Self-Care for the Headache Prone
Good health is one of the best self-care practices you will ever learn. If you suffer from regular tension headaches or migraines, it can be tough to figure out what to do that might bring relief and help you feel better. Here’s some self-care tips that can help ease your pain and help you recover quicker.
Explore Your Triggers
Many hidden factors can lead you to believe you ‘just’ get headaches, when there’s actually an underlying trigger. Anything from stressful events to eating the wrong foods, using ill-fitting contact lenses or an old prescription, or dealing with a change in weather can trigger a headache.
Try keeping a headache diary for a while. Every time you get one, note down when it started and stopped. There are even phone apps that can help you track patterns in your headaches. You might discover an underlying cause you can treat. Something as simple as changing your diet, or, if you wear glasses or contact lenses, updating your prescription and/or swapping to a contact lens brand that fits correctly, could be all you need to reduce your headaches.
Easy to say, hard to do, right? Wrong! Many migraines and tension headaches are brought on by the impacts of stress on your daily life. If you can’t fit in a full meditation session, then look to other self-care practices like mindfulness moments, or even a once-a-month massage to help relax you. Not only will it rejuvenate you from the inside out, it can help keep the pain at bay, too.
Check Your Hormones
While it’s perfectly normal for women to experience a headache around their period, it shouldn’t become debilitating or drag on for days. If you’re experiencing bad headaches that seem to be linked to your cycle, know that it’s not just something you have to suffer through. Consider checking into your hormone balance, and making sure everything is on-track to stay healthy.
When you’re in pain, you’d probably rather curl up on the couch and cry. But light, gentle exercise like walking can actually help reduce the length and severity of a tension headache. Not only does it boost blood flow, but the natural swing of your arms can relax tense neck muscles and help work out kinks in your spine. Plus, there’s the natural endorphin boost it brings. While migraine sufferers may have to skip this one due to nausea and light sensitivity, a regular exercise schedule can leave your body feeling better than ever- and that help ward off headaches, too.
Many women are guilty of disordered eating. Whether you’re trying to slim down, or just get too wrapped up in your workday to remember to eat, long periods without eating can lead to blood sugar swings that are a notorious headache trigger. And stuffing your face with comfort food when the pain comes isn’t the best, either. Stabilize your blood sugar with complex carbs, healthy fats, and protein. And don’t forget to stay hydrated, either!
It’s all well and good to want to avoid medication, but sometimes all you need is a little helping hand. An OTC pain reliever like aspirin can help you recover faster and feel better when you’re in pain. Unless it’s becoming a daily habit, don’t worry about it too much. There’s also a host of alternative interventions that can help beat the headache blues. Acupuncture and physiotherapy can help relax neck muscles and restore spine health and better posture. Thinking outside the box, looking into behavioral therapy can also help you manage stress better. If your headaches are becoming more frequent, lasting longer, or are particularly severe, it might be time to talk to your doctor. Especially if more severe symptoms, like trouble talking or vision changes, happen.
Upping your self-care routine can be an effective way to manage, or even prevent, headaches, so don’t be afraid to take the time you need to love yourself, too.