age. However, tension headaches are more common in teens and adults. This type of headache generally occurs because of muscle contraction or tightening of the muscles in the head and the neck.

How Long Do Tension Headaches Last?

How Long Do Tension Headaches Last?

The most common types of headaches are the tension headaches and these headaches usually tend to happen again and again; especially if an individual is under stress. Though tension headaches are not a sign of something serious; however, they can be very much painful and it may be very difficult for the person to live with it.

Tension headaches can last anywhere from about 30 minutes to almost 7 days. In case you have a tension headache for 15 or more days each month for over a period of 3 months then you may suffer from chronic tension headaches. Such types of chronic tension headaches may lead to stress and depression, which in turn can lead to more tension headaches.

How to Get Rid of Tension Headaches?

Let us here know about some of the ways to get rid of tension headache

Medical Treatments to Get Rid of Tension Headaches:

  • Most individuals can treat their tension headaches with OTC pain relievers such as Aspirin, Acetaminophen etc. However, you may get rebound headaches if you are taking these pain relievers more than three times in a week. Rebound headaches are something that usually begins after pain medicine has worn off, which leads you to take one more dose. After a while, you get a headache whenever you stop taking the pain relieving medicines.
  • In case you have chronic tension headaches, your doctor would prescribe you with the effective medications for getting rid of the headache.
  • If the cause of your tension headache is a temporomandibular joint problem or a cervical vertebrae problem, then medical treatment for this condition would be highly essential. Similarly a neck injury causing tension headache can be helped with a supportive collar which allows the neck muscles to rest and relax and treat tension headaches. Likewise, treating the underlying causes is required in order to get rid of the tension headaches.

Home Treatments to Get Rid of Tension Headaches

Below are some of the special home treatments you can follow at home so as to get rid of tension headaches.

Hot and Cold Therapy:

Hot and cold treatment can be an effective home remedy to get rid of tension headaches. You can go for hot or cold baths or shower, which may relieve the headache for some individuals. You may also apply heat to the area of the head or neck where there is the most severe pain. Apply using a heating pad on a low setting for a brief time period or apply heat in the form of a dry towel warmed in the oven. You may also go for resting in a quiet room with a cool cloth on your forehead.

Massage Gently:

A gentle fingertip massage over the area, just in front of and just above the ears or the temporal area, can be useful home remedy in getting rid of the pain in tension headaches. Also, massaging your head and neck muscle gently would help in providing enough relief.

Simply Lie Down and Relax:

It is also noted that simply lying down and relaxing may also help you in reducing the pain in tension headaches. Many individuals find concentrating on a soothing thought or image while taking slow, deep breaths would help them relax greatly.

Keep A Record Of Your Tension Headaches:

It is recommended that you must record on a calendar the date of the headache, the time when it started and ended, the amount of medication you took for relieving the tension headache. It is also required that you must take this record while you visit your doctor which would help you in the treatment.

Preventive Measures for Tension Headaches:

Knowing your headache triggers and working on them accordingly would help you greatly to avoid situations that cause tension headaches. Below are some of the preventive measures for tension headaches.

  • Practice good posture while working, reading or doing other activities
  • Use a different pillow or change your sleeping position
  • Go for more vigorous exercises. Also exercise and stretch your back, neck and shoulders, especially while typing or working over computers.
  • Have your eyes checked properly.
  • Learn and practice stress management well. Go for relaxation exercises and meditations which would really help.


If your headache begins all of a sudden, or if you have speech, vision or movement issues or if you have a loss of balance with your tension headaches then do call 911 immediately or visit your doctor and take the best treatments to get rid of it.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 23, 2017

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