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.
Prevention “Frequently switch shoulders when carrying a purse and while cradling the phone,” says Lamadrid. Daily yoga stretches can also help.
Treatment 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.