PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
In addition to regular exercise, techniques such as biofeedback training and relaxation therapy can help reduce stress.
- Biofeedback training. This technique teaches you to control certain body responses that help reduce pain. During a biofeedback session, you're connected to devices that monitor and give you feedback on body functions such as muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure. You then learn how to reduce muscle tension and slow your heart rate and breathing yourself. Ask your doctor whether such a program might help you.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. This approach also may help you learn to manage stress and may help reduce the frequency and severity of your headaches. During this type of talk therapy, a counselor helps you learn ways to view and cope with life events more positively.
- Other relaxation techniques. These include deep breathing, yoga, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation, which is accomplished by tensing one muscle at a time, and then completely releasing the tension, until every muscle in your body is relaxed. You can learn relaxation techniques in special classes or at home using books or tapes.
Using medications in conjunction with stress management techniques may be more effective than is either treatment alone in reducing your tension headaches. Additionally, living a healthy lifestyle — getting enough sleep, not smoking, exercising regularly and eating healthy foods — may help prevent tension headaches.
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