Headaches hit most of us at some point. Prescription or over-the-counter medications aside, to which other remedies could a headache sufferer turn?
Exercise: When headaches occur, your first impulse may not be to jump on the treadmill or the saddle of your bike. But if you move your body, you will not fail to feel the effects of endorphins (the painkillers naturally produced by the body). Endorphins can soothe the feeling of soreness felt in the head by improving the state of mind while decreasing the sensation of pain. Aerobic exercises will help you adjust to the extra energy generated by endorphins while the stretching exercises will target tense or palpable muscles. Regular exercise is the best way to get help with headaches.
Relaxation: aaah, it’s already better. Some moments of R and R for a head that hurts, it’s good, right? Yes, especially if it is a period of rest and active relaxation. Take a break of 20 minutes in the chair that you prefer for its comfort, and take advantage of it to practice some taming techniques of tension. Try a progressive relaxation of the muscles. This practice involves stretching a group of muscles (e.g., arms, legs, abdomen, etc.) for 10 seconds to 15 seconds, then releasing them. You could also use breathing exercises. Start by breathing deeply, hold your breath for 10 seconds and then exhale slowly. Put a hand on your belly and feel your muscles contract and relax to the rhythm of your breathing.
The compresses: the application of a hot or cold compress could soothe headaches triggered by muscle tension. The compress will numb or lessen the feeling of pain and help loosen tight muscles. Apply an ice bladder wrapped in a cloth, hot water bottle or heating pad to the neck and sore shoulders muscles.
Withdrawal: If you are at work when headaches occur, it may be difficult for you to escape the pain and its triggers. However, a short break or a quick withdrawal could be the solution. If eye strain is due to computer work, look away from your screen for a moment, or close your eyes. Some types of headaches can cause sensitivity to light, so look for a cozy place in the dark to rest for a while. Go sit in your car, adjust the reclining seat so you can lie down and cover your eyes with a knit or a cloth.
Massages: relieve muscle soreness by means of self massage performed with great gentleness. Massage your temples, scalp, neck and shoulders lightly with your fingertips. Pinch and gently rub the outer edge of your ear between your thumb and forefinger. Slowly slide your fingers from the top of your ear to the earlobe. Pull several times gently on the lobe of one of your ears. Repeat these actions or change your ear. There is also reason to think that it would be possible to calm the headaches by exerting pressure on a point sometimes called “union of the valley” situated in the hollow of the hand. You will find it at the junction point of your thumb and palm. Use the index finger and the thumb of a hand to stimulate the point of the other hand by lightly pressing on it for 30 seconds. Change hands and start again if you want.
Loosening of teeth: Bruxism is characterized by frictional movements or clenching of teeth. The resulting pressure on the muscles and tissues surrounding the jaw can trigger symptoms such as headaches. Make an effort to notice under what circumstances you tend to clench your teeth, and say that you must relax. If you think your jaw plays a role in your headaches, do not eat hard foods (e.g. nuts, sweets, and tough meat) and give up chewing gum.
Food: Many headaches come from skipped meals, fluctuations in blood sugar and the consumption of certain food triggers. Protect yourself from pain by not skipping meals and accurately determining which foods cause headaches for you. Among the most common headache triggers are alcohol, caffeine, GMS and artificial sweeteners.
Drink: Dehydration is also recognized as a cause of headaches, so drink plenty of water. We have already mentioned that caffeine consumption can cause headaches for some people, especially those who drink more than 2 or 3 cups of coffee a day. Stopping coffee consumption immediately can also lead to headaches. But caffeine is a double-edged sword since it can also help soothe headaches. It is on the list of ingredients of some painkillers and its properties stimulate the effects of other pharmaceutical preparations. Write down your own reactions to caffeine to determine if its action relieves or triggers your headaches.
From time to time, headaches may be signs that lead to the conclusion that there is an underlying problem or issue of greater importance. See your doctor if headache occurs more than 3 times a week, if you take a pain reliever almost every day, if you felt the need to increase the dose that gave you relief, if you noticed a change distinctive elements or the severity of your headaches.
Seek emergency medical care if headaches occur after head trauma, if they suddenly appear and are intense, if they are accompanied by fever, weakness, confusion, loss of expression and comprehension of language, dizziness, loss of coordination, epileptic seizures, abnormal visual field or if the pain worsens despite interventions.
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