Headaches are the most common type of pain humans experience, and there are countless reasons which may cause them. A headache is described as a pain that stems from the head and upper neck and may bring about sensations of throbbing, constant or intermittent pain, squeezing, and sometimes even nausea and vomiting.
Headaches can be classified into three categories: primary headaches, secondary headaches, and cranial neuralgia or other headaches. Primary headaches include common types that many people will experience throughout their lifetimes such as tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches. While primary headaches are not life-threatening, they can affect some people’s day to day activities. Secondary headaches are those caused by an underlying problem. Typically, they are a result of infections or diseases in the body, trauma to the head, and even substance abuse. Finally, there are cranial neuralgia and other headaches which are directly related to the nerves and can be accompanied by facial pain.
While headaches can be a problem, you don’t have to suffer all the time. The first step is figuring out the root cause of your problem and seeing a doctor if you believe your headache may be caused by an underlying issue that you need to treat. For less serious headaches, the following are a few ways to get relief:
- Resting: If you suffer from migraines, a quiet and dark room may be the ideal setting for you. Taking a moment to rest may help with your headache.
- Relax: Practicing relaxation techniques such as breathing, meditation, yoga, and tai chi can all help improve the symptoms of certain types of headaches.
- Hydrate: Dehydration can trigger migraines, make sure to sip water throughout the day to ensure your levels are balanced. Try adding fruits and herbs to your water in order to make staying hydrated more exciting!
- Massage: Massaging your temples, shoulders, neck, and other trigger points can help reduce tension and help alleviate headaches.
- Manage Stress: Try managing stress through relaxation techniques and taking mental breaks when necessary, as stress can be a direct cause of headaches and other issues.
- Warm it up: Adding a heating pad around your neck can help alleviate headaches caused by tension in the muscles.
- Exercise: Staying active can actually have a positive impact on those who suffer from headaches. This is because it will activate your circulation while also helping to reduce stress through the release of endorphins. High-impact and low-impact exercise will both work in this case.
- Use your sense of smell: Smelling essential oils such as lavender can help reduce feelings of stress and reduce the severity of migraines.
- Caffeine: Drinking a cup of coffee if you have an early sign of a headache may help reduce your symptoms. With that said though, experts don’t recommend drinking too much caffeine as you can build a tolerance to it and experience withdrawal headaches on days you don’t drink it.
- Pause: Taking constant breaks to stand up, look away from the computer, stretch, and correct your posture can all help to reduce or avoid headaches.
- Establish a sleeping routine: Getting too little or too much sleep can contribute to suffering from migraines. The best thing to do in this case is finding a sweet spot for your ideal number of hours and establishing a regular sleeping schedule in order to give your body enough time to recover on a daily basis.
- Take vitamins: Vitamin deficiencies are known to cause headaches, getting your levels checked and taking the right supplements can help reduce headaches.
- Medication: For those who prefer to receive treatment using medication, over the counter pain relievers are typically quick and effective remedies for tension headaches. For those who suffer from migraines, prescription-strength medication may provide the relief you need. It’s important to practice this method of relief in moderation so as to not become dependent on it or suffer from additional issues.