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10 Tips to Prevent a Painful Headache

Apr 26, 2008
There are few things that can wear you down like a painful headache. A headache zaps your energy, lowers your productivity, interferes with your social life, and just plain hurts.

There are a number of types of headaches, such as tension, sinus and migraine. But as we learn more about this problem, it becomes evident that they are often avoidable.

The next time you get a headache, don't just reach for the aspirin or the ibuprofen. Instead, try something a little more proactive. Follow these 10 strategies to try and stop the headache in its tracks the next time without resorting to medications.

1. If you're going to be outside in the sun, wear a hat. Too much sun (along with its accompanying heat) can cause vascular changes that can lead to a headache.

2. Avoid exhaust fumes. The toxic mixture of chemicals emitted by heavy machinery or a car's exhaust pipe can quickly trigger a headache.

3. Keep it loose - your hair, that is. Tight ponytails, braids and buns aggravate the muscle tissues near your scalp, which frequently leads to a headache. The same goes for close fitting hats, headbands, and heavy earrings.

4. Take it easy. Stress is a known cause of tension headaches. If you're feeling stressed, take a break, take a walk, listen to music, or soak in a hot tub. Even a short nap can help forestall a headache if you feel one coming on.

5. Shut out the noise. A constant high level of noise is often at the root of a headache. And it's not just construction, sirens and honking horns that are to blame. Turn off the TV when you're not watching it. Lower the volume on your CD player. Get the kids out of the house into the backyard to play. If you can't escape the noise, get yourself some ear plugs.

6. Visit your dentist. The pain of a toothache can sometimes feel just like a headache, or it might set one in motion. If your troublesome tooth is in your upper jaw, there's an even greater risk of headache.

7. Sit up straight. Bad posture leads to headaches by cramping your neck and shoulder muscles. If you sit for most of your workday, make sure your chair and computer are positioned properly so you don't slouch. Consider purchasing a back support cushion.

8. Eat on a regular basis. Skipping meals leads to low blood sugar and reduced energy, which can cause a headache or even a migraine.

9. Steer clear of monosodium glutamate and caffeine, both of which are known to cause migraines.

10. Start a headache journal. When you get a headache, write down the time and place, and what the circumstances were. Did you eat anything unusual? What was the weather like? Were you in a stressful situation, or maybe PMS-ing? Over time, this information can help you identify your particular headache triggers.

Of course, there are many other reasons why you might get a headache, and these tips aren't meant to be a substitute for your doctor's advice. But it is possible to treat your recurring headaches without resorting to medication by finding out what's causing them and using a preventative strategy.

You might just find yourself relying less and less on the pill bottle.
About the Author
Kim Archer writes about women's wellness. She is publisher of The Internet Spa, where you'll find up-to-date information to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit.
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