Treatment for Tension Headaches
Two examples of relaxation training include progressive or passive relaxation. In progressive relaxation therapy, the patient is taught to first tense and then relax individual muscle groups. Finally, the patient tries to relax his or her whole body. Many people imagine a peaceful scene -- such as lying on the beach or by a beautiful lake. Passive relaxation does not involve tensing of muscles. Instead, patients are encouraged to focus on different muscles, suggesting that they relax.
Counseling may involve a technique called cognitive restructuring. This teaches people to change their attitudes and responses to stress. Patients might be encouraged, for example, to imagine that they are coping successfully with a stressful situation.
Physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, and gentle exercise of the neck may also be helpful for people with chronic tension headaches.