Yes, massages may seem luxurious, but they’re also incredibly therapeutic. Sometimes headaches result from tension in the upper body due to muscle strain from poor posture or a rigorous workout routine. Massage therapy may be able to reduce chronic pain as well as ease muscle tension that causes headaches.
For muscle tension headaches, hot and/or cold compresses can offer relief. For the cold portion, place ice in a plastic bag covered with a thin cloth to avoid harming your skin. Place the ice pack on your forehead and/or cheeks, basically wherever the greatest source of pain is. Just be sure to limit cold pack applications to no more than 10 minutes at a time.
Aromatherapy is the study of how certain smells can trigger positive and even healing responses in the brain.
Some smells have been reported to soothe and reduce the incidence of headaches. These include peppermint extract, eucalyptus, and lavender oil. They are readily available at many local health food stores or online.
Acupuncture involves applying fine, sharp needles to key areas on the body as a means of promoting energy flow. It’s thought to stimulate the body’s natural pain-relieving compounds, and according to the National Institutes of Health, has been shown to reduce headache frequency and severity.
Yes, breathing. You know, that thing you do all the time already! It may sound silly, but tension-related headaches can sometimes be relieved with regular breathing exercises that help focus your mind and ease your muscles. Start by finding a quiet place with a comfortable chair in your home, office, or other location where you will not be distracted. Next, take slow, rhythmic breaths, breathing in for five seconds then out for five seconds. As you relax, your muscle tightness reduces.
Dehydration can contribute to a headache, but it can be easily avoided. Grabbing a good old-fashioned glass of water can help as much as an electrolyte-containing beverage such as Pedialyte, Gatorade, or Powerade. But just as there are drinks that can reduce headaches, there are those that can trigger them.
We hear a lot about the health problems caused by lack of sleep, and not getting your nightly minimum can lead to chronic headaches. But knowing you need more sleep and actually getting it are two different things.