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When a headache strikes it can not only be a nuisance, for some people reoccuring and persistent headaches and migraines can be debilitating. However, if you find yourself suffering from mild to moderate headaches on a regular basis then this article could be useful for you. It is important to try and find solutions for the pain that headaches can cause that are simple and cost effective. The following tips are designed to assist with mild to moderate headache pains only.
If you find yourself unable to function when you have a headache, or if your pain is accompanied by a fever, nausea or a stiff neck then always seek the advice of a medical professional.
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1. Pain Killers
It is always more effective to take any over the counter pain killers when you first feel a headache coming on. This is because it can take up to two hours for the pain killers to get into your system and to start offering relief. Paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen are just some of the branded pain killers which will help ease mild to moderate headaches. But as with all medication, if you are currently taking any prescription medication then always seek the advice of a doctor or pharmacist before taking them.
However, no-one wants to find themselves relying on pain killers for headache relief. Therefore, if it is persistent and lasts for more than a week or so then it may be helpful to book an appointment with your doctor to discuss it further. Try using pain killers in combination with some of the below methods for added pain relief too.
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2. Rest In A Darkened Room
Depending on the type of headache that you are suffering from, being in a darkened room could help to alleviate some of the symptoms. This is because there is less distraction and auditory or visual stimulation in a quiet darkened room. Make sure you are in comfortable clothing and shut the curtains.
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Turn off any electric fans or technological distractions and try to close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. More specifically, try to focus in on the rhythm of your breathing and take a breath in and a longer breath out. This relaxation technique is called the ‘7 11 breathing pattern’. It is often suggested to people suffering from panic attacks and stress, and it is even recommended to women in labor. However, it can be more generally applied to anxiety and headaches too. Why not give this technique a try the next time you feel a headache coming on to see if it helps you.
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3. Stay Hydrated
Although it may seem an obvious point to stay hydrated when one has a headache, many of us simply do not drink enough water to help our bodies function at the optimum level on a daily basis. Lowering your caffeine intake will really help as well because caffeine interferes with your brain’s functioning and absorption of certain nutrients such as iron and potassium.
One should be drinking around eight glasses of water a day, but this rule should apply even more if you are a regular sufferer of headaches or migraines. Water will help to flush out toxins from your body. In addition, it will improve the quality and tone of your skin and helps cells to maintain their electrolyte levels which in turn can reduce fatigue. What’s more, water is calorie free and so should always be encouraged!
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4. Use A Hot Or Cold Compress
When a burning pain accompanies your headache on your forehead and around your temples, this can often be due to a tension headache. To help ease the discomfort you may wish to try using a cold compress such as a dampened flannel or face cloth. The cold temperature against your skin will help to ease inflammation and can slow blood flow down. This will in turn help to reduce the feeling of pressure in your head.
On the other hand, you may wish to try using a hot compress. In contrast, this will help blood vessels to dilate and widen and because tension headaches are often caused by blood vessels narrowing, this could be of great help. An alternative would be to have a hot shower and to massage your scalp under the hot water to ease the pain and pressure in your head.
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5. Improve Your Posture
Many of us do not consciously think about our posture enough and sit slouched with a hunched back and high shoulders on chairs. Working on computers and sitting for long periods can contribute to this. Bad posture can cause tension and strain in the muscles in the body and this could lead to tension headaches for you.
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Using an ergonomic chair could help to improve the situation, as could sitting up straight when working at a desk. You could even try to improve your posture when walking by keeping your back straight, your shoulders back and your head level without straining your neck in any way. Bad posture can contribute more than one may initially think to headaches, so it may be worth considering your posture more on a daily basis.
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6. Massage Therapy
Whereas a normal massage can be given for pleasure and relaxation, massage therapy focuses in on specific areas of the body to help provide relief from tension headaches. Booking one of these massages could therefore be a great alternative to a spa massage if you suffer from mild to moderate headaches. This type of massage can focus on your neck, head and shoulders and lots of the techniques used could be tried at home too.
The YouTube video below shows some great tips and techniques for reliving headaches through a massage therapy head massage with Gregory Gorey.
Whilst this list is by no means definitive, the suggestions will hopefully be able to offer you some ways to combat a mild to moderate headache at home without too much expense or time involved. If you have other tips for easing the discomfort that a headache can cause, then do share them below in the comments section for others to refer to.