Headache Relief Tips
A headache can strike at any time. No one is immune. Whether you get headaches frequently or just once in a while, the following tips are meant to help give you some relief.
It’s important to try to relax when you’re hit with unbearable headache pain. Close your eyes and take deep breaths until you feel calm and a bit more relaxed. Many people find relief by meditating or peaceful imagery. I like to try to relax my whole body by relaxing individual body parts one at a time, starting at the top of my head and working my way down to my toes, slowly.
Your headache has the potential to get worse from tension caused by a stressful environment. Pain makes it very difficult to efficiently handle stress. So, whenever possible, it’s important to avoid stressful situations when faced with headaches and migraines. Removing yourself from noisy environments and high tension issues helps your mind relax. I know that when I face a situation while I have a raging headache, I make decisions that I probably shouldn’t!
I’m a massage therapist, but hear me out! Massage tends to be very beneficial to many individuals who suffer from tension headaches. This is due to the fact that it improves blood flow to the head. It also relieves tense areas in the muscles that can be contributing to the headaches.
Stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine may make your headache or migraine worse. Avoid smoking at all costs and try to limit your caffeine and alcohol intake. That said, sometimes headaches can actually be relieved by caffeine, which is why you find it as an ingredient in some headache medications. Try what works best for you, but keep in mind that caffeine can make some headaches worse.
Watch your Diet
Your diet is an important factor when you’re prone to headaches. Regular meals are especially important for people who suffer from low blood sugar. Skipping meals, in this case, often causes headaches and other dangers to the body. Headaches can also be caused by food allergies. I personally had this happen to me several years ago. Now that I know what I’m allergic to, I know what to avoid or how much my body can handle before I get awful symptoms like headaches and sinus issues.
Dehydration causes your brain to shrink and pull away from the skull. What a scary thought! This triggers pain receptors surrounding your brain… in other words, a headache.
It also lowers the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain, which causes the brain’s blood vessels to dilate and become inflamed. This only worsens headaches and migraines. That being said, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration-related head pain.
Heat and Cold Packs
Depending on the type of headache, applying a warm or cold pack may offer some level of relief. Warm a dampened cloth in the microwave or run it under hot water. Then, apply it to the back of your neck. You can also easily make a rice sock by pouring regular white rice into a regular sock and tying it shut. I use tube socks so it’s easy to tie. Microwave for 30-120 seconds (check regularly for the right temperature), and apply to the painful areas. Sometimes that means the back of the neck or on the shoulders. Sometimes that means the forehead or elsewhere on the scalp.
If that doesn’t help, try using a cold pack instead. I’ve had massage clients find great relief in placing a cold pack on one place while using a heat pack on another, simultaneously. Try it and see what works for you!
Hopefully these tips give you some new ideas for dealing with headaches.