There's nothing like a throbbing headache to bring you down. Suffering with a headache can deplete your energy reserves, reduce your efficiency, and put a halt to everyday activities. Who needs the pain?
There are several different kinds of headaches, from migraine to tension to sinus. But as we understand more and more about headaches, it becomes apparent that they are frequently preventable.
The next time you get a headache, don't just reach for the aspirin or the ibuprofen. Instead, try something a little more proactive. Follow these 10 strategies to try and stop the headache in its tracks the next time without resorting to medications.
1. If you're going to be outside in the sun, wear a hat. Too much sun (along with its accompanying heat) can cause vascular changes that can lead to a headache.
2. Avoid exhaust fumes. The noxious mix of chemicals produced by construction equipment or a car's exhaust pipe can rapidly set off a headache.
3. Loosen up -- your hair, that is. If you bind your hair too tightly so that it causes tension on your scalp, you could help cause a headache. The same holds true if you wear heavy earrings or tight headbands, for example. Lighten up and loosen up for headache relief.
4. Lighten up. Stress is a well-known source of tension headaches. If you're stressed out, you need to take a breather. Relax in a hot tub, go for a walk, or play some music. Even dozing off for a while can help avert a headache if you feel it building up.
5. Easy on the noise. Noise can be a major cause of headaches. And it's not just honking horns, construction, or sirens we're talking about here. Turn down the volume on your iPod, turn off the TV unless you're really watching it, or send your kids outside to play for a little while. Silence can be golden, especially when it comes to headache prevention. If necessary, invest in some earplugs for those times when you're going to have to be in a noisy environment.
6. Get a checkup with your dentist. Oftentimes, the pain of a toothache feels like a headache, or can cause one to occur. If your troublesome tooth is in your upper mouth, the threat of a headache increases.
7. Straighten up. Poor posture can trigger a headache because it puts pressure on the muscles in your shoulders and neck. If your job requires you to sit most of the day, take care that your workstation is set up to discourage slouching. You might want to try out a cushion to support your back.
8. Eat on a regular basis. Skipping meals leads to low blood sugar and reduced energy, which can cause a headache or even a migraine.
9. Steer clear of monosodium glutamate and caffeine, both of which are known to cause migraines.
10. Start a headache diary. Whenever you experience a headache, make note of the conditions. Did you eat something strange? What was the weather like? Were you unusually stressed, or maybe in PMS? After a while, your headache journal can help you identify a pattern to the cause of your headaches.
Certainly, there are lots of causes for a headache, and these guidelines shouldn't be replacement for a visit to your doctor. But it's worth a try to see if you can discover what's triggering your chronic headaches and pre-empt them without popping pills.
Give it a try and just see if you can put that aspirin bottle away, or at least reduce the amount you take.