5 Ways to Relieve a Throbbing Headache Print Write e-mail
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Headache - Headache 2011
Written by Frank Mangano   
Friday, 04 February 2011 04:02

Headaches – characterized by discomfort or pain in the head, neck and shoulders due to constricted muscles – are a nuisance in our daily lives. There are several causes associated with the discomfort according to the U.S. National Institute of Health and these includes stress, not enough food, alcohol consumption, substance abuse and overworking, especially sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time. Sometimes, headaches can also be the side effect of a drug that a person is taking.

Certain foods can also cause the discomfort, like cheese and chocolate. Caffeine is also one of the culprits.  However, there are conflicting studies as to whether caffeine can be addictive or not, but no matter what the research indicates avid coffee drinkers are one in saying that skipping their daily dose of caffeine can trigger the headaches.  Shockingly, Chinese food can also be the source of the throbbing discomfort.  Apparently the MSG or monosodium glutamate added in most oriental dishes can dish out a mean headache, so the next time you crave for one, ask the waiter not use any of the additive.

Despite the varying causes of headaches, whether it is caused by stress, food or alcohol, it is mutually agreed on that it can dampen anyone’s day, can cancel out “special appointments”, and yes, the discomfort can generate cause one to become more cranky and impatient.

The good news is, there are some tested and proven ways that can help you combat the physical and emotional discomfort brought about by that throbbing headache. Here’s how:

  1. Rest and Sleep

    As Robert Ludlum’s famous character Jason Bourne advises “Sleep is a weapon.” That’s right, get some rest! Stop thinking about that mortgage or the deadline you are trying to meet. Turn off the television, close the blinds, and draw the curtains in. Turn off the lights and you may turn on some soothing music and then lie down on your bed.  But if you are in the office and there is no bed in sight, close your office door and take a nap for a good 10 or 15 minutes.  These will do wonders. But if the pain becomes intense and it has caused you to become unproductive at work, ask your supervisor if you can take the rest of the day off in order for you to recuperate.

  2. Cold Packs

    During headaches blood vessels in our brain dilate and become swollen with blood that brings about to an intense pressure on the surrounding nerves. The inflamed vessels will then deliver a signal to the brainstem where pain information is being process, triggering your headache. Apply an ice pack on the affected areas such as the temples, forehead or nape. Slowly but surely the cooling mechanism will normalize the blood vessels, then this will reduce blood flow and nerve pressure on the head which will help alleviate the discomfort.

  3. Water – nothing substitutes water!

    Your brain contains 75% water and is very receptive with its availability. Therefore, when the supply of water in your brain becomes exceedingly low, histamines will be produced. These histamines will immediately trigger pain and discomfort in the form of a throbbing headache. The event occurs due to our body’s efforts to protect the brain in order to avoid injuries and other ailments such as dehydration.

  4. Massage

    Massage therapy loosens up taut and strained muscles. It reduces muscle spasms and enhances blood flow thereby helping you to relax. Do not let a headache hinder you from having a good day. Ask your friend, family member or significant other to knead, rub, tap or stroke your back, neck and other affected areas. Touch or manual therapy has the ability to reduce physical tension, stress and anxiety.

    There are several massages that are specifically linked with different types of headaches.  Massaging the cervical spine or the spine at the back of the skull helps reduce tension in the back, shoulder and neck. Shiatsu massage, a technique from the Japanese where pressure is directed with the use of fingers, palm and thumbs to acupuncture spots relieves headache.  The Trager Approach is another technique that induces relaxation by stretching the joints and muscles.

  5. Relaxation Techniques

    Breathe in, breathe out and let yourself be transported from your bedroom to the Celtic scenery of open fields and waves crashing against the shoreline. Headaches can be triggered by too much stress and high anxiety levels – very common when trying to meet the deadliest deadline.  Allow yourself to relax by employing different relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, tai chi and yoga.

Additional Information on Headaches

It might be best to keep a record of your headaches.  Take note of the occurrence, date and time of onset, as well as its duration. You should also include the things that you have been doing, the person/s you were with, the food and drinks that have consumed when the headache/s occurred.

Majority of headaches are not severe.  However, if you have employed all means necessary and the headaches continue to bombard you and the frequency increases, coupled with added symptoms like fever, nasal discharge and facial soreness, it is advised that you seek medical assistance immediately.

Seek help immediately if you have encountered the following;

  • you never had headaches before and this is your first time but it is excruciating and violent,
  • you experience changes in vision, you have problems in mobilizing your arms or legs, there is a loss of equilibrium, confusion and loss of memory,
  • the headaches get increasingly nasty within 24 hours of its occurrence and it is associated with nausea, fever, stiff neck, vomiting or contained in the eye along with redness,
  • the headache transpires along with a head injury, or you are over 50 years old and the headaches presently manifest itself, along with pain during chewing and impaired vision,
  • headaches cause you to wake up or worsens during mornings,
  • your headaches can lasts for several days, or they have intensified
  • it has occurred frequently and you cannot pinpoint the cause of your headache





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