According to the World Health Organization, headache is one of the most common and disabling disorders of the nervous system. About 50 percent of adults around the world have had at least one occurrence of any type of headache such as a migraine, cluster headache, and tension headache, WHO says. Headaches can severely impact your work, studies, and other day-to-day activities.
There are things that you can do to manage and reduce headaches, especially headaches caused by stress. If you have recurrent and severe headaches, it’s best to see a specialist for proper treatment. A chiropractor can provide expert spinal adjustments, including adjustments for your neck, other treatments, and advice for all types of headaches.
Based on our work with our patients who have headaches here are 7 things that we suggest to help reduce headaches.
1. Take a Break
It helps to take breaks from activities that contribute to headaches. The glare coming from your computer, TV, phone, or tablets can aggravate headaches.
In addition to eye strain, the way you sit while you use these devices can cause headaches. If you’re not appropriately seated with your back and neck aligned, it could put pressure on your cervical spine.
To help relieve a headache, step away from the computer or TV, put down your phone or tablet. Go to a dark and quiet room and rest your eyes for at least 10 minutes.
Long drives may also put a strain on your eyes and cause a headache. If you’re driving, park your vehicle first, close your eyes and rest your head for a while. You can also pull off the road to a rest stop or other safe location to get out of the car and stretch or walk around for a few minutes. It is important to take breaks to keep yourself functioning at your best.
2. Do Some Light Stretching and Breathing Exercises
We recommend easy and light stretching to alleviate headaches. Even simple movements like slow clockwise and counterclockwise head rotation can help. We have a variety of stretches as part of the Axcess Advantage, which is a benefit of being a member with Axcess. you can learn more here. Rhythmic breathing exercise can also calm your mind and nerves, which reduces muscle tension. Stretching and breathing exercises are proven to relax the body and reduce headache pain.
3. Get a Soothing Massage
Who doesn’t love a good massage? Having a headache is a valid reason for you to book that much-needed massage therapy! We have a variety of massage therapists who are trained in accident recovery, and in reducing headache pain.
A full-body massage – one that includes your face and scalp – not only relaxes your body but also reduces or alleviates headaches. If you are pressed for time and can’t book a session, ask somebody to give you one at home.
Alternatively, you may also DIY using tools like backnobbers, foam rollers, or a head massager. Relax, light some aromatherapy candles, play relaxing music, and treat yourself to some rest and relaxation.
4. Consider Heat or Cold Treatments
Many people get headache relief from applying hot or cold packs. The National Headache Foundation suggests cold packs for migraines and hot/warm packs for tension-type headaches as these seem to work for many headache sufferers.
The same principle also applies to showers. The heat or cold application may vary on the individual, as some respond better to one over the other.
5. Change Your Sleeping Position
Sometimes, adjusting the way you sleep can make a difference. The National Sleep Foundation suggests sleeping on your back with the head, neck, and spine aligned in a neutral position. It’s not only the best and healthiest sleeping position, but it can also help avoid the dreaded morning headache since it prevents the awkward bending of the neck and spine.
Sleeping on your side may also help protect against back and neck pain since the spine is elongated in this position. Use a body pillow to help support your neck and back while you sleep. We also encourage you to sleep with a pillow between your legs as this helps to keep the back and neck and spine aligned.
6. Minimize Stress
One surefire way of preventing headaches is to minimize stress by managing your headache triggers. Examples of headache-inducing stressors include high-pressure job, events like divorce or death of a loved one, and financial anxiety. In these cases, it is best to get help through professional counseling or stress management. By limiting activities and events that could lead to stress, you are sparing yourself from having to deal with a literal headache.
7. Drink Plenty of Water
Dehydration is a common cause of headaches. Drinking plenty of water is very important to reduce headache pain, and to help your brain function. Based on Web MD, staying hydrated means drinking half your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds it is highly recommended to drink 100 ounces of water a day. This also helps us stay fully hydrated if we live in a warmer climate, during the summertime, and when we are exercising or working out. If you have a headache try drinking a few glasses of water in the next 30 minutes to see if that helps at all. If you are concerned about the adverse effects of taking pain medications, you might want to consider professional treatment, such as a chiropractic adjustment.
Consider Professional Treatment Such as a Chiropractic Adjustment
If you suffer from a chronic headache condition, getting an adjustment might be the answer. This treatment realigns your spine and neck and relieves pressure on your joints, resulting in better blood flow and relaxing tight muscles. It can significantly reduce the frequency as well as the severity of a headache.
In this procedure, a licensed chiropractor applies a controlled and sudden force to your spinal joint using their hands or a small instrument. This procedure is done in stages, which may require you to make several visits, depending on the way your spine and muscles respond to the adjustment.
Axcess Accident Center has multiple locations in Utah County including American Fork, Provo, Spanish Fork and West Valley to serve you. If you are in a car accident you will pay nothing out of pocket for treatment, and we also have a variety of membership options for those who are looking for long term support. The licensed chiropractors at Axcess can help you find relief from your headaches. Call 801-701-8222 or contact us here to schedule an appointment.