There are very few things that can bring me down like a headache. Well, except for when that headache turns into a migraine. With children to take care of and a house to run, I cannot barricade myself in a dark bedroom for hours on end and wait for it to pass. So I try to prevent them before they arise. So how do you do that? There are a couple of ways, and when prevention fails I am also going to let you in on a few of the natural techniques I use to push that headache out the door.
To keep those pesky headaches at bay eat small frequent meals. I find that many times I feel a headache coming on it is because I haven’t ate anything in a while and my blood sugar is low. I carry a little snack with me whenever I am leaving the house for this reason, and because I have two boys who are always hungry. The best things to snack on are sunflower or pumpkin seed if you are out of the house, and if you are home try a small spinach salad. Foods high in magnesium have been found to be a significant way to conquer a headache. If you are not in the mood for a salad, head over to our recipe tab and check out the post on green smoothies- they are great way to add a little spinach or kale into your day. Or my favorite way to up my magnesium intake, is by taking a bite or two of dark chocolate.
Keep cool. Well sort of. Buy an ice mask that can be stored in the fridge, these are my favorite. I use them for headaches, and when my sinuses flare. They can be found in most health and beauty isles at your local store. (honestly they break easily- save your money on the more expensive ones and stock up at the dollar store) Don’t want to buy one, no problem- use a bag of frozen veggies or freeze some spoons and rub them on your temples. Ten minutes of icing my forehead can and has alleviated the pain I felt coming on. This is best if done early, but if the headache is already full throttle it will likely lessen the pain. For sinus or cold headaches, getting in a hot steamy shower may work better than the ice. The steam will open your nasal passages and allow you to breath easier which takes away the pain and heavy feeling in your head.
Treat yourself! Though this may be more difficult to obtain and more costly, getting a massage is a fantastic way to stop the headaches from coming on. Stress is a leading cause of headaches (most commonly referred to as a tension headache) A neck, back or face massage can reduce the amount of headaches you get in a month- not to mention who doesn’t love a good massage. So spoil yourself and try to get a monthly 30 minutes massage. Along with massages acupuncture is another way to alleviate pain and stress.
Skip the alcohol, not only can drinking too much alcohol lead to a hangover with a serious headache the next day. Even small amounts can dehydrate your body which in turn brings on the headache. So instead of picking up another cocktail, pick up a nice cold glass of water. Staying hydrated will lessen your chances of a headache plus water has tons of other fantastic benefits. (check out our post on the benefits of water) With the hot summer temperatures upon us, staying hydrated is extremely important. Make sure to have a bottle of water close by when out by the pool or laying on the beach.
Take care of your body. Eating healthy and working out will significantly lower your likely hood of getting headaches. Being overweight has a strong link to chronic headaches, if you haven’t found enough reasons to get in shape hopefully this gives you the finial push. You cant expect to be pain free, if you are not taking proper care of your body. So get up and get exercising, your body will thank you in a million ways.
One cause of headaches that many don’t think about, and I have recently found out was a main culprit of mine, sleeping with a clenched jaw. (excessive gum chewing and teeth grinding are also causes for headaches) I never realized how much pressure I was putting on my jaw that was giving me early morning headaches that would last throughout the day. Since buying a mouth guard to sleep in my headaches have decreased significantly.
Last but definitely not least. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. I know it is easier said than done. But get your body on a schedule and stick to it. Go to bed each night and wake each morning around the same time. One of the leading causes of headaches is that your body is exhausted. Exhaustion can also lead to stress which will bring on those terrible tension headaches. Though headaches can not completely be controlled with these suggestions, they can greatly lower the amount of headaches you are suffering from. Since applying these techniques to my own life the amount of headaches I get has decreased at least 90%. So remember to pick up the water, put down the beer, eat small frequent meals (healthy ones), exercise and get plenty of rest.