How to Reduce Headaches

by MichelleR on May 21, 2012

“Ug, I’ve got a headache!”

We have all been there, that pounding headache that can hit us first thing in the morning or late afternoon. Why do we get headaches? How can we prevent them? There are lots of factors that can contribute to headaches, such as stress, signs of illness and wrong diet.

There are 3 types of headaches, knowing which type you are more susceptible to can make a difference in finding the right solution to make it better.

A Tension-type headache is located where the head and neck muscles meet. There are two kinds of tension-type headaches, episodic and chronic. Episodic tension headaches are recurrent episodes lasting minutes to days. The pain is typically pressing or tightening with mild to moderate intensity and is not made worse with routine physical activity. Chronic tension headaches are present for at least 15 days per month for at least 6 months.

A Vascular headache includes, migraines and cluster headaches, and is thought to involve abnormal function of the brain’s blood vessels or vascular system. Symptoms of migraine headaches include: vomiting, nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.

An Organically caused headache may show reason for a more serious complication exists such as: a tumor or infection. The pain is mostly dull and general in quality and can last anywhere from a short to long period of time.

According to the National Headache Foundation 29.5 million Americans suffer from migraines with women three times more likely to be affected than men. About 75% of those suffering from migraines have a family history.

Many factors can trigger migraine attacks, such as alteration of sleep-wake cycle, missing or delaying a meal, medications that cause a swelling of the blood vessels, daily use of medications designed for relieving headache attacks, bright lights, sunlight, fluorescent lights, late night TV or movie theatres, certain foods, and excessive noise. Other trigger factors could be stress or underlying depression that can be diagnosed and treated adequately.

Before going to see a Physician record a log of recent headaches and what you did to treat them. Include information about your headache and general medical history.

Here is a list of information needed for your log;

  1.       Date
  2.       Length
  3.       Severity
  4.       Symptoms (i.e. vomiting or pain between eyes)
  5.       Triggers (i.e. after you ate chocolate)
  6.       Impact on your life (i.e. amount of days lost at work)
  7.       Record what medication you took (i.e. over-the-counter sinus medicine)
  8.       Write down when you took the medication
  9.       If it was effective in relieving pain or symptoms
  10.      How long the medication worked

If you are waiting to see a Physician, there are some tricks you can use to reduce your headaches. Water is important to our bodies especially our brain, making sure you drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day can reduce your risk or a headache. You should stay away from consuming too many sugars or eating too many carbs. If you feel a headache coming on at work or home with kids, try taking 15 minutes away from everyone to meditate in a quiet, peaceful and preferably dim-lite place. You can also try running hot then cold water, alternating every 30 seconds on your wrists. Another tip is to squeeze your hand in between your index finger and your thumb.

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