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Helping Headaches Heal (Part 3)

Jul 17, 14 Helping Headaches Heal (Part 3)

Part 1 and Part 2 identified the first 14 tips that Health.com gives to help those of us who suffer from headaches. Here are those tips:

Tip #1: Rest

Tip #2: Eat Smaller Meals More Frequently

Tip #3: Ice On the Forehead

Tip #4: Take a Hot Shower

Tip #5: Get a Massage

Tip #6: Acupressure

Tip #7: Limit the Libations

Tip #8: Water, Water, and More Water

Tip #9: Watch Those Pounds

Tip #10: Maintaining Low Levels of Stress

Tip #11: A Little Caffeine Can Help

Tip #12: Computer Break, Anyone?

Tip #13: No More Sun

Tip #14: Regular Exercise

Now let’s look at the last seven to have a full scope of options to help heal our headaches and possibly even prevent them.

Tip #15: No More Gum

Apparently, chewing too much gum can contribute to headaches. As Health.com identifies, “Chronic gum-chewing can contribute to stress on your jaw, suggests a 2014 study from Tel Aviv University. TMJ has been linked to head pain, and researchers found that out of 30 teenage and adolescent participants, 26 saw their headache symptoms improve when they gave up their daily gum-chewing habit.” Well, who knew? I have always found gum chewing to help my tension headaches, but I am not a chronic gum chewer. In fact, I only chew gum sometimes when I have a headache.

Tip #16: Figure Out Those Trigger Foods

Many people suffer from headaches due to trigger foods. Aged cheese, cured meats made with preservatives, red wine, darker liquors, even chocolate have been associated with migraines in some people. However, this is hard to study, so there are no hard facts. Regardless, those who suffer from migraines – or any kind of headaches – should definitely pay attention to their diet and make note of any times that show a correlation between foods and headaches. And we should eliminate the foods that are connected to our headaches.

Tip #17: Avoid Highly Stimulating Situations

Anything that is too bright, too flashy, too fast, too loud, or even too smelly (good or bad) can bring on headaches. When we already have headaches, these highly stimulating sensory situations can exacerbate the headache. If we suffer from a headache, the best choice is to avoid, or at least limit, these situations.

Tip #18: Front Seat Rider

Sometimes headaches and motion sickness go hand-in-hand. In fact, we may not even know we are susceptible to motion sickness because we focus on the headache. In either case, if we have a headache, we should just sit in the front seat in order to possibly control and minimize the headache. We could also try motion sickness remedies like Dramamine or ginger. And if you are prone to motion sickness or if you have a headache while in the car, do not try to read or watch videos. These can make things worse.

Tip #19: A Regular Schedule is Key

If headaches are a part of our lives, then the more regular our schedules are the better. This means keeping regular sleep schedules, eating habits (remember more meals only smaller portions throughout the day), exercise schedules, and the like. This means also keeping a regular schedule on the weekends. I know; that can be hard, but our heads will thank us if we do. Nothing is worse than a migraine on the weekend, and if regular schedules can help prevent these, then count me in.

Tip #20: Use Biofeedback

Health.com explains this best: “This technique uses electronic sensors to monitor muscle tension, skin temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and aims to teach patients how to control these normally automatic body functions. A 2011 Wake Forest University study found that over time, behavioral therapies like biofeedback are more cost-effective than prescription drugs for recurring headaches…Don’t like the idea of being hooked up to electrodes? Consider cognitive behavioral therapy sessions, in which you might learn relaxation strategies such as meditation and deep breathing.”

Tip #21: Consider Vitamins

The final tip that Health.com gives is to consider some holistic measures like vitamins. Different people found results with different vitamins. For instance, as soon as I learned I had a vitamin D deficiency and I had pernicious anemia (a B-12 deficiency) and I started supplementing these by taking a higher dose of vitamin D3 and a B-12 shot, I immediately noticed a decrease in my tension headaches as well as my migraines. I was incredibly grateful for these findings. I worked with my holistic doctor to find what vitamins might help my headaches and migraines.

Each of these tips provides great tricks to help those of us who suffer from any variety of headaches. The truth is that many of these are pretty easy to incorporate. In fact, most of these will help us in a variety of other ways as well. From more exercise, better sleep, and stress and weight management to watching our alcohol intake and increasing our water drinking, we can benefit our lives by more than just controlling, preventing, and treating headaches. I know I will definitely keep these tips in mind the next time I have a headache of any sort.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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About 

Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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