Headaches

Warning
Warning:

This site gives you information NOT medical advice. You should consult your medical practitioner if you have any unexplained symptoms of illness or concerns about treatment. Do not stop a prescribed conventional treatment without consulting a doctor. Tell all the practitioners you're working with, conventional or complementary, about any medicines, remedies, herbs or supplements you are taking or considering using.

What do mean by headaches?

Most people get headaches from time to time. In the UK, tension-type headaches affect around 65% of men and over 80% of women. Up to 1 in 20 adults has a headache every day or nearly every day. Although common and treatable, tension-type headaches can be debilitating and may cause concern. The good news is that the vast majority of headaches require no expensive tests or specialists, only appropriate changes in lifestyle and proper use of simple over-the-counter medicines, available from pharmacies.

Different types of headaches:

Note: The information in this leaflet is for people who get tension-type headaches.

What causes tension-type headaches?

Tension-type headaches are not always due to muscle tension. But feeling stressed or anxious will tend to tighten the muscles of the head and neck. This can lead to headaches because the head can weigh 10 pounds (4.5 kg) or more, so the neck muscles have to work hard to support and balance it and control its movements. Trigger points (sometimes wrongly called 'muscle knots') can form in tense, overworked muscles, and these are a common cause of aches and pains.

If you have a lot of tension-type headaches, keeping a headache diary may help you spot things that trigger them, such as stress or poor posture. Every day, note down when you get a headache, how bad it is and how long it lasts. Also, make a note of your mood and anything that causes you mental or physical strain, such as an argument or working at your computer for a long time without a break. Tense posture will soon stiffen neck and shoulder muscles.

What other information might be helpful?

See also the information about headaches from NHS Choices

When to see your doctor

As soon as you can:

Immediately:

If you have other symptoms as well as headaches, or a medical condition that seems to be getting worse, it is important to see your doctor before using this information. If you have recently started taking new medication, speak to your pharmacist about whether this might be the cause of your problems.

simplechangesMake Some Simple Changes


pencil Are you drinking enough fluids?

OverviewSome people say they get headaches if they don't drink enough water. Tea and coffee tend to take water out of the body, so don't forget to drink plenty of plain water, herb teas or juices as well.

pencil Eating a healthy diet

OverviewIt is always important to have a healthy diet. This means a diet that includes enough vitamins and minerals, and plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Improving your diet could help with your mood. The Food Standards Agency has eight tips for eating well:

1. Base your meals on starchy foods
2. Eat lots of fruit and veg
3. Eat more fish
4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
5. Try to eat less salt - no more than 6g a day
6. Get active and try to be a healthy weight
7. Drink plenty of water
8. Don't skip breakfast; it helps get your body and mind going first thing.

pencil Headaches when fasting?

OverviewMany people who fast for a long period (for example, during the month of Ramadan) suffer headaches. According to Dr Elliot Shevel, Chairperson of the South African Headache Society, caffeine withdrawal, stress and low blood sugar can all play a part. People prone to headaches at other times are most likely to get Ramadan headaches.

Dr Shevel says caffeine withdrawal is the most common cause of Ramadan headache. If you are someone who usually gets a headache when you fast, you might find you can prevent it by gradually reducing the amount of coffee you drink in the weeks leading up to the Ramadan month. If you are too hooked on caffeine to cut down, a cup of strong coffee just before the start of a one-day fast might stop you getting a caffeine withdrawal headache.

Low blood sugar can also trigger headaches in some people. But a meal with high sugar content can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, followed by a fast drop 2-3 hours later. So ideally you should have a meal with low sugar content before the fast begins. This may help prevent headaches during the day.

Dehydration is common so do drink a lot before the fast begins. Other triggers include stress, over-tiredness and lack of sleep. Dr Shevel tells us that rest and sleep often ease Ramadan headaches, 'and the pain often melts away when the fast is broken for the day'.
Find out moreFor more information: Article on Fasting Headache

pencil Self-help Relaxation Techniques

OverviewRelaxation is likely to help with your tension headaches and there are many things that you can do to help you relax.
Simple relief exercisesTension headaches often start in the muscles of the neck and shoulders. Particular neck exercises may help relax these tense areas. The following exercises are simple, but they need to be done every day: 1. You can relax tight muscles at the back of the head where it joins the neck with this gentle exercise. Tuck in your chin, interlace your fingers behind your head to provide some resistance, and gently press your head back into your hands, while keeping your chin tucked in. Hold this for a slow count of eight as you take a slow breath in. Breathe out slowly as you let the pressure go, and take a moment to notice the relaxation. Repeat four times. 2. When you have a headache, it can feel like your scalp is too tight. Ease this by putting your palms on top of your forehead with your fingers facing back over your head. Using firm pressure from the palms and your finger tips glide the skin of your scalp back and forward over your skull twenty or more times. You may feel like shifting your palms and fingers to different places a few times to give your scalp a good overall massage. 3. To relax tense facial muscles open your eyes as wide as you can at the same time opening your mouth as wide as it will go, and stick your tongue far out and down. Take a deep slow breath as you hold this position for about ten seconds. Let everything relax as you breathe out. Notice any tension at the back of your neck, and let it go. 4. Lots of people have a habit of jutting their chin out and holding their head forward as if they were looking up slightly. In this position your ears line up in front of your shoulders, rather than directly over them. This creates a lot of tension in the back of the neck. To check this out, try tucking your chin down into your throat, as if you were looking down a little. Notice how this lengthens out the back of your neck. Now let your shoulders drop, and breathe out completely and slowly. Then let your in-breath come on its own slowly without any effort, as you let our chin return to the neutral position. Notice the sense of relaxation in your neck, chest and shoulder muscles. 5. Try this exercise when you want to release the neck muscles. Sit straight up and let your shoulders drop comfortably down and back. Imagine your head is as light as a balloon, and let it rise up and back slowly until your ears are directly over your shoulders and your eyes are looking straight ahead. Once you get the idea of how this neutral position feels, repeat this movement often during the day, whenever you can remember to. This will help you train yourself to keep letting your head and neck find the neutral position.

pencil Work posture

OverviewMany of us spend many hours in positions that the body doesn't find natural. If you work at a desk or a keyboard/screen, and it isn't set up in an ergonomic (posture-friendly) way, this will eventually lead to all sorts of uncomfortable tensions in the muscles of your back, shoulders, neck and even your forearms.

For advice about workstation set-up, visit:

Ergonomic Workstation

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simplechanges Cutting down caffeine

OverviewIt can be tempting to reach for stimulating drinks like tea, coffee, colas or so-called 'energy drinks' if you have a headache and need a boost. They can give you a quick lift, but if you rely on them for long they only keep you going until your energy stores run down further.

Note: A very small amount of caffeine is sometimes included in pain medications such as Panadol Extra and Anadin Extra. The aim of this is to make the painkiller slightly more effective.
EvidenceResearch has shown that drinking a lot of coffee may make headaches more likely. Reducing caffeine and improving sleep can make headaches less likely.
SafetyIf you are cutting down on large amounts of caffeine, headaches might be a problem for two or three days. It is better to reduce the amount of caffeine slowly, over a few days.
CostThere are no costs. In fact you will save money.
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simplechanges Cutting down on alcohol and stopping smoking

OverviewCutting down on alcohol and stopping smoking are likely to improve your health generally.

Moderate drinking means no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. A unit of alcohol is half a pint of ordinary strength beer, lager or cider or a small pub measure (25 ml) of spirits or a standard pub measure (50 ml) of fortified wine such as sherry or port (20% alcohol by volume). A small (125ml) glass of basic wine is 1 and a 1/2 units.
EvidenceAlthough the 'hangover effect' (nausea and bad headache) is all too obvious, the links between alcohol use and headaches are not clear. Some research studies have shown that heavy use causes more frequent headaches and others have shown no effect.
SafetyReducing smoking and alcohol consumption is safe, but if you are cutting down from heavy drinking you may experience side-effects, including loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. If you are a very heavy drinker, it is a good idea to see your GP and ask for some help while you're cutting down.
CostThere are no costs. In fact you will save money.
Find out moreFor more information, see the NHS information sensible drinking.

If you are giving up or cutting down on smoking you can order a Quit Kit from SmokefreeNHS. You can also phone the NHS Free Smoking Helpline on 0800 022 4332
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simplechanges Exercise

OverviewCompared to 100 years ago when people didn't have cars, washing machines or TV, most of us don't do much physical work these days. Science tells us that our relatively lazy modern lifestyle is bad for our health. Being more active can keep you fit by making your heart and lungs work better, toning your muscles and strengthening your bones and joints. It also stimulates blood circulation to your brain and internal organs, boosts your immune system, helps protect against osteoporosis, and triggers brain chemicals that lift your mood and can generate a real sense of well-being. It can also be a very good way of meeting people, and it definitely makes a difference to all sorts of health problems.

Exercise can include aerobics such as cycling, stepping and walking, strengthening exercises such as lifting weights or using resistance machines and stretching for flexibility. Even simply taking a brisk half-hour walk every day will definitely boost your fitness and improve your mood.
EvidenceIt isn't clear whether exercising in general helps headaches, likely though this seems. But research has shown that headaches are more common in people who take very little exercise during the day.
SafetyIf you are really unfit, start off with walking every day, gradually going a bit further and a bit faster each week. Once you are used to being more active, you can get advice on the best exercises to do from a trainer at your local leisure centre. Supervised exercise programmes are safe for most people. But at first you might feel more tired. If you're not used to doing much exercise, you should gradually increase your activity until you can manage a moderate level. If you feel worse, cut back and build up more slowly. If you think it isn't helping or that you're getting worse in any way, check with your doctor. Anyone with severe osteoporosis, joint problems, acute back pain or recent injuries should avoid strenuous exercise and get advice from a healthcare professional.
CostYou can exercise at home for nothing - walking and gardening is all exercise. There will probably be a small cost, £5-£8 a class, if you join an organised programme.
Find out moreNatural England is one of several organisations that organise walking schemes designed to help people improve their health. The Walking for Health Programme has about 600 local groups, and around 40,000 people take part in short local walks every week. Find out about Green Gyms where volunteers take on voluntary projects outdoors. Many local councils organise Health Walks for people who want to get active in company.

Check your local leisure centre for exercise classes. See also the Classes section for more information.
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simplechanges Guided imagery

OverviewThis is another way of relaxing the body and calming the mind. Because your body and mind are so deeply connected, your body responds to mental images. Guided imagery invites you to imagine all the details of a safe, comfortable place - maybe a beach or a garden. Gradually, you become more relaxed in both mind and body. Some researchers have found that that this relaxed state improves healing, creativity, performance and a person's sense of well-being.
EvidenceIn one study, 129 patients with chronic tension headaches listened to a guided imagery tape daily for a month. Guided imagery is an effective addition to any other treatment.
SafetyThere are no safety problems with guided imagery.
CostYou can buy guided imagery CDs in shops and pharmacies and some libraries keep them in stock.
Find out moreVisit The British Holistic Medical Association for podcasts and leaflets.
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simplechanges Meditation

OverviewMeditation is a state of mind, not a religion, though it features in most major religions, especially Eastern ones. Meditation seems to harmonise the activity between the two sides of the frontal brain, and encourages a 'relaxation response'. The relaxation response happens when the body and mind do the opposite of what they do when you feel stressed. In meditation the body is relaxed while the mind is alert. You don't need an experienced teacher or a spiritual faith in order to take up meditation. You can learn the basics from a book or a podcast. Meditation is easily accessible, and it is remarkably effective, both for rapid stress reduction and as a way of promoting long-term health.
EvidenceMindfulness (a particular form of meditation) may help with your health generally. Simple meditation can probably reduce headache frequency, although more research is needed.
SafetyThere are generally no safety problems with meditation unless you have a severe or long-standing mental health problem.
CostMeditation involves certain (simple) techniques that are easily practised at home. There are many books and audio aids available and some people find it useful to join a class initially.
Find out moreVisit The British Holistic Medical Association for podcasts and leaflets. Also see the information about Yoga in the 'Classes' section.
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simplechanges Progressive muscular relaxation (PMR)

OverviewProgressive muscular relaxation can be learned from a book, tape or during exercise classes such as yoga classes, and then be easily practised at home. This technique teaches you to notice muscular tension and learn to relax your muscles to release the tension. Progressive relaxation works by tensing and relaxing various muscle groups in your body, starting from your feet and working your way up. At each level, try to notice how it feels when your muscles are tense, and how it feels when you let go and relax. Gradually you will get used to the feeling of relaxation and learn how to make it happen at will. As with most relaxation methods, you need to start by finding a quiet, relaxing place to practise. Put yourself in a comfortable position, whether standing, sitting or lying, and start by allowing your out-breath to get softer, longer and deeper.
EvidenceSome small studies have shown that progressive muscular relaxation could help with tension headaches. In some cases it was not as effective as other treatments.
SafetyProgressive relaxation is generally safe but should be used cautiously in people with musculoskeletal injury or a long-standing or severe mental health problem.
CostOnce you have learned the relaxation techniques, there are no costs. There are many books and audio aids available and some people find it useful to join a class initially.
Find out moreVisit The British Holistic Medical Association for podcasts and leaflets. See also our leaflet on Stress and Anxiety.
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simplechanges Special diets

OverviewThere is no evidence that special diets reduce tension headaches. But some people find that certain foods 'don't agree' with them and try to cut out those foods to see if they have an allergy or intolerance. This is called an 'exclusion diet'. If symptoms improve, this might suggest some intolerance to that particular food. To find out about your reactions to certain foods, it is helpful to keep a diary of what you eat and any effects each food has in the hours following the meal. But fasting or giving up particular foods can also trigger headaches if your blood-sugar gets too low (see below).
EvidenceWe haven't found any research to support the idea that special diets help tension headaches.
SafetyIt can be quite difficult to exclude certain foods and still have a balanced diet. If you want to make big changes to what you eat, it is a good idea to see a dietician. They can help you make sure you are still eating a healthy diet and getting all the nutrients you need.
CostEating a healthy diet and excluding some foods need not cost you anything. But if you consult a dietician there will be a charge, unless this is a service provided by your GP's practice.
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buysomethingBuy Something


pencil Before You Buy

OverviewFor safe use of over-the-counter medicines, herbal remedies and supplements:

Consult a qualified person (such as a pharmacist) before buying or taking any medicine, remedy or supplement:
- if you have a serious medical condition
- if you are breast-feeding, pregnant or planning to become pregnant
- if you are already taking other medicines, herbal remedies or supplements
- if you suffer from allergies

Always read the package insert before taking any product.
Avoid taking the product if you think you may be allergic to any of the ingredients.
Do not combine any over-the-counter medicines, remedies or supplements with other medicines, remedies or supplements unless you have first checked with a qualified person (such as the pharmacist in your local chemist).

Seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist:
- If your symptoms do not get better
- if your symptoms get worse
- if you get new symptoms or have a side effect

The information here, including dosages, only applies to adults (over 16 years). Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.
Over-the-counter medicine

pencil Herbal remedies and food supplements

OverviewMany modern drugs started as medicinal plants and people have been using herbs to treat illnesses for thousand of years. We think these 'natural medicines' work by improving the functioning of the nerves, muscles, brain and digestion.

pencil Vitamins and Minerals

OverviewIn theory, not getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals can cause headaches. But if you eat a balanced healthy diet, it isn't likely that taking extra vitamin or mineral tablets will help your tension headaches. If you don't eat a balanced diet, you could try taking a good multi-vitamin pill each day and see whether your headaches are reduced.

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buysomething Painkillers

OverviewDo not take anything with other medicines, remedies or supplements unless you have checked with a qualified person (for example the pharmacist in your local chemist).
EvidenceMild painkillers, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, are effective in treating tension headaches if you take them as soon as a headache starts. Paracetamol is not quite as effective as ibuprofen or aspirin but has fewer side-effects.
SafetyIf used in the correct dose, painkillers are generally safe, but taking painkillers (whether prescription or over-the-counter) every day can cause side effects.

Side effects can include headaches, indigestion and even stomach ulcers or bleeding. Stop taking them if you start getting indigestion or stomach pain, and tell your GP or pharmacist. Always follow the stated dose.
CostPainkillers can be bought from pharmacies and other retailers for low cost.
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buysomething Peppermint oil (rubbed on the skin)

OverviewGently rubbing a few drops of peppermint oil into your forehead and temples can produce a cooling sensation, followed by some relief from headache within 30 minutes. Any excess oil left on the skin will gradually be absorbed.
EvidenceOne small study has shown that applying diluted peppermint oil to the forehead and temples helped with headache symptoms.
SafetyThis oil is safe unless you get it in your eyes or put it on broken or inflamed skin.
CostPeppermint oil can be bought from health food shops for between £4-£8 per bottle, which should be at least one month's supply.
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buysomething Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

OverviewTENS is a way of delivering a small, pulsating current to your muscles and nerve endings. Small electrical currents are sent through pads on the skin near the site of pain. Several small studies have suggested that using TENS machines helps some people with long-term headaches.
EvidenceUsing a TENS machine, combined with massage and stretching exercises, has been shown to help prevent headaches in people with chronic (long-term) tension headaches.
SafetySee the information sheet on TENS machines from Arthritis Care for information on how to use TENS machines safely.
CostTENS machines are available from many pharmacies and some Internet retailers. They usually cost between £20 and £40 but this is a one-off cost.
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attendvisitAttend Classes / Visit Practitioner


attendvisitTreatment Options:


attendvisit Acupuncture

OverviewAcupuncture is a traditional treatment that was first used in China thousands of years ago. Thin needles are inserted into the skin at certain points on the body, which practitioners believe will help restore health. The treatment sometimes also involves heat, pressure, electrical currents or soft-laser light. In the UK, acupuncture is most commonly used for pain relief.
EvidenceThere has been quite a lot of research on acupuncture for tension headaches. The results indicate that acupuncture can help make tension headaches less frequent and less severe.
SafetyAcupuncture is generally safe if practised by a trained acupuncturist. The most common side-effects are slight discomfort (common) and bruising (occasionally).
CostA session may cost £35-£50. Frequency of treatment will depend on you and your practitioner.
Find out moreThe following professional organisations can help you find a qualified practitioner:
Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists
British Academy of Western Medical Acupuncture
British Acupuncture Council
British Medical Acupuncture Society
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attendvisit Autogenic training (AT)

OverviewAT classes require time and discipline, but may have greater benefits than simple muscle relaxation. In AT classes you learn to create feelings of warmth and heaviness throughout your body, and this is said to bring about very deep physical relaxation, mental peace and a quietening of negative thoughts. AT uses simple phrases that you repeat to yourself as you release tension from each part of your body.
EvidenceThe evidence from research is mixed, but autogenic training might be helpful to some people with tension headaches.
SafetyAT is best learned from an experienced teacher in a small class. There are no safety issues, though anyone with a long-term mental health problem should get advice from their psychiatrist before starting AT.
CostYou will have to pay for the classes but once you have learned this technique you can practise it at home.
Find out moreThe British Autogenic Society (BAS) is the professional and educational organisation for autogenic therapists.
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attendvisit Massage

OverviewThere are many different types of massage, some more vigorous and going deeper into the muscles than others. Massage has traditionally been used for relaxation. It may be just on one part of the body (for example, the back and shoulders), or it can be done on the whole body. Aromatherapy massage uses pleasant-smelling essential oils.
EvidenceMassage may help with pain when combined with other physical treatments such as manipulation.
SafetyMassage is safe if carried out by a qualified massage therapist and rarely causes problems. Vigorous massage should be avoided if you have blood disorders, some forms of cancer, skin problems or are on blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin). Allergies or skin irritation can occur with some essential oils used in massage.
CostMonthly cost will depend on how regularly you receive treatments.
Find out moreIt is important to find a qualified practitioner, such as one registered with
The General Council for Massage Therapies
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attendvisit Physiotherapy

OverviewPhysiotherapists use exercises and stretches to improve strength, flexibility and stiffness. Often these exercises need to be done at home at least once daily for many weeks or months. Some physiotherapists can provide massage, hydrotherapy in a special pool, many use soft lasers, electrotherapy or ultrasound to speed up healing. A lot of physiotherapists use acupuncture techniques as well. Ask your physiotherapist what sort of methods they have available.

Tension headaches often start in the muscles of the neck and shoulders. So particular neck exercises may help relax these trigger points and so help with your tension headaches.
EvidenceCertain exercises may help prevent tension headaches. They may also reduce the severity of headaches.
SafetyPhysical treatments are generally safe if practised by a trained therapist.
CostThe exercises are simple, but they need to be done every day. They cost nothing once you have learned to do them. However you need advice for particular neck exercises for tension headaches and your GP can refer you to an NHS physiotherapist. Private physiotherapy is available in all areas. A half hour appointment will vary in cost between £30 and £60. Monthly cost will depend on duration of the treatment.
Find out moreIt is important to find a qualified practitioner such as one registered with
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
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attendvisit Psychological therapies

OverviewSome people find their headaches are directly triggered by conflicts or emotional distress. If you get headaches every day, you tend to expect them, and psychological approaches may be useful to help counter this and if you have severe long-term headaches.

When people think of 'talking therapies' they usually mean either counselling or psychotherapy. Counselling and psychotherapy aim to help people change thoughts, feelings and attitudes. Counsellors help you talk about difficult feelings and understand conflict. It can be helpful just to have time alone with a counsellor to talk in confidence about how you feel. Spending time reflecting on problems often brings insight and puts things into perspective. Psychotherapy helps people learn better ways of thinking or behaving that can reduce their symptoms, disability and distress. Some psychotherapists are trained to help you explore possible causes of distress or symptoms in your past. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the type of psychotherapy that is currently most widely available in the NHS.

Instead of exploring causes of distress or symptoms in the past (like many other types of therapy), CBT looks for ways to improve your state of mind right now. The therapist does this by helping you spot unhelpful thought processes and change them. The Royal College of Psychiatrists says "CBT can help you to change how you think ('cognitive') and what you do ('behavioural')'. For instance, CBT can help you make sense of what seem like overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. This makes it easier to see how they are connected and how they affect you.
EvidenceThere is no good evidence that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helps people with headaches. But it may help you manage stress that triggers them.
SafetyThese techniques are generally safe if carried out by or under the guidance of a qualified counsellor or psychologist.
CostIn most areas your GP can refer you for CBT or a psychological therapist in the NHS. There are often long waiting lists. A session of CBT or psychological therapy may cost between £20-£50. Frequency will depend on you and your therapist. A typical course of CBT lasts between 6-12 weekly sessions.
Find out moreIt is important to find a qualified counsellor or psychologist. Contact The British Psychological Society
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attendvisit Reflexology

OverviewAccording to reflexologists, pressing on reflex points on the feet or hands can stimulate other parts of the body. Although there is very little supporting scientific evidence, reflexology is one of the most popular complementary therapies worldwide. If you find it relaxing, reflexology could help with tension-type headaches.

EvidenceOnly one study has been carried out on reflexology in people with headaches. It was a large study and people reported generally feeling better. But it is not clear whether this was just due to the reflexology.
SafetyReflexology is safe if carried out by a qualified practitioner.
CostThe monthly cost will depend on how regularly you attend reflexology sessions.
Find out moreIt is important to find a qualified practitioner.

The Association of Reflexologists (AoR) is a non-profit-making organisation providing support to professionally qualified practitioners.
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attendvisit Spinal manipulation (including chiropractic and osteopathy)

OverviewOsteopathy and chiropractic are hands-on approaches to diagnosis and treatment that focus on the way the muscles and joints work. They are both based on the idea that pain often comes from physical strains and tensions in the body, rather than from inflammation or damage caused by disease. Treatment by an osteopath or a chiropractor often involves spinal manipulation. If tender points in your neck seem to affect your headaches, these approaches might help relieve the pain.
EvidenceTwo studies have suggested that spinal manipulation is helpful compared with other kinds of treatments.
SafetySide-effects are rare and mainly linked to manipulation of the neck. Some people experience mild after-effects (aches) from the treatment but they usually last less than 48 hours.
CostAdd ‘A session of osteopathy or chiropractic may cost between £20-£50. The monthly cost will depend on how regularly you attend sessions.
Find out moreAll qualified osteopaths are registered with The General Osteopathic Council

All chiropractors have to be registered with The General Chiropractic Council
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attendvisit Tai Chi

OverviewTai Chi is also known as 'moving meditation'. It is a series of slow, graceful, controlled movements, which develop strength, balance, posture and inner peace. It is a discipline that has to be learned in a class from a teacher and can then be practised at home.
EvidenceOne trial showed that Tai Chi may help reduce the pain of tension headaches.
SafetyTai Chi is safe for most people. Though Tai Chi is slow and gentle, anyone with severe osteoporosis, joint problems, acute back pain or recent injuries should avoid strenuous exercise and build up gently.
CostOnce you have learned the movements you can do this at home, at no cost.
Find out moreClasses are run in most areas by both private tutors and by adult education services. You can also contact the The Tai Chi Union.
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attendvisit Yoga

OverviewYoga, as taught in the UK, generally includes physical postures or stretches, breathing techniques, meditation and relaxation. There are several different types of yoga. Some of them are mainly based on the physical exercises (some types are much more strenuous than others). Others focus more on meditation.
EvidenceOnly a few small studies have been carried out on yoga in people with tension headaches. It is not certain whether yoga can help prevent or manage headaches. But it may help you relax, reduce your stress level and help you cope with headaches.
SafetyYoga is generally safe when practiced appropriately and at the right level. Classes are run for different ability levels so look for one that is right for you. Yoga stretches should be increased slowly. If in doubt, check with your doctor, osteopath or physiotherapist. Avoid with severe osteoporosis or acute joint or back pain, or recent injuries.
CostOnce you have learned the techniques you can do this at home, at no cost.
Find out moreClasses are run in most areas by both private tutors and by adult education services. To find a qualified teacher near you see also the The Yoga Alliance
and the The British Wheel of Yoga.
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