HOME HEADACHE REMEDIES
When you have a headache, it often seems like everyone around you suddenly has his/her MD. They've all got opinions on what you can do to feel better. Sometimes, the advice is mildly amusing; at others, downright annoying. The trick is wading through the myth and finding the truth. There are definitely some things you do in your own home to help improve your situation when you have headahes.
Some common sense rules you can abide by include:
- Don't skip meals. Eating at least three square meals a day is important for headache sufferers. Sometimes, a dip in blood sugar can trigger a migraine. Try to eat something substantive at least every 4-5 hours.
- Take aspirin as soon as the headache begins. There's no need to be an iron man (or woman). The longer you delay, the less effective the medication will be.
- Exercise. Regular exercise can keep headaches at bay. Many headaches are caused by reduction of blood flow to certain areas of the vascular system. You can even exercise during a headache if it's not too severe, but...don't attempt anything too strenuous. Gentle walking is good enough.
- Go to sleep. Sleeping may be able to keep the pain at bay. However, remember to sleep straight and refrain from curving the neck. Try to sleep on your stomach if you can. That'll keep the head more stable.
- Place a cool compress on your forehead or neck. This may help soothe you during your headaces. (However, it's important to note that some folks prefer heat. If you are like that, take a warm or hot shower – not scalding – or place a warm compress on your head or neck.)
- Give yourself a massage. Rub your temples gently. Learn the acupressure points that soothe the head such as the web between the forefinger and thumb and under the bony ridges at the back of the neck.
- Wear a headband. Decreasing the blood flow to the scalp will actually the lessen the throbbing and pounding of a migraine. (Yes, grandma was right!)
- Turn off the lights. Bright light can make migraines even worse. Wear sunglasses when outside during the day and tinted lenses when at the computer screen for long periods of time. Also, work in regular breaks from the 'puter whenever possible to reduce eyestrain.
- Watch your caffeine intake. Caffeine restricts blood vessels and, as we mentioned earlier, restricted blood vessels, can increase the likelihood of headaches. That goes for smoking too. It also restricts blood flow (and oxygen).
- Say no to items containing tyramine. Tyramine is a chief suspect in causing headaches. Tyramine is a major component in chocolate (yes, chocolate), nuts, aged cheeses and even alcohol. Alcohol in general is not a good idea for headache sufferers as it tends to cause, not prevent, headaches.
- Avoid nitrates and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Nitrates are found in luncheon meats, hot dogs and certain condiments such as mustard. MSG is in sauces such as soy sauce and Chinese food. In general, salty foods are a no-no for those who are prone to headaches. High sodium levels do a number on blood flow.
- Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga and so forth. Learning to self-soothe and calm yourself down will keep you from getting overly stressed out about situations. De-stressing will go a long way towards headache prevention.
If you follow some of these restrictive and self-care measures, you can go a long way towards managing and perhaps even treating your headaches without the need for more significant medications.