Ways to Alleviate and Even Prevent Headaches

 

Everyone gets headaches from time to time, varying from a small amount of pain somewhere in your head to blinding head-splitting migraines. Headaches can be minor annoyances or they can completely stop you in your tracks, so having a few tricks up your sleeve that help you deal with them is definitely a good idea. There are lots of medical and non-medical ways to effectively remedy a headache, as well as ways to prevent them altogether; this article will outline several of the better strategies and hopefully help some readers banish headaches from their lives.

Take Pain-relief Medicine

The most common effective way to address a headache is to take pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relief is usually enough to quell most headaches, but make sure you find out if you have an allergy, an intolerance, or are on incompatible medication (perhaps for a separate pre-existing condition) to any of the most common pain-relief medicine, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin, and co-codamol.

Always make sure you follow the instructions on the pack, and ensure that you only take pain-relief medicine when you feel a headache coming on and not as a preventative measure. In fact, taking pain-relief medicine everyday as a strategy to avoid headaches is linked to medication overuse syndrome, which can cause regular headaches called rebound headaches. If you require pain relief for headaches more than three times per week then you should visit the doctor, as you may have an underlying condition and the pain-relief medicine loses its potency over time as your body gets used to it.

Be Mindful of your Caffeine Consumption

Caffeine can actually help a headache, which is why many pain-relief medicines and cold- and flu-relief medicines have caffeine in them. However, if you have a lot of caffeine each day, your body builds up a strong dependence on it and missing your morning coffee can result in a small withdrawal response in the form of a headache, nausea, or both.

This reaction occurs because caffeine causes the blood vessels in your brain to dilate, and if it is taken away, these blood vessels constrict, causing pain. If your body is extremely dependent on caffeine, you will almost probably have trouble sleeping, which is something else commonly associated with headaches.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep deprivation has been linked to headaches in many cases. So, maintaining a healthy regular sleeping pattern can help stave off headaches. Adults should to get between 7–8 hours’ sleep per night. If this doesn’t sound achievable, there are several things you can do to get to sleep a little earlier:

- Do not drink caffeinated drinks after 12-1pm

- Only use your bed for sleep and nothing else

- Do not look at a TV, computer, or phone screen for up to 2 hours before your bedtime as the blue light emitted from them can prevent your natural body clock from getting sleepy

- Give yourself enough time to wind down before bedtime; relax and do not engage in stimulating or stressful behaviour.

Get an Eye Test

Sometimes headaches are caused by wearing incorrect or outdated prescription lenses. And if you do not yet use prescription lenses, there is a chance that your eyes have changed a little and that you may not require corrective lenses. A headache can also be caused by a new prescription that your eyes are trying to get used to.

Whatever the cause, talking to your optometrist and getting a more accurate prescription is key to solving this problem. Great-looking designer glasses needn’t be too expensive, either; look for an online retailer like Red Hot Sunglasses with a large prescription glasses collection as they tend to buy stock in bulk and can offer prices and discounts that high-street stores cannot.

Watch What You Eat

Other than cutting down or cutting out caffeine altogether if it doesn’t agree with you, there are other foods that you should perhaps be wary of if you are prone to headaches. Ask your doctor about any possible food allergies you might have. Before you do this, read through the NHS guide on food allergies to find out more about the topic and the potential allergens. There are also some foods that are connected to headaches that aren’t necessarily allergens.

These foods include but are not limited to the following:

- Salicylates, such as vinegar, tea, and some kinds of fruit

- Tyramines found in beer, wine, processed meat, and aged cheese

- MSG found in some takeaway food

- Nitrates and nitrites found in various kinds of cured meat.

Massage

There are several parts of your body where massage can help alleviate your headache. Massaging your scalp, face, and temples can improve blood circulation, relieving pressure if you suffer from tension headaches. If you are stressed, depressed, or anxious, you are more at risk of suffering from tension headaches. It can also help to rest a cool wet washcloth across your forehead and your eyes. Cooling this area down can ease inflammation in this area.

Massaging your shoulders and neck is also a great way to alleviate a tension headache. And you don’t need someone else to do this for you. Here's how:

- Squeeze your shoulders, with your fingers pointing down towards your shoulder blades.

- Relax your neck muscles and exhale. Let your head lean back a little.

- Then press into your shoulders with your fingers, moving to the base of your skull, making small circular movements.

- Then lace your fingers together behind your head and allow it to fall forwards. The weight from your arms will stretch your neck and shoulder muscles.

It’s also great to combine this with stretches, neck exercises and some light yoga poses.

That’s all of the advice we have for you today. We hope this guide helps a few readers handle their next headache and perhaps even banish them from their lives.

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