Headaches are an extremely common and disabling condition. Headaches can range from mild to severe, and the causes of headache vary widely. For some people, something as simple as missing their morning cup of coffee or eating a bar of chocolate can bring on a headache or migraine.
Most headaches fall into three categories: tension headache, chronic daily headache and migraine.
Here are ways to stop a headache and get back to enjoying life:
1. Hydrate: Headaches can be a sign of dehydration. Drink water and plenty of it throughout the day.
2. Caffein-ate: When you’re in the throes of an aching head, caffeine may be the one of the most useful drugs you can use. Caffeine helps to constrict dilated blood vessels in your head and stop nerves from sending pain messages. Caffeine also helps pain medications work better. But, While a little caffeine can help to reduce a headache, too much caffeine can worsen headaches. Hence moderation is the key.
3. Feed it: Your brain needs glucose. It needs it constantly. Headaches, on the other hand, may make you feel nauseated. Eat small, frequent portions of food. Here are some foods and nutrients to try:
# Ginger: This fragrant, spicy flavoring can help to quell both an aching head and nausea brought on by a headache. Ginger reduces inflammation and also interferes with the production of histamines – those chemicals that stuff up your head and contribute to headaches. Sip some ginger-root tea or nibble at some crystallized ginger
# Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Foods high in “good fats” called omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help reduce inflammation throughout the body – including the brain. Foods high in omega-3s include salmon, tuna, mackerel, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and evening primrose oil.
# Vitamin-E rich foods: Foods high in the antioxidant vitamin E may help to reduce inflammation. Good sources of vitamin E include nuts, seeds, and other plant oils, especially olive oil.
# Magnesium: It may help to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines and other headaches. Magnesium appears to help promote the production of serotonin, the “feel good” hormone, and affects several other chemicals involved in headaches. Good sources of magnesium include whole grains, avocados , leafy greens, broccoli, sweet potato, squashes, lentils, blackstrap molasses, raisins, nuts, seeds, and seafood.Identify and avoid food triggers. Many people find that chocolate, alcohol, and foods containing MSG can trigger their headaches. Avoid these foods when your head is throbbing.
4. Massage: More than 90% of headaches are tension headaches, caused by a build-up of tension in the neck and shoulders. Often, you can massage your own headache away. Here’s how:
# Stand in a warm shower and let the water pulsate on your neck and upper shoulders. Then use your fingers and thumbs to gently massage the back of your neck.
# Gently but firmly massage the painful part of your head using your thumb and forefinger. Move slowly along the hairline from the the temples to the forehead until your fingers meet in the middle.
# Massage your scalp. Let your hair down, then use the tips of your fingers to massage your scalp. Use firm pressure and a small circular motion.
5. Dim the lights: Turn off the lights, lay down, and shut your eyes. Many people experience heightened sensitivity to light during a headache, especially migraine.
6. Use a cold compress: Apply a cool, wet cloth to your forehead. The coolness helps to constrict blood vessels and stop nerves from firing off pain signals.
7. Exercise: It may be the last thing you feel like doing while you’re in the throes of a headache, but exercise can stop a headache in its tracks. Exercise causes your body to release “feel good” chemicals called endorphins, which may help to minimize the headache. It also reduces stress, which contributes mightily to all types of headache. Don your sunglasses and get out for a walk. Exercise is also useful for headache prevention.
8. Avoid tobacco: Smoke from cigarettes, pipes, and cigars can trigger headaches in both smokers and the people around them (via secondhand, or environmental, smoke). Chewing tobacco may also contribute to headache. Nicotine, a chemical found in tobacco, stimulates blood vessels in the brain and 2) Smoking also triggers the ganglion nerves in the back of the throat, which can trigger headaches.
9. Use Relaxation techniques: Biofeedback, meditation, visualization, and other relaxation techniques may be effective ways for some people to reduce headache.