Keep Your Headaches at Bay

Oh, my aching head! Does this sound familiar to you? Well, it might be since one of the most common medical complaints of modern man is an aching head. We all have had it in varying frequencies and intensities. In fact, both adults and children alike may suffer occasionally from this throbbing pain.

Headaches can be thought about by a number of reasons – tension, infection, allergy, injury, hunger, change in the flow of blood in the head or an exposure to offensive chemicals. A rough day in the office can bring about headaches as well as too much celebrating the night before can.

Fortunately, most heads respond well to self-care and can be treated at home using over-the-counter medications and some rest. Here are some other proven methods that you can follow to effectively treat headaches.

o Rest, rest and rest. One of the most effective treatments for headaches is taking a much – needed rest. Most of the time, you simply need to lie down and close your eyes for half an hour or so for the pain to magically disappear! This is especially true for migraine type headaches where sleeping or resting in a darkened room can be the only way to stop the pain.

o Hot or cold? To treat a headache, you can either use a hot or a cold compress and you can instantly start feeling the pain disappear. Just dip a clean washcloth in ice-cold water for a cold compress (or in warm water for a hot compress) and place it over your eyes or on the site of the pain. It is best to keep the compress on for at least half an hour for optimum results. Just be sure to maintain the temperature more or less constant by constantly dipping the washcloth in cold or warm water.

o Headache hats (an ice pack that surrounds the head) or an ice pillow (a frozen gel pack that can be inserted in a pillow) also provides great relief from headaches.

o Take a deep breath. Tension is one of the most common causes of headaches. In fact, about 90% of all heads are due to modern day stress. If this is the case, try to take a break. Think happy thoughts, relax and take a couple of deep breaths. You will instantly feel better!

o Go easy on the pills. While it is okay for you to take over-the-counter analgesics to stop the pain, being dependent on these pills may actually worsen your condition in the long run. Remember that these drugs can be helpful only when taken in limited quantities. If ever you feel the need to take them more than twice a day to stop the pain, it is time to see your doctor.

o Take an active path towards healthy living. If you have been smoking and drinking for quite some time now, you may be experiencing an increase in the sunset of headaches. This is because these two habits have been scientifically proven to set off migraines and cluster headaches. In fact, alcoholic beverages were found to contain tyramine, an amino acid, which stimulates headaches.

o Know what is causing your headaches. If you frequently suffer from headaches, keep a diary. Try to record when you have them, how painful it was (mild, moderate, severe or incapacitating), what foods you have ate and what you were doing prior to the attack. For women, it may be necessary for you to track your periods and your use of oral contraceptives or hormone-replacement medications. Try to pick up the patterns. You can use these records when you consult with your doctor.

These measures can be effective in treating occasional headaches in no time at all. But if you suffer from frequent headaches that can be classified as severe or incapacitating, you should certainly go see your doctor.