July 15, 2014
Helping Headaches Heal (Part 1)
For some people, headaches are a constant part of their lives. Some live with low-grade headaches, while others suffer from stress headaches, and still some others have allergy-related headaches. The worst, of course, are those who suffer from migraines and cluster headaches. For those of us who fall into one of these groups (and I am one with chronic migraines and stress headaches), all we want is a little relief. Health.com recently published 21 tips to help those of us who suffer from migraines. Let’s take a look at what they have to offer.
Tip #1: Rest
Yes, sleep is important for so many reasons, not the least of which is to help cure and prevent headaches. Because headaches often are a sign that our bodies need a break, the best way to alleviate them is to take a nap or just go to sleep altogether. Even just 10 minutes of closing our eyes, lying down, and relaxing can be all the body needs to stop the oncoming headache. This can prevent the headache from exploding to a debilitating level later on. It is definitely worth it.
Tip #2: Eat Smaller Meals More Frequently
Many suffer from headaches as a result of blood sugar levels or hunger. An easy way to help control this kind of headache is to simply eat smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to the traditional three meals a day. This will keep the blood glucose levels regulated and ensure that hunger is not the factor in the headache. Now, it is important to remember these need to be small meals. Think of grazing throughout the day.
Tip #3: Ice On the Forehead
Sometimes just a little cooling down can help to fend off a headache. Health.com writes, “Lying down with a chilly wet washcloth or cold compress over your forehead or eyes may provide temporary relief from a nagging headache, and may even help it disappear completely.” The article also suggests making ice popsicles to keep in the freezer. These can be rubbed directly onto the temple and forehead. Cooling down the forehead can distract the brain from the pain of the headache. It may even play a role in shrinking the blood vessels to help. Either way, ice often helps.
Tip #4: Take a Hot Shower
If cooling down does not do the trick, then try a nice, hot, steamy shower. If the headache is a result of sinus infections, colds, or allergies, the warm, moist shower water helps clear the nasal passages. A headache for other reasons can also benefit from a nice, hot shower simply because the heat works to calm us down as well as wake us up. I definitely prefer a little ice on the forehead, but sometimes the only cure for me is to sit in a steamy shower and let the water and steam do their trick.
Tip #5: Get a Massage
A little pressure on the temples and forehead can go a long way. That is why a massage can help cure a headache in no time. And the good news is that one does not have to pay for a massage. A friend or loved one can do it, or we can even give ourselves massages to help with the pain. Plus, it feels really good to have our heads rubbed or to rub them ourselves.
Tip #6: Acupressure
Similar to a massage, the effects of acupressure can really help when the headache is boiling. As Health.com directs, “According to Traditional Chinese Medicine practices, applying pressure to a point on the hand between the thumb and index finger can help relieve headache pain. Simply squeeze the indentation between the two digits with the thumb and index finger of your opposite hand and massage in a circular motion for five minutes, then switch hands.” The article further suggests acupuncture as well, especially for those who suffer from migraines and tension headaches.
Tip #7: Limit the Libations
Alcohol plays a role in headaches both because of the dehydration as well as the hangover effects. For instance, I love red wine, really love it, but it triggers migraines in me almost instantly, so I rarely drink it. If I do imbibe, I will drink a glass of water contiguous with my glass of wine. On the whole, I do not drink alcohol often, but when I do, I try to avoid red wines and dark liquors. When I drink, I also make sure to drink plenty of water as well and not drink too much because a hangover means migraine-ville for me. Really, I just do not drink that much as a result of the headaches, which is probably the best choice for me.
These first seven tips are great for helping with headaches. Stay tuned for the next two installments with the last 14 tips.
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