Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dealing with Headaches

I'm basically Psyduck... #constantheadaches
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I know I've mentioned on my blog a handful of times before that I am very prone to headaches and migraines. Sometimes I can predict when they're going to hit me, and other times they just blindside me. It's tough. They can be extremely debilitating, making it hard for me to think, speak, see straight, or in extreme cases, even move without feeling like I'm going to pass out. Though this all sounds pretty awful (and it really can be), I've gotten pretty good at dealing with headaches once they do some around and can offer some advice for those of you that may deal with chronic headaches as well.

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1. Limit light. If you're at home, draw the blinds, shut off your lights, and avoid all other light sources, such as screens of electronic devices. I usually like to put a show on Netflix that I've seen 100 times, put the brightness all the way down or face the screen away from me and just listen to it. If you're at work, or in a position where you have to look at a lit screen, turn the brightness all the way down on the screen and (as silly as it sounds) wear sunglasses. You'll look silly, yes, but it will be much easier on your eyes, and ultimately, your head.


2. Refrain from any activity that involves straining your eyes. If you wear contacts, switch to your glasses for the day. Try not to read or drive if you can help it. You'll never realize how much you use your eyes in a day until it physically pains you to use them! If possible, try putting a cold washcloth across your eyes. And speaking of cold washcloths...

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3. Think cold. Putting a cold ice pack on the back of your neck will draw the excess blood away from your head. It works even better when your other extremities (feet & hands) are warm, as the blood flow will move toward those warm areas. You'll start to feel some pressure relief after a while. I also enjoy eating something cold and chewy, like grapes or melon, when I have a headache, as headaches affect my jaw as well. It's nice to have the cold sensation on the areas that hurt!

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4. Caffeine. If you want migraine relief, caffeine is your ally. It's not the healthiest remedy in the world, but your body will respond to this chemical in a way that will relieve your pain. Most migraine medications have caffeine in them already, so don't feel the need to load up on coffee and soda if you've already taken medicine. If the pain persists, though, sometimes a caffeinated beverage will do the trick to subdue it.


5. Massage your neck, temples, shoulders, or other areas of your body that are sore. Many headaches come from muscle tension, especially the tension that is carried around in your neck and shoulders. Give yourself a mini-massage (or even better, have someone else do it for you) in the places that feel the tightest. Even just a 2 minute rub-down can make a huge difference.


6. Stretch. The same idea as massage, stretching will relive muscle tension that may be causing your headaches. There are several specific stretches and yoga poses that are known to relieve headaches as they target muscles that could be causing the pain. Most of these are easy enough to do from the comfort of your own bed!




7. Invest in a neck pillow. These are usually intended for travellers, but I find that it works wonders if I'm trying to relax or fall asleep when I have a migraine. Your neck gets support in the areas that usually don't get supported with a regular pillow, which allows your head and neck to really be able rest. This Etsy shop sells adorable hand-made animal and character neck pillows like the one shown above! :)

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I hope some of these tips help any and all friends out there who, like me, suffer from chronic headaches. I do have a Pinterest board dedicated solely to headache relief techniques, so if you'd like to continue to see the tips that I'm finding throughout the internet, make sure to follow it here!

If you have any headache or migraine relief tips, please leave them in the comments.
I would love to hear anything and everything that can help cure my headaches!

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