Headaches are one of the most common health complaints. In fact, most people occasionally develop a headache. For some people, headaches can become chronic and occur several days every month. Even infrequent ones can be problematic. Learning a bit more about the causes and remedies can help you reduce discomfort and get on with your day.
If you suffer from headaches, you know how it can interfere with everyday activities. In some instances, headaches are so significant, they interfere with work or school. Identifying the cause may help you target treatment.
Several things can lead to a headache from dehydration to eye strain. A few typical causes include the following:
Migraines are a prevalent cause of headaches. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, in the United States, about 38 million people get migraines. In addition to pain, migraines may also cause nausea, sensitivity to light, and vision changes.
According to research published in the Journal of Pain, a decrease in REM sleep is associated with headaches, including more severe pain.
Stress is often a trigger for headaches. Stress can lead to tense muscles in the neck, which may cause pain. Plus, stress is frequently a sleep stealer, which may result in a headache.
Allergies not only cause nasal congestion and sneezing, but they may also lead to headaches. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, allergy headache triggers may include smoke, certain foods, and sinus congestion.
If headaches occur frequently or the pain is severe, it is best to see your healthcare provider. For occasional head pain, the tips below may help.
A lotion infused with melatonin may help you get to sleep easier, which may prevent certain types of headaches or prevent existing pain from getting worse. Melatonin is the hormone that your body makes to help you get to sleep at night. But in some cases, the amount of melatonin you produce is disrupted by various factors. Topical melatonin is an excellent option that may help to promote sleep, and in turn, reduce headaches.
Over-the-counter pain-relievers are helpful to decrease headaches. Both acetaminophen and ibuprofen are common nonprescription medications used to treat headaches. But use over-the-counter pain medications sparsely since they can have side effects.
Applying a warm compress to your head or the back of your neck is a great natural way to reduce the tension that may be contributing to a headache. Wet a washcloth with warm water and apply it over your forehead for about 10 minutes. Another option is putting a heating pad around the base of your skull and the back of your neck, which can reduce tension headaches.
A back and shoulder massage can ease stress and sore muscles, which might be a headache trigger. Massage promotes relaxation, which may also help you get to sleep. You can even do a self-massage by rubbing your temples and neck to soothe tension headaches.
In some instances, a cold pack may work better than a warm compress to reduce a headache. Just be sure not to overdo it, which may make the pain worse.
Consider applying a lotion containing topical magnesium. Low magnesium may negatively affect how well a person sleeps, which might contribute to headaches.
Plus, magnesium may help prevent migraines in some people. According to the American Migraine Foundation, magnesium may help block certain chemicals in the brain that transmit pain. It may also prevent blood vessels in the brain from narrowing, which is thought to cause migraines in some people.
Some studies show that topical magnesium may be absorbed by the body better than oral supplements. Magnesium also may promote stress reduction and decrease anxiety, which are both helpful to prevent headaches.
A pain-relieving bath bomb is an excellent way to wash stress away and help you relax and get to sleep. Getting proper rest and decreasing tension can alleviate pain, including headaches. Select a bath bomb that contains ingredients, such as arnica, Epsom salt, and chamomile.
What you eat and drink may affect how frequently you develop headaches. For example, alcohol and caffeine are headache triggers in some cases. For others, skipping meals may lead to low blood sugar, which might cause a headache. Certain foods may also trigger migraines for some. Red wine, nuts, and cheese are common culprits. If you get headaches often, keep a journal and write down what you ate and drank to help you pinpoint what is leading to them.
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