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Hypnotherapy Help for Tension Headaches

What are tension headaches?

Most people describe a tension headache as a constant dull, achy feeling on both sides of the head. Some people with tension headaches also have a tight feeling in their head or neck muscles. Tension headaches usually begin slowly and gradually. They often start in the middle of the day, but often they also develop during the night, together with jaws pain or tension in the neck. Tension headaches may be mild or severe.


Almost everybody has a tension-type headache from time to time. It is common to have 1 or 2 each month. Sometimes they develop more often, typically during times of stress. Some people have frequent headaches. A tension headache may last from 15 minutes to a week, but mostly it is several hours. About 3 in 100 people have a chronic tension-type headache on most days.

What causes tension headaches? 

The tension-type headaches are often called stress headaches. The most common reason for tension headaches is a widely defined stress, emotional or physical. Sometimes, but not always, the tension headache is associated with the muscle tension.

Most common factors causing tension headaches are:


  • Emotional tension, anxiety, or stress. Very often depression is associated with chronic tension headaches.

  • Physical tension in the muscles of the scalp and neck. For example, poor posture at a desk may cause the neck and scalp muscles to tense. Long hours at the computer are very common contributor, as it also leads to eyestrain.

  • Sleep deprivation.

  • Something may trigger a tension-type headache. For example: a food, bright sunlight, illness, a side-effect of medication, cold, heat, tiredness, noise, caffeine, etc.

  • Painkillers. The overuse of headache tablets that you may take regularly can sometimes cause headaches similar to tension-type headaches.


What are the treatments for tension headache? 

Most common treatments of the tension type headaches consist of treating symptoms only.


  • Painkillers, like Paracetamol, usually work well for mild to moderate headaches. However, they cannot be taken for more then a few days in a row, so they are not a solution to chronic tension headache; they can even cause the “medication headache” if used too often.

  • Anti-inflammatory painkillers, like Ibuprofen. They may work better, especially if there is associated neck pain connected with arthritis, but cannot be used for long, as they have side effects such as stomach problems.

  • Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed by a doctor, as they may help in severe cases even if the depression is not diagnosed.

  • Relaxation to release both mental and physical stress is a better solution. Going for a walk, some easy exercise, a few stretches, having a good sleep, a massage is a great help. Works very well for mild to moderate headache, even with chronic cases when the lifestyle is changed and relaxation is included in daily routine.

  • Alternative medicine aimed at relaxing muscle tension, like acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy, even various mechanical devices. Sometimes very good result can be achieved with those methods, because they not only deal with the symptoms, but usually also calm the mind and release stress.

How hypnotherapy can help to stop tension headaches?

Hypnotherapy provides help on many levels, not only by treating symptoms or immediate triggers, like stress or insomnia, but also by resolving the underlying cause and its source. The most important benefit of using hypnotherapy is that it deals with the hidden cause of the tension. Very often the events from the past, especially events from the early childhood, but also traumatic events from our adult lives are the reason for the physical tension in the body and associated pain.


  • Pain relief is achieved in hypnosis without the need of any painkillers. The pain relief methods can be easily taught and they work very well with occasional severe headaches. With chronic tension headaches is better to clear the source of the headache.

  • Removing the muscle tension. I always teach the muscle relaxation in the first session, because this is the basic way to calm the mind and to deepen the hypnotic state. Quite often the release from muscle tension and headache is a surprising “side effect” for clients who came to me with completely different goals, like quit smoking or fear of flying, not even dreaming that the tension could be so easily elevated

  • Stress relief is achieved on many levels, not only by learning the relaxation exercise and how to deal with everyday stress, but also by defining and implementing the healthy lifestyle change, which combines healthy eating, adequate rest, enjoyment and satisfaction from work, fulfillment in private life and more.

  • Solving the underlying issues, like insomnia, anxiety, relationship problems etc

  • Solving the underlying emotional cause and its source. Chronic tension headaches very often go for years; they get worse with stress and tiredness and could be severe with strong triggers. In many cases clients think it is normal to feel tension in they necks and jaws, or all over their scalps, with associated mild headache all the time. The triggers are usually deeply rooted in our past and are subcouncious.

How many hypnotherapy sessions will I need? 

All the above is usually achieved in just a few hypnotherapy sessions.


Depending on severity of tension headaches, it could be sometimes only two hypnotherapy sessions, especially if the underlying issue is just stress. However, when there is a chronic tension headache, lasting for years, the underlying issues and causes need to be addressed and it may take on average five hypnotherapy sessions and even more if there is depression or long lasting anxiety.​ This way not only the tension headeches dissapear, but aslo all the underlying issues.


Most clients who see me for help with tension headeches cannot even imagine that they can free themselves from anxiety or overwhelming emotional distress, and the say after the treatment how lucky they were to have headaches in first place, because otherwise they would never know that they can become peaceful and happy..


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