What Helps A Stress Headache Naturally?
Headaches are a common condition that many people deal with on a daily basis. Ranging from uncomfortable to downright unbearable, they can disrupt your day-to-day life. Several types of headaches exist, with tension headaches being the most common. Cluster headaches are painful and happen in groups or “clusters,” while migraines are a moderate-to-severe type of headache. Although many medications are targeted at relieving headache symptoms, a number of effective, natural treatments also exist.
For headaches with radiating pain that starts in one area and spreads to another, like migraine headaches, cold compresses can be placed over the spot from which the pain originates, says Michael Devine, MD, internal medicine doctor and geriatrician with Devine Concierge Medicine, a primary care practice in Philadelphia. Cold temperatures have a numbing effect, which can dull the pain. They can also constrict the blood vessels, which may help relieve migraines. You can make your own cold compress by placing a damp towel in the freezer for about 10 minutes. An ice pack would also work.
Heat is better suited for tension headaches, Devine says, which often manifest as dull, aching head pain and a feeling of tightness across your forehead. Tensions headaches are typically caused by stress and relaxing stiff neck and shoulder muscles can help relieve this type of headache. For example, heat packs or a hot towel can be draped over the neck and shoulder muscles to help relax the muscles.
If you get frequent headaches or migraine attacks, you may wonder whether there’s any way to prevent them — or what might help relieve your pain and other symptoms when you get one. Even if your doctor has prescribed medication or other treatments, are there additional measures you could be taking on your own? The answer is yes. While home remedies and lifestyle changes alone may not prevent or relieve all headaches or migraine attacks, they can have an additive effect when used along with doctor-prescribed therapies.
Understanding what brings on, or triggers, headache and migraine attacks may help you identify what types of self-care might prevent them. Tension headaches, which according to the World Health Organization (WHO) affect more than half of all women and more than a third of all men in developed countries and, increasingly, affect more people in developing countries as well, are brought on by tight muscles in the shoulders, neck, scalp, and jaw, which in turn may be caused by stress, depression, anxiety, and fatigue, according to MedlinePlus.
Migraine attacks, which according to the Migraine Research Foundation affect 12 percent of people in the United States and are about three times more common in women than in men, can be triggered by changes in the weather, fatigue, stress, anxiety, insufficient sleep, dehydration, and hormonal changes (in women), according to the American Migraine Foundation. Attacks can also be set off by skipping meals, performing strenuous exercise, travelling to a higher altitude, and, for some, alcohol or the food additive monosodium glutamate
Before you try supplements or other complementary therapies to treat migraine attacks or headaches, be sure to consult your doctor, says Jennifer Kriegler, MD, a neurologist and headache specialist at Cleveland Clinic's Neurological Institute in Ohio. “Even natural substances have side effects,” Dr. Kriegler says. In addition, because dietary and herbal supplements aren't regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “what you think you're buying isn't always what you get,” she notes.
What Is A Stress Headache?
When your head feels tight and your neck is tense, you have a stress headache. Stress headaches are generally mild, but are extremely painful. They can last from one hour to one or two days. What causes stress headaches? Stress is one of the main causes of stress headaches. Just as your blood pressure is affected by your level of stress, so are your blood vessels.
When your blood vessels are constricted, a rush of chemicals called free radicals may result. This process can disrupt your body’s ability to regulate the levels of serotonin and dopamine, the neurotransmitters responsible for mood regulation. In severe cases of stress, it’s common for your head to ache and throb continuously, as your blood vessels constrict further.
Although it is commonly called a headache, many people with stress headaches do not necessarily have a headache associated with the pain. Rather, stress headaches are often the first sign of a real physical issue. Headaches often develop after a number of stressful events have taken place in your life, from having major surgery or bereavement to personal tragedies or even health scares.
Typically, the frequency of your headaches becomes worse when you are under stress. Noticing a physical tension in your head, neck and jaw can be an indicator that a headache is developing. Many people feel nauseous or numb to the touch, too, which indicates that the headache is accompanied by high levels of stress.
How Do You Treat Stress Headaches Naturally?
Below are some effective techniques for treating stress headaches naturally. The less tension, the fewer headaches you’ll suffer. Simply listen to relaxing music or podcasts, or simply slow down and take a few deep breaths. Look at a relaxing picture in your mind. Soothe yourself. Many of us make a habit of moving between tasks, completing a few and then jumping right back into another. Slow down and make time for some simple self-soothing techniques. If you feel like using music or listening to an audiobook, do it.
While prescription medications can provide symptom relief, they can also have serious side effects and take longer to start working. For these reasons, it’s often best to try natural remedies first. Here’s a look at three of the most effective techniques for stress headache relief. The brain is a wonderful part of your body, but it can get overloaded when you’re stressed.
According to the renowned nutritionist and author Robert Breiman, lowering your blood pressure and increasing the amount of potassium in your body can reduce tension headaches caused by stress. He states that when your body is overly stressed, the potassium in your cells is depleted, and so is your body’s ability to process potassium.
Some people find that practicing different relaxation techniques can help ease a stress headache. Deep breathing techniques may ease tension and aches and pains, helping you get through the day more comfortably. Take a few deep breaths through your nose, taking one step at a time.
Breathe slowly in through your mouth, holding it for a moment, then slowly out through your nose, holding it for a moment. Breathe in and out through your mouth at a moderate pace, focusing on your breath as you breathe in and out. This cycle should continue to help you feel less tense. Try doing this technique throughout the day, and you should find you will begin to notice a difference. Meditation is a great way to help with stress, and its benefits are well-documented.
The Role Of Sleep In Headache Relief
Having a bad headache during sleep can have you tossing and turning throughout the night. A poor night of sleep can lead to even more stress and tension and trigger a headache. When you are stressed, your body may produce more cortisol, which can irritate and increase the sensitivity of your brain and body.
In order to prevent tension headaches, you should practice deep breathing, meditation and meditation techniques, which will reduce anxiety and lower stress. Another thing to keep in mind when sleeping is not to give in to sleep deprivation or to take heavy naps.
Stress is a known culprit of many headaches. If you feel that stress has been making your headaches worse, changing your sleep habits may reduce their frequency and severity. If you already have a sleep schedule, but it’s an hour or two later than you’d like, try adjusting your sleep habits to help you get your recommended seven hours of sleep each night.
Not sleeping enough can leave your body with an increased level of stress hormones, which can exacerbate your headaches. Try cutting back on caffeine intake, as caffeine is a stimulant that increases heart rate, blood pressure, and energy levels. Also, try to avoid activities that could keep you awake at night.
Headaches are not triggered simply because we need more sleep. There are a number of factors that influence a headache’s onset and severity. Specifically, sleep disturbances are a big contributing factor to what triggers a headache, and how long it will last. If you’re suffering from headaches that seem to occur more and longer than expected, consider that your sleep may be disrupted.
One study found that poor sleep habits may lead to 30% of all head and neck pain. If your sleep patterns are lacking, try to plan a solid night’s rest. One way to achieve a restful night’s sleep is to sleep in the same position every night. Getting into a habit of this will ensure that you’re at ease at night, and won’t suffer from a headache.
Ways To Relieve Stress And Anxiety
Stress, anxiety, and tension headaches all stem from anxiety. Therefore, treating the root of the problem often proves the most effective and helpful in treating them. Physical stress has been shown to trigger migraines, so there are several ways to relieve stress and pain, without resorting to painkillers.
Just about every doctor will tell you that exercise is very important to the overall health of the body. Even though some of us are unable to physically exercise, the results of exercise are not solely physical. Exercise can positively influence the mind and body, helping to improve blood flow to the brain and nervous system. The endorphins that are released during exercise also help to ease stress and anxiety.
Dry teas are one of the most effective natural treatments for stress headaches. This beverage, often called chai tea, contains a concoction of roots, herbs, and spices that can help relieve pressure on your sinuses. It can also help to relax and soothe your headaches.
Having one cup of chai tea before your morning commute will provide you with enough energy to make it through your day. Eucalyptus is one of the most common natural treatments for stress headaches. It contains essential oils that relieve tension on your sinuses. In addition, it is great for reducing headaches due to sinus pressure and excess mucus.
A number of ways can help to relieve stress and anxiety. Try meditating to ease the tension and calm your mind. Try mindfulness meditation to quiet your mind and give you a moment to reflect on your day, identify any problems, and come up with a solution.
During these moments, your brain works more effectively to sort out emotions and come up with possible solutions.
- Find a hobby to help relieve stress.
- Get involved in the community and volunteer.
- Get a dog and take care of it so you have a reason to get out of the house.
- If you can’t find a hobby that works for you, you can always learn how to play the piano or another instrument.
- Try a relaxation technique.
- If you’re having a particularly bad stress headache, try a deep-breathing technique, such as the 3-7-8 method.
The Causes Of Headaches
Whether a person has one headache or several, it is generally well-known that not many of them are caused by a single cause. While many causes are well understood, the exact causes of most types of headaches are not well understood. Neurological factors: Usually these are neurological. For example, these could be due to conditions such as meningitis or inflammation of the brain. Painful conditions such as headaches can also be due to conditions such as tension headaches, migraine, cluster headaches and migraine.
Headaches occur due to several factors: stress, dehydration, and lack of sleep. All of these are triggers, and if one of them is severe enough to result in a headache, it’s time to start examining what’s causing the issue. Chronic stress, which is a common cause of tension headaches, is typically due to having too much going on in your life.
Distractions that you would usually look past quickly become obstacles and cause more stress. For example, spending too much time on your phone has become increasingly common and people now are aware that playing games and other apps on your phone can cause stress or anxiety, depending on how it’s used. To fight headaches naturally, avoid using your phone when you have an intense headache.
How To Identify A Tension Headache
First, it’s essential to understand what a tension headache is. A tension headache is a headache that is caused by the muscles in your head being overly tense. These are often headaches caused by stress and can last for several days. While headache types differ between people, tension headaches are grouped into four major categories, and each is composed of several subtypes. These include:
- postural, and
Stress headaches can be particularly distressing as they arise when you’re under pressure at work or in your personal life. During a stressful time, you may also experience anxiety, which can intensify your headache symptoms.
When a person experiences headaches, their jaw may drop, and the forehead may feel flushed and stiff. A tension headache feels like a dull pain on one side of the head, usually above the eye. Headaches usually subside in about 90 minutes, but sometimes they can last for several hours.
A tension headache can also make it difficult for you to focus and you have difficulty with concentration. When you talk to a person with a tension headache, it can be difficult to interpret their facial expressions or body language. It can be easy to miss or misunderstand what they’re saying, making them even more frustrated and uneasy.
How To Prevent Headache Symptoms?
There are many different ways to prevent headaches, and most are simple, natural methods that can also relieve common tension headaches or migraines. However, there are two common treatment methods that come to mind, namely rest and the application of ice. In particular, a number of research studies have shown that sitting with your head in a sling to reduce the neck and head area has a number of benefits, including helping to relieve headaches. Another natural way to alleviate headache symptoms is through exercise. While exercise can produce the same relief as taking over-the-counter medications, physical activity and exercise also helps reduce tension in the muscles, leading to a feeling of greater relaxation in the head.
As we mentioned earlier, if you can stop your headache from happening, you can significantly reduce its severity and duration. Remember that you should always take steps to prevent headaches, which include:
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Sleeping well
- Exercising regularly
- Adjusting your lifestyle to reduce stress
- Drinking plenty of water
- Not ignoring the symptoms
Unfortunately, sometimes headaches can persist regardless of what you do. In those cases, it’s important to seek professional treatment or another potential solution to your pain.
The best way to avoid migraine headaches in the first place is to make sure your body is in good working order. In particular, research has found that keeping your blood sugar levels in balance can prevent the onset of migraine attacks and keep them from getting worse. We also know that stress, sleeplessness, and eating habits can trigger them.
To help prevent a headache, try to make your body as stress-free as possible. This includes staying away from stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, which can trigger a headache, and practicing stress management techniques. Additionally, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly can help reduce stress, which in turn can ease headache symptoms.
Try Some Lifestyle Changes
If the pain is mild and localized, treatment for a stress headache can typically be as simple as resting and taking pain medication as needed. However, if a headache is severe and ongoing, you might want to consider seeing a specialist. Depending on your symptoms and treatment requirements, a number of potential causes can be investigated. Problematizing, paralysis, jaw pain, toothaches, and muscle spasms are all stress-related causes of pain.
Depending on the cause of your headaches, there are different lifestyle changes you can implement. Certain lifestyle changes may not help with headache symptoms. However, most can reduce or prevent symptoms, even when they’re caused by tension headaches. Here are a few lifestyle changes to consider:
- Limit caffeine intake
- Eating an anti-inflammatory diet
- Practicing yoga or relaxing exercises
- Regular exercise can be a great way to manage tension headaches, especially if you’re new to the activity.
- Reduce stress levels
A number of lifestyle changes that are proven to relieve tension headaches also reduce stress levels. For example, practicing mindful meditation, breathing techniques, and visualizations can greatly reduce stress and stress hormones, making your headaches less likely to occur.
Implement A Self-Care Routine
The best thing you can do for your head in order to alleviate headache symptoms is to practice a strict self-care routine. This means taking the time to start your day off right, including making your bed and ensuring you’re properly fed. Another helpful tip is to eat a full breakfast and not just a toaster waffle. You’ll be on your way to a headache-free day.
You’ll also want to go easy on your caffeine intake for a few hours before your first big headache. Yoga is a great way to relieve stress and boost brainpower. If you suffer from a daily headache, yoga is a perfect way to de-stress and overcome tension headaches. If you already do yoga, try taking a few minutes to simply breathe deeply and focus on nothing but your breath.
Although your daily routine can often be interrupted by physical exertion and stressful responsibilities, your health is something that must take priority. Make sure to incorporate plenty of rest, as well as a strong anti-inflammatory diet and meditation techniques, into your everyday routine. These simple steps can help you avoid headache-related issues and boost your overall health.
Headaches are caused by physical and emotional stress. If your stress levels are out of control, you’ll be at an increased risk for headaches. While it’s not always easy to manage your stress levels, it’s crucial that you seek the advice of a professional if you want to get the best treatment for your headache. A range of lifestyle changes are recommended to reduce headache-related symptoms.
Although migraine headaches can be frustrating, they are not life-threatening. Attempting to treat a migraine headache naturally is very beneficial in managing your condition and preventing migraines in the future. Overcoming a migraine headache can often be difficult but is certainly not impossible.
For many migraine headaches, natural headache remedies are all it takes to get relief and prevent a migraine from occurring again. Be sure to talk with your doctor before taking a natural headache remedy, as it’s a good idea to avoid medications that could have side effects. If you suffer from chronic headaches, seek out a doctor who specializes in treating headaches and be sure to ask about any potential side effects.
Headaches are a common and sometimes debilitating condition. No matter how bad your head pain is, if you know what triggers the pain, you can potentially stop them before they start. With a few simple changes in lifestyle, you can significantly reduce your pain, if not get rid of it entirely. By practicing relaxation techniques and maintaining a healthy diet, you can reduce the stress and tension in your body, ultimately reducing your headache pain.
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