According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, headaches can be caused by a number of things. These include drinking alcohol, tension, stress, certain foods, changes in sleep habits, poor posture and skipped meals.
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No matter the cause, you likely just want the pain to go away. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help relieve the pain and return to your normal activities.
Of course, if nothing works, or your headaches get worse, it's time to see your doctor to rule out a possible health problem that could be the culprit behind your pain.
Booking a massage can instantly help relieve headache pain, especially if it's caused by tension or stress. Manipulating your muscles helps them relax, which boosts blood flow all over the body, helping to relieve the pain caused by a headache. You can also do a self-massage for similar benefits.
This method uses electric sensors to have a look at your body functions. The data is given back to you so that you can detect what is causing your headaches.
The method also teaches you appropriate ways to control symptoms during a headache. See your doctor to learn how to do biofeedback properly. It won't work unless you do it properly, but it's not difficult to learn.
3. Heat And Cold
Using heat and cold to relieve a headache is safe for anyone and completely medication-free. It works by relaxing your blood vessels when you apply heat or cooling your blood when you apply ice.
A heating pad or ice pack is all you need to give this method a try. Try both or just one. The trick is to use whichever works best for you. That differs based on the person, so try them both several times.
Acupuncture involves having a series of needles gently pushed into your body. For headaches, they are usually inserted in various locations on your head. The idea is that they stimulate pressure points, which helps to relieve muscle tightness that can cause a headache.
Look for a trained acupuncturist before you give this a try, or you could wind up spending money on nothing or suffering side effects you'd rather not deal with.
Generally botox is used as a cosmetic surgery procedure that helps lessen the lines and wrinkles that occur with age. However, it also shows promise as a viable way to treat headaches, especially for people who suffer from chronic migraines.
The treatment works by helping to freeze the muscles that tense and seize up during a headache, helping to keep one at bay for up to 12 weeks at a time. Botox will need to be repeated periodically to keep the benefits.
6. Diet Changes
Because certain foods can cause a headache, one of the best ways to treat the pain is to avoid those items. Keep an eating and headache diary for several weeks in which you record what you eat and whether you get a headache or not.
This will help you determine which foods lead to the issue. In general, nitrates and nitrites, found in processed meats and MSG are ones to stay away from. Alcohol, caffeine, cheese, chocolate and artificial sweeteners are other items you might need to limit or avoid.
In studies, migraine sufferers who practiced yoga on a regular basis experienced fewer headaches and milder symptoms. Yoga helps you center your body and mind through meditation, breathing and stretching.
Combining these three things can help you control your headaches and keep you from suffering future ones. The great thing about yoga is that you can practice it at home or in a studio, so choose what you like best.
8. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
This is a procedure that will need to be done in a medical setting and involves sending electrical impulses to your brain. Research shows that this can lessen migraine symptoms.
However, it's still being studied, so talk it over with your doctor before deciding to give it a try.
9. Electrode Implants
For people who suffer cluster headaches or chronic migraines, electrode implants are a powerful new way to treat them. While it's still in its early stages, this type of treatment involves having an electrode implanted near the occipital nerve.
A power source is then surgically implanted nearby. The two work together to provide electrical stimulation to the brain when a headache occurs. More studies are needed, but you could see this increasing in popularity in coming years.
Exercising when you have a headache might seem like the last thing you want to do, but research shows that it can really help. Exercise has been shown to reduce the severity of headache symptoms and improve the quality of life for people who get them often.
You need something that gets your heart rate going, such as walking, biking or swimming, and you need to do it on a regular basis – that is, at least a couple of times each week.
When you have a headache due to tension or stress, stretching your muscles is an ideal way to alleviate the pain and help you get back to normal.
Experts suggest stretching for 20 minutes a couple of times each day. Choose stretches that ease the tightness in your neck, shoulders and back for the best results and incorporate them into your routine on a daily basis.
12. Relaxation Exercises
Sometimes the act of doing something relaxing is all it takes to make a headache go away. It's important to take care of yourself on a regular basis for good overall health.
Choosing things that relax you on a daily basis can help relieve headache pain while it happens and keep you from getting headaches in the future. Deep breathing, music, a warm bath, yoga, mental imagery or reading a book are all great choices.
Similar to yoga, meditation requires you to quiet your mind and still your body. When that happens, blood vessels and muscles relax, which can go a long way toward helping alleviate headache pain.
While there isn't a lot of research done on meditation for headache pain, many people report that they feel better when they engage in the practice. Try a few minutes several times a day and see if it works for you.
Of course, these are all great medication-free ideas, but there are a number of painkillers on the market that can be quite effective for treating headache pain.
Often, painkillers are used in conjunction with other forms of treatment. Mix and match these ideas to find out what works best for you. If you can't find relief, make an appointment to see your doctor to be sure there isn't something else going on.