Upset, Overwhelmed, Stress, Tired

Headaches, now that is something we are all familiar with. Am, I right? Either we have headaches or we are a headache, like my next door neighbor (Oh snap they might be reading this. Just kidding!). Not to mention there are many different kinds of headaches, 150 to be exact. Yes, you read that right. And most of us get the most common type, stress headaches. But it isn’t always easy to know how to relieve stress headaches. So let’s explore the subject for a bit.

The most common types of headaches are:

  • Stress or tension headaches – these headaches are more common in adults and teens and cause mild to moderate pain. They go away over time.
  • Migraines – these headaches cause symptoms of nausea and light sensitivity. They are described by throbbing and pounding pain and can last anywhere from 3 hours to 4 days. I am a sufferer of migraines and must say they are the worst headaches I have ever had. They make it hard to function and as a mother, they interfere with my ability to care for my home.
  • Sinus headaches – these headaches cause a severe pain in your cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of your nose. It is caused when your sinuses become inflamed. You often get this headache with other symptoms such as a runny nose,  swelling in your face, and a feeling of fullness in your ears.
  • Acute headaches – mainly children get these suddenly and they go away after a short period.
  • Chronic Progressive headaches – also called inflammatory headaches, these headaches get worse and happen more often over time.
  • Hormone headaches – these headaches occur in women during hormonal changes such as when they get their periods, or during menopause.

While there are many headaches we can talk about we are going to focus on stress headaches and how to relieve stress headaches.

The reason being is, the most common headache for adults are stress headaches(tension headaches). Women are twice as likely to get them as men. They are described as dull pain and a tightening type of pressure around your forehead or back of the neck.

They don’t feel good at all!

It can feel like someone is squeezing your head. On top of that, they can last from 30 minutes to a few days. Geez! If you have less than 15 days per month than they are labeled as episodic. More often than 15 makes them chronic.

Luckily, they do not affect your ability to function (like migraine headaches).

So What Causes Stress Headaches?

If you had to take one guess what do you think can cause stress headaches? If you said STRESS, you are right? Most of the time they are caused by stress; stress of work, school, family, and friends. Episodic headaches are usually caused by one single stressful event or a build-up of stress.

When the body is stressed the muscles can become tense. Some people get stress or tension headaches because of tightened muscles in the back of the neck. Here are a few ways muscle tension can happen:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Hunger
  • Lack of rest
  • Low iron levels
  • Bad posture

A few ways to relieve this muscle tension are;

  • Massage it out
  • Take an anti-inflammatory
  • Exercise


A few common symptoms of these headaches include:

  • Pain in the top sides back of the head that is mild or moderate
  • Mild sensitivity to noise and/or light
  • Muscle aches
  • Feeling tired
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble focusing
  • Difficulty falling asleep

How to relieve stress headaches?

It is best to catch headaches as soon as they start if you can. A doctor recommends making sure you take pain medication as soon as a headache starts. My doctor explained to me that the more severe the headache the harder it is to relieve it, in other words, the less likely the treatment you use is going to work.

Since I don’t think it is good to take much medication (and many of us feel the same), prevention is the best benefit. Find what causes your headaches (your triggers) and eliminate or avoid them. Also, find ways to reduce stress in your home naturally.


Here is a list of some common headache trigger:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Glare from bright lights including the sun
  • Noise (So now you really can say,”Kids all that noise is giving me a headache”)
  • Eating and sleeping patterns(like not eating enough or a hunger headache and not sleeping enough)
  • Medication
  • Physical activity or overexertion
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Posture (“Sit upright young lady to keep the blood flowing” This is a true statement)
  • Hormones – you may be more likely to have headaches right before your period.
  • Food sensitivities – Triggers include aspartame, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, cheese and more.

Now that you know a few things that can be triggering those pesky headaches, let’s look at a few ways to help relieve them.

Here are a few ways to relieve your stress headaches when needed;

  • Take a hot or cold shower
  • Lay down in a dark room
  • Place a warm or cold cloth on your head
  • Learn relaxation methods: There are many different relation techniques to relieve stress including; meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and writing a journal.
  • Over The Counter or OTC medications: Usually, the first method recommended by doctors, so consult a doctor before taking any treatments.
  • Improve posture: Practice yoga poses to improve posture


Remember it is always best to prevent health issues before they happen. Try to avoid stressful situations that may cause headaches. Write a journal to try to figure out what may be causing your headaches(the foods you eat, the activities you perform). Then you will know what to avoid. Eat a healthy diet and find the time to exercise. As mothers, (and fathers) we have responsibilities to our family. Get healthy so you can live happily!

So what about you, do you experience stress headaches? What kind of headaches do you have most often? Or, do you have a special technique you like to use to get rid of a headache? I would love to hear about it.

If you have any questions about this post please feel free to leave a comment below. Any feedback is welcome!



14 thoughts on “How to Relieve Stress Headaches?: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments”

  1. I hadn’t realised there were so many types of headaches, I thought there was only 1….my wife🙊😂 only
    I get stress related headaches quite a lot myself so this information has really helped me thanks.

    1. Haha! I can’t believe how many of us get stress headaches, yikes! Glad that the info helps. Take care of them headaches and your wife 🙂
      Your Welcome,

  2. Wow, it is great to have this all explained sorted in one place! Now I have a better understanding, thanks for this Melissa!
    Must say that taking a cold shower doesn’t quite sit with my idea of treating stress or a headache! Quite the opposite I think (for me that is)…but hey each to his own…I’ll stick to my hot showers! Thanks for the tips 🙂

    1. Your Welcome! I will have to explain that in more detail. The cold shower is actually finishing off your normal shower with a cold water at the end. Not a full on cold shower. The warm water opens up our pores, then relaxes our nervous system and stimulates blood circulation by dilating our blood vessels. So the purpose of using cold water (for ten seconds) at the end is to close the pores and stimulate our nervous system (the brain, spine, etc.). That is how you relieve your headache. It is not to lower our body temperatures. Thanks for your comment I will indeed make an article with detail on this subject.

  3. What a very informative article to me a headache was just a headache, I did not realize that there were different types of headaches and different remedies to cure them.

    1. Hi James,
      Thanks for your comment! Yeah, we would be surprised the things we all don’t know. I love the internet for the all the different info.

  4. Great thanks. I work in a factory running 24-hour production where I am responsible for running the maintenance department.
    It’s a very stressful job especially when things break. I often suffer from stress related headaches and as I generally avoid using medication if it is not really necessary, these remedies could be worth a try.


    1. Hi Jean,
      So glad you found out some new information. Stress is no good for our health, we want to live long healthy lives. Just little simple changes can go a long way. Wish you all the best Jean!

  5. Hi, Melissa!
    What a great information! Thank you!
    I also don’t use pain medication for headaches. In fact, I don’t use them at all if possible. Even if I have a headache, I don’t take them. Usually, I try meditation, relaxation music, deep breathing and lay down for a while. I go to sleep early and almost always my headache is gone in the morning.
    Thank you for this useful article!

    1. Hi Linda,
      I have migraines and I have to admit I do use OTC meds when I get a bad one. I get really sick and have to sleep for a whole day! When I get other headaches I am like you, relaxation here I come. I take enough meds for my epilepsy so regular headaches, “we can manage this”. Glad it helps and thanks for the comments!

  6. When someone overthinking about something, it can trigger stress and stress will make you a headache. I think this commonly happens to many people. Your article gives detail info about a headache and how to handle it. Yes, exercise can be the solution to all stress. Maybe we need some vacation too to relief it lol. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Hi Henry,
      Yes, we overthink a lot, lol. We don’t have confidence in ourselves. Exercise helps a lot of things too. Thanks for the comment, always glad when the info shows someone something new.

  7. Great post! I like your mention of taking preventative measure rather than taking something pharmaceutical to relieve the symptoms. Do you have any ideas on how to prevent headaches from the sun? I am living in Thailand currently and sometimes when I forget my sunglasses and step out into the bright sun I’m forced to squint. I have often got headaches because of this. I suppose the answer is to remember my sunnies! But wondered if there might be some other measure as a just in case?

    1. Some people are more sensitive to the light than others(I have that problem, I use to get bad headaches after long exposure to the sun and the computer). To those of us who are more likely to get headaches, dehydration can be a trigger. So drinking more water to stay hydrated is a good way to prevent these headaches. Direct sunlight is also a trigger so you are right, where your sunglasses. So basically when you know you have to be out in the sun keep water with you and stay hydrated and keep an extra pair of glasses in your gab in case you forget to where some. Hope this help!

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