Conditions > Headache
Relieve Tension Headaches, Sinus Headaches, and Pain Behind Eyes
How do I get rid of a headache?
Chances are you have suffered from headache pain at some point in your life. Although common, headaches can become big disruptors of your day-to-day activities. If left untreated, chronic headaches can lead to ongoing pain medication use and stress.
Natural headache remedies are available and can be performed at home or by request with your doctor. The challenge to headache relief is identifying the cause of your specific headache.
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What is causing my headache?
The most common headaches people experience are sinus headaches, tension headaches, and headaches that cause pain behind the eye. The rest of this article will help you identify and treat these common but painful headaches.
The most common causes of your headaches will most likely be a combination of the following:
Congestion and sinusitis
During the winter months, you are more susceptible to sinus headaches. These headaches can be caused by a head cold, chronic sinusitis, or seasonal allergies. Usually, sinus headaches are fairly easy to identify. The most common symptoms include:
Sinus headache symptoms
Sinus headache pain pain tends to be in the front of the head around the frontal bone or in this part of the head where you have sinuses clustered.
Often times this pain may get worse with changes in head position. You may feel better laying down. You may feel better sitting up.
Certain environments increase headache pain. It may get worse if you travel by air or go swimming.
How to get rid of a sinus headache?
Typically, sinus headaches are treated aggressively for several weeks to reduce sinusitis and prevent further inflammation. Treatments for sinus headaches include:
Neti pot – For a natural treatment of a sinus headache, I recommend you include clearing your nasal passages using a neti pot, which pushes a saline solution up one side and drains out the other. This will help open up the nasal passages and filter out pollen and antigens in your nose.
Eucalyptus oil – This can temporarily open up the nasal passages. Add eucalyptus salts into a diffuser or simply add several drops of the oil into a small candle to add the eucalyptus or peppermint smell in your bedroom.
Decongestant – Over the counter (OTC) decongestants and allergy medications can also help relieve sinus difficulties caused by allergies. Zyrtec is a good antihistamine and isn’t quite as sedating as many of the older generation antihistamines. Flonase, a nasal steroid, is also over the counter and can help reduce the sinusitis inflammation of your nasal passages.
Acupuncture and osteopathic manipulation – These are natural treatments for sinus congestion. By manipulating the bones of the head and neck, your Venus drainage can improve significantly and return to normal.
Tension headaches typically occur as a result of stress. Stress causes you to have tension in your shoulder and neck muscles. As the muscles around the base of your skull become tight, they start to hurt.
Remember, anytime you overuse a muscle, it starts to cause pain. That pain can often times radiate into the head and cause tension headaches.
Tension headache symptoms
If you sit at a computer for extended periods of time, or you text frequently looking down at your phone, you are more likely to aggravate the muscles in this region. Common symptoms of tension headaches include:
Tense muscles in shoulders and neck
Head pain in back and top of the head
Trouble laying down or sleeping
Tension headache relief
Natural tension headache relief can come from a very simple exercise with a towel.
Towel Roll – One of the best treatments for tension headaches is laying down and letting a rolled towel support your neck. To do this, fold a bath towel in half to make it as long as possible. Roll it and place that right on the curve of your neck. Lay down and perhaps the most difficult part here is to relax.
The towel will support your neck while the muscles and tissues pulling on the head decompress and alleviate your tension headache.
Tylenol – In cases where your tension headache is interfering with your day and medication is needed, I typically recommend taking a Tylenol instead of an anti-inflammatory drug like Advil or Motrin.
Headache pain behind eye
Headache pain can also be felt behind your left or right eye. This pain behind the eye can be caused by a tense sternocleidomastoid muscle that runs from behind your ear to your collarbone.
A trigger point in your sternocleidomastoid can also cause pain that radiates into the area behind and around your eye.
Relief for headache pain behind the eye
The first step to relieving headache pain behind your eye is to figure out what is causing the sternocleidomastoid muscle to stay tight. This can be due to an untreated injury, such as a whiplash during a car accident or a sports injury.
Prolotherapy – If your sternocleidomastoid is tight due to a past injury, prolotherapy can help strengthen the muscle and release the tension that is resulting in your headaches.
Towel stretches – Stretches using a towel can help the sternocleidomastoid relax. This will reduce the amount of nerve signaling being sent to the muscle, reducing the pain and tenderness and alleviating referred pain back to the area around your eye.
Acupuncture and osteopathic manipulation – These natural treatments can ensure your collarbone is moving and is set properly. Once the structures around your neck and shoulders are functioning properly, the sternocleidomastoid can begin to calm and recover.
Tension headaches explained https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3444224/
Diagnosing your headaches https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5974268/
Sinus headaches explained https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24680486
Trigger points and headaches https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23845200
Sternocleidomastoid syndrome https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1769463/
Is Tylenol better than Advil for headaches https://www.unitypoint.org/livewell/article.aspx?id=915d8982-a92e-411e-b5dc-c40e0f43f352
Written by: Dr. Dan Williams, DO
Last edited: February 4, 2019