The bad news: Tension headaches—usually the result of muscle pain or tightness—affect nearly 80 percent of American kids and adults.
The good news: Massaging trigger points (the back, neck, and shoulders) for 30 minutes can provide 24 hours of relief, finds a new Spanish study.
The better news: You don’t need a massage therapist—or a half hour—to help a throbbing head, says Ed Lamadrid, a massage therapist and doctor of acupuncture in Chicago. “Keeping trigger points in check with short, frequent massage exercises is more effective than longer, less frequent massages,” says Lamadrid. His tips:
“Frequently switch shoulders when carrying a purse and while cradling the phone,” says Lamadrid. Daily yoga stretches can also help.
Place a hot water bottle or a heating pad on tight areas (20 minutes for adults, 5 for kids), or take a soothing warm bath.