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Headaches are one of the most common afflictions and in most of the cases gets relieved by relaxation and a mild painkiller. Some people, however,experience chronic and recurring headaches which affect the possibility ofliving a normal day to day life.

The main causes of tension headaches are therepetitive excessive contractions of the neck, scalp, jaw and face muscles. Thepain is derived from the prolonged contractions of these muscles, which trapscertain chemical that actually produce pain. Tension headaches can also beassociated with jaw joint, inner ears, and teeth.

Tension headaches involve tender temples and upper neckmuscles and steady, pressurizing pain in the entire head, and sometimes theyeven interfere with sleep. It mostly commonly occurs in women around themenstrual days of the monthly period and in depressed people usually short onsleep.

Excessive tension caused by stressful situations and the poor posturalpositioning of the head are also on the list of tension headache causes. Thismay come from eyestrain, holding a constant position for a long time duringvarious actions and operations, tensing the jaw, teeth grinding and evenchewing gum.

The common causes of tension headaches can be eyestrain,sinus problems, muscle tension, poor posture, anxiety, depression, lack ofsleep, fatigue, root canal treatments, jaw joint dysfunction, mechanicalproblems of the cervical spine, low adrenal function, PMS, excessive exposureto carbon monoxide, ingestion of artificial sweeteners and contaminated waterand various health and nutritional supplements and herbs.

The relation of tension headaches to stressful situationsimplies the replacement of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

Valerian root and its powdered extract are known for theircalming effect and can be of great help with tension headaches. Passionflowerin the form of tincture or as a powdered extract can be very helpful because itacts both as an analgesic and as a sedative. Kava kava successfully calms thepatients suffering from tension headaches. Capsaicin instilled intranasallyrelieves symptoms of chronic and episodic tension headaches.

Aromatherapy consisting of alcohol mixed with peppermint andeucalyptus oil can be applied to the forehead and temples in order to relax thescalp muscles as well as reduce and shorten the headache. Rosemary oil can beapplied in the same way with satisfying results. There are a few helpfulhomeopathic solutions available such as Arnica, Belladonna and Aconite.

Variousexercise programs can help in preventing the tension of the muscles throughvigorous movements of the body. Stretching and posture shifts are also helpful.

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