Raise your hand if you need ideas for headache remedies like now. Nothing can interrupt your day and damage your mood quite like a headache. They can come out of nowhere, and leave you completely sidelined, unable to function and totally miserable. What exactly is happening when a headache hits? It’s still somewhat of a mystery, but experts are learning more every day about what causes (and how to cure) a headache.
While the brain itself doesn’t feel pain, “experts now think surrounding tissues, brain chemicals, blood vessels, and nerves produce the pain signals,” according to an article for Health.com. Dr. Charles Flippen, MD, associate professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, explains, “We know a lot more than we did 20 years ago about what causes headaches…we know what areas of the brain are generating pain, but we don’t have the whole picture.”
Not all headaches are the same
We also know that there are several different types of headaches, ranging from tension headaches to migraines. And we also know that headaches are really common. According to the Mayo Clinic, “one study found that almost 90 percent of women and about 70 percent of men experience tension headaches during their lifetimes.” And while they are normal and usually not life threatening, a headache can make you feel like your brain is going to explode. Which is exactly why you need to nip it in the bud, before it becomes unmanageable and ruins your day. Here are some simple headache remedies to help you manage your headache, before it gets out of hand.
Eat the right foods
Believe it or not, what you eat impacts how you feel, and that includes your head. Some headaches are the result of dehydration, so if you’ve been spending a lot of time in the sun, exercising, or drinking alcohol, you should eat foods that can help hydrate you head-to-toe to prevent and cure your headaches. Watermelon, cucumber, strawberries are delicious and have a high water content—perfect for combating a headache. In addition, foods that are rich in potassium can help replace electrolytes, which soothes head pain. Dig into a baked potato or a banana next time you feel a headache coming on.
Soothe your pain with lavender oil
There is a reason that spas use lavender oil in massages to soothe muscles and help clients relax. This scented oil not only smells great, but, as Livestrong reports, it is “known for its anti-inflammatory characteristics and its ability to dilate blood vessels, which suggests why it helps reduce headache pain.” You can either inhale the oil as a vapor or apply it topically to your temples to ease discomfort caused by a headache.
Enjoy a scalp massage
When you first notice signs of a headache, your instinct is often so rub your temples or your head, trying to manually relieve that pain and tension. And sometimes it works. Simple rub your scalp in gentle motions, moving from your temples to the back of your head and moving around until you find a pattern that works for you. You can also let a professional do it, which is less convenient, but definitely more enjoyable. Another option is a reflexology massage, where pressure and reflux points on your hands and feet are massaged to alleviate pain in your head.
Get some fresh air
If you’re not sure what caused your headache, then try going outside for a walk and some fresh air. There’s a chance that a scent surrounding you inside was causing a negative response in your brain. Perhaps a coworker was wearing too much perfume, or the room reeked of cleaning solution. Sometimes a little fresh air and some deep breaths can provide instant relief.
Take a bath and relax
Headaches are often caused by anxiety and stress in your everyday life. If you want to break your headache habit, you need to find healthy ways to manage the stress in your day. A warm bath can help soothe muscles and allow your mind to unwind. Similarly, you can try lying down and comforting your body with a hot compress or an ice pack (we all respond differently to heat versus cold). See what works for you, but bottom line: if you find a way to help your body relax, your headache will dissipate.
If you are at work, take a break from your computer
Sometimes excessive light and glare can cause major head pain. Anyone who has spent hours in front of a bright TV screen can relate…the struggle is real, but there are things you can do to avoid headaches at work. First of all, if you notice a headache coming on, step away from your computer. Take a walk or go sit in a conference room and do work the old-fashioned way (by writing down your ideas or collaborating in person). And if you do need to be at a computer, turn down the brightness setting so that the screen is dimmed and a little less harsh on the eyes.
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