Headaches can be due to various causes. Depending on the cause, they can be managed with medications but there are also self-care measures that can help alleviate the discomfort.
- Apply an ice pack on the sore area of the head. You can place it over the forehead, temple or back of the neck.
- Encourage the individual to take a warm shower or bath and rest by taking a nap.
- Apply mild, steady circular pressure on the sore areas of the head with the thumb or index finger. Hold the pressure for 7-15 seconds and then release. This can be repeated as needed.
- The individual should rest, sit or lie down in a quiet, low-lit area. Encourage the individual to close his/her eyes to release the tension in the neck, back and shoulders.
- Stretch and relax the muscles. For those who have severe muscle contractions in the neck, they must undergo physical therapy on a daily basis.
Individuals who have severe muscle contractions in the neck can greatly benefit from physical therapy exercises on a daily basis.
Prevention of headaches
It is vital to follow the treatment plan. The individual should avoid taking medications that were not given by the doctor.
Avoid any over-the-counter pain medications more than 2 times in a week. Using these products longer than the instructions can worsen the headaches. Remember that these types of headaches are known as rebound headaches. Once the pain medication wears off, he/she might have a withdrawal. This forces the individual to use more which results to another episode and the urge to use more medications. The cycle can result to daily and intense headaches.
Find ways to reduce the level of emotional stress and physical stress. The individual should take some time to relax and avoid stressful scenarios. There are relaxation techniques that can help such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. It is vital to get proper rest and sleep. When siting for long periods, get up and stretch.
Exercise on a regular basis. It is recommended to get at least 20 minutes of exercise at 3 times a week. Take note that exercise reduces stress and minimizes the severity and frequency of headaches.
Other measures to help manage headaches
- Avoid skipping meals
- Stick with a well-balanced diet with meals and snacks at the same time every day
- Take a break during the day to relax
- Make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night
- Avoid consumption of alcohol since the flow of blood to the brain increases while drinking, thus increasing the pain.
- Reduce the intake of caffeine
- Stop smoking since it can trigger headaches and make them worse.