Soothing headaches: Top 14 Best Migraine Hacks for Pain Relief
Tension-type headaches: Self-care measures for relief
Tension-type headaches: Self-care measures for relief
Frequent headaches can interfere with your daily life. But healthy lifestyle choices can help you head off the pain. Start with the basics, including diet, exercise and relaxation.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Nearly everyone is familiar with the pain of tension-type headaches. But that doesn’t mean that the world stops when the pain strikes. Over-the-counter or prescription medications may help, but simply taking good care of yourself also can help prevent a pounding headache.
Make healthy lifestyle choices
A healthy lifestyle can promote good overall health and help prevent tension-type headaches. Here are the basics:
- Eat nutritious foods on a regular schedule. Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast, and drink plenty of water each day.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise releases chemicals in your body that block pain signals to the brain. With your doctor’s permission, choose any exercise you enjoy, whether that’s walking, swimming or cycling. Start slowly; exercising too vigorously can trigger some types of headaches.
- Get enough sleep. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day — even on weekends. Relax before you go to bed. If you don’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, get up and read or do something soothing until you’re drowsy. Avoid medications (including some headache medications) that contain caffeine and other stimulants that can affect sleep.
- Avoid excess caffeine. While caffeine may help curb headaches, heavy daily caffeine use — more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day (about four regular cups of coffee) — can cause headaches and irritability. Chronic caffeine consumption also increases the risk of headaches, as does quitting caffeine altogether — whether you quit suddenly or cut back gradually.
- Quit smoking. The nicotine in cigarette smoke reduces blood flow to the brain, and triggers a reaction in the nerves at the back of the throat, which may lead to a headache.
Keep stress under control
Stress and tension-type headaches often go hand in hand. To reduce stress, try these simple tips:
- Simplify your life. Don’t look for ways to squeeze more activities or chores into the day; instead find things you can leave out.
- Take a break. If you feel overwhelmed, a few slow stretches or a quick walk may renew your energy levels.
- Exhale. When you feel your stress levels rising, take several deep breaths and count to 10.
- Adjust your attitude. Think positive thoughts. Don’t think that something is impossible; tell yourself that you are up to the challenge.
- Let go. Don’t worry about things you can’t control.
Ease muscle tension
Tense muscles can trigger tension-type headaches. Apply heat or ice to relieve tense neck and shoulder muscles. Use a heating pad set on low, a hot water bottle, a hot shower or bath, a warm compress, or a hot towel. Or apply an ice pack (wrapped in a cloth) or a cool washcloth across the forehead.
Massage also can relieve muscle tension — and sometimes headache pain. Gently massage your temples, scalp, neck and shoulders with your fingertips, or gently stretch your neck.
Take time to unwind every day. Try this deep-breathing exercise:
- Lie down on your back or sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor; hands in your lap.
- Imagine yourself in a peaceful place, perhaps a beach or quiet forest. Keep this scene in your mind.
- Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply for at least 10 minutes.
- When you’re done, sit quietly for a minute or two.
Try to practice these breathing exercises or another form of relaxation every day.
Keep a headache diary
A diary may help you determine what triggers your tension-type headaches. Note when your headaches start, your activities, how long the headaches last and anything that provides relief. The diary may help you spot patterns in your daily habits that contribute to your tension-type headaches.
Look for improvements in your headaches as you make additional healthy lifestyle changes.
Aug. 21, 2020
- Headache: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Hope-Through-Research/Headache-Hope-Through-Research. Accessed July 19, 2018.
- Cutrer FM, et al. Pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of migraine in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 13, 2020.
- Your guide to healthy sleep. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/all-publications-and-resources/your-guide-healthy-sleep. Accessed Aug. 13, 2020.
- Durazzo TC, et al. Comparison of regional brain perfusion levels in chronically smoking and non-smoking adults. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2015;12:8198.
- 3 tips to manage stress. American Heart Association. https://healthyforgood.heart.org/be-well/articles/3-tips-to-manage-stress. Accessed July 19, 2018.
- Swanson JW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 23, 2018.
- Bordeaux B, et al. Benefits and risks of caffeine and caffeinated beverages. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 13, 2020.
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6 Natural Ways to Soothe Your Tension Headache-That Work
If there’s one thing that can kill your mood and zap your ability to get anything done, it’s a headache — particularly, a tension headache.
They’re shockingly common, affecting up to 80% of Americans at least once in a while. Unlike migraines, tension headaches aren’t usually severe, and they won’t leave you nauseous or cause a visual aura. But they’re still no fun.
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Like the name suggests, they tend to come on when the muscles in your neck and scalp are literally all tensed up. Sometimes, all that scrunching is caused by an injury. But most often, it’s the result of—you guessed it—stress.
The good news is that you don’t need to rely on conventional pain meds for relief. When it comes to taming your tension headache, these 6 simple, natural solutions can help.
Take a nature break.
Since stress is a top cause of tension headaches, finding ways to decompress can be a great pain management tool. And one of the most effective ways to chill out is to spend some time in nature.
While a truly remote retreat is ideal, a quiet visit to a nearby park can also be very helpful.
Sure, you could always take a mental health day and spend some time forest bathing. But if that’s not realistic, just go hang out in the park or garden. Countless studies have confirmed nature’s ability to promote feelings of calm, tranquility, and balance. Just make sure you leave your phone behind. When your goal is to relax, the constant pings aren’t exactly helpful.
Sit up straight.
Sitting at your computer for hours on end won’t just stress you out. Chances are, it’ll also mess with your posture—which has more to do with head pain than you think.
By causing the muscles in your neck to tense up, slumping or hunching can actually trigger a headache.
So make the effort to sit up tall and straight. Pull in your abdomen, keep your thighs parallel to the ground, and look forward and out instead of down, recommend
Mayo Clinic experts.
If you think you’ll forget, put a reminder sticky on the corner of your laptop. It’s low-tech—but it works.
Sniff a soothing essential oil.
There’s not much science behind using aromatherapy for headaches. But traditional practitioners have relied on the power of scent to ease head pain for thousands of years, so it’s certainly worth a shot.
Traditional practitioners have relied on the power of scent to ease head pain for thousands of years.
Which aromas work best? Lavender is thought to have a calming effect, and some aromatherapists also use it to treat pain. Or, try eucalyptus: The scent
has been shown
to ease knee pain, swelling, and inflammation, and
some findings suggest
that it could also be helpful for headaches. (Always check with your doctor first, though. Some essential oils—including eucalyptus—aren’t recommended if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.)
Try an ice pack.
Just like a sore shoulder or ankle, a simple ice pack (or a bag of frozen veggies—it works just as well) could help ease the awful, pulsating pain in your head.
The reasons why, though, aren’t entirely clear. Some experts believe that the cold shrinks your blood vessels and reduces blood flow to the brain, dulling discomfort. But it could also simply be that the icy sensation gives you something to focus on besides your head pain.
Snack on a green apple.
If the smell and taste don’t perk you up, using your jaw muscles may release some tension.
But before you take a bite, take a deep whiff. One study from Chicago’s Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation found that headache sufferers who sniffed the smell of green apple had a greater improvement in their pain compared to those who didn’t smell anything.
What’s more, the carbohydrates in the apple can actually help you feel less stressed. That’s because your brain uses carbs to produce the feel-good, relaxation-promoting hormone serotonin. (As an added bonus? All that chomping and crunching has been shown to ease anxiety, too.)
Take a nap.
It’s not uncommon to get slammed with throbbing head pain when you’re zonked. In fact, 59% of tension headache sufferers say that too little sleep tends to trigger their headaches, found one study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
So close your eyes, close the shades, and let yourself take a quick trip to dreamland. Just remember to keep your nap to 20 minutes or so: That’s enough time to help you feel refreshed, but not so much that you wake up groggy—and in worse pain than before.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.
About the author
Marygrace Taylor is a health and wellness writer based in Philadelphia. She’s covered healthy sleep and sleep hygiene for Amerisleep and other outlets since 2014. She also writes about diet and nutrition, women’s health, and fitness for outlets like Healthline, Men’s Health, and Prevention.
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15 natural and home remedies for migraine relief
Migraine is one of the most common conditions in the world, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. Migraines can run in families with children and adults known to have them.
In America, the Migraine Research Foundation estimate that almost 12 percent of people suffer from migraine headaches.
Migraine headaches are not simply a severe headache. Migraines are part of a neurological condition and often have other symptoms, including:
- tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
- visual changes
- sensitivity to sound, light, or smell
Migraines can be debilitating and a chronic condition that can impact daily life for some people.
There are many different medications used to treat and prevent migraines. But some people prefer to use natural treatments as alternatives or to supplement medical treatment.
Here are 15 natural remedies for migraines that people may want to try:
Acupressure therapy may help relieve some migraine symptoms.
Acupressure involves the application of pressure to specific parts of the body. Stimulating specific points of the body in this way is believed to release muscle tension and alleviate pain.
One popular pressure point is the LI-4 point in the space between the base of the left thumb and pointer finger.
Applying firm but not painful circular pressure to the LI-4 point, using the opposite hand for 5 minutes, may relieve headache pain.
A 2012 study looked at 40 people who had migraines without aura. It found that pressure on the PC6 acupoint, which is located three fingers up from the base of the wrist on the inside of the arm, was effective in relieving migraine-associated nausea or vomiting associated with a migraine headache.
2. Diet changes
Many people who get migraines notice certain foods can trigger them.
Common food triggers for migraines include:
- processed foods
- red wine
- caffeinated beverages
Being aware of what might be triggering a migraine is critical. Some people use a food diary or migraine journal to keep track of potential triggers.
Changing diet or eating patterns to avoid triggers may help to prevent migraines in the future.
3. Essential oils
Essential oils are often used as natural remedies or as an antimicrobial in homemade cleaning products.
Lavender is an essential oil often recommended as a remedy for stress, anxiety, and headaches. Another small study published in European Neurology found that lavender oil inhalation helped reduce the severity of migraine headaches in some people.
The results are encouraging, but further research using larger sample sizes is needed.
A 2014 study using 100 participants compared the effectiveness of ginger powder with sumatriptan, a common migraine drug.
The researchers found the effectiveness of ginger was statistically comparable to sumatriptan, and users were as willing to continue with either treatment.
One definite benefit for people who get migraines is that using ginger cannot hurt and, aside from an existing allergy, there are no side effects to using it.
5. Stress management
Journaling may help relieve stress.
Stress is a common trigger for migraines. Stress can also create a cycle where migraine pain worsens the stress, which then triggers another migraine.
Finding outlets for stress, such as journaling, exercise, or meditation, may help to prevent future migraines.
People can also try taking a stress management class. They may choose to take a warm bath or listen to music, as well, to try to relieve the stress they feel.
By doing these positive actions, a person is choosing to take control of their body’s reaction to the stress in their life.
6. Yoga or stretching
Yoga is thought to help improve blood flow and reduce muscle tension, which can help relieve symptoms for people who get migraines.
A comprehensive 2014 study compared conventional migraine treatment with and without the addition of regular yoga practice.
The researchers found that the group who participated in a yoga program had greater relief than the group who joined in conventional treatment alone.
7. Biofeedback therapy
Biofeedback is a therapy that people use to trigger the release and relaxation of tight muscles.
Biofeedback takes practice and training. Sensors placed on the muscles feed into a small machine that gives real-time feedback about muscle tension, allowing users to release the tight areas better.
Placement of sensors along the forehead, jawline, or trapezius muscles in the shoulders can help to target muscles that might be triggering migraine pain.
An extensive 2012 systematic review looked at studies that evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating migraines and other conditions.
The study authors found that acupuncture is an effective treatment choice for people with migraine headaches, although they pointed out that other factors might be playing a part also.
People who are interested in using acupuncture for migraines should make sure to find a licensed practitioner for treatment.
Massaging the muscles in the neck and shoulders can help to relieve tension and alleviate migraine pain. Massage may also reduce stress.
People can choose to use a professional masseuse for a massage. Alternatively, taking a tennis ball and using it to do a self-massage along the shoulders and back is another, more cost-effective, option.
10. Herbal supplements
Herbal supplements, such as butterbur, may help reduce migraine frequency.
Butterbur and feverfew are two herbal supplements that may be helpful in reducing migraine pain and frequency.
A daily dose of 150 milligrams (mg) of butterbur was effective in lowering migraine frequency when taken for about 3 months, according to the American Migraine Foundation.
The foundation suggest feverfew is less effective than butterbur. Feverfew may, however, be helpful for some people.
There are some risks in using these herbs, severe in rare cases, and anyone wanting to try them should speak with their doctor first.
Deficiency of magnesium, which is an essential mineral, may trigger migraine aura or a menstrual-migraine headache.
A migraine aura is a visual disturbance that occurs at the onset of a migraine. Not everyone who gets migraines will experience a migraine aura.
Research has found that supplementation of magnesium can be useful in reducing the frequency of migraines in some individuals.
People should speak with their doctor before starting to take magnesium, particularly if they have other health conditions.
12. B-complex vitamins
The B vitamins may have an impact on reducing migraine frequency and severity. B vitamins play a role in regulating neurotransmitters in the brain.
B vitamins are water soluble, meaning that excess levels are excreted in the urine and not stored in the body.
The body quickly excretes B vitamins, so it is unlikely someone could take too much. Nevertheless, it is still important to speak with a doctor before starting to take a daily B-complex vitamin.
Trials are being done to establish how useful B vitamins are in helping to alleviate the occupational stress that people experience from their jobs.
13. Stay hydrated
Not drinking enough water is a well-known migraine and headache trigger, and it only takes minor dehydration to bring on a headache.
People can try to drink more water each day to avoid dehydration. People with severe dehydration may initially need an oral rehydration solution to replace missing electrolytes.
Drinking water throughout the day, and maintaining a healthful diet is usually enough to stay sufficiently hydrated.
Lack of sleep and too much sleep can be triggers for migraine headaches.
Getting 7–9 hours of restful sleep each night can help to reduce stress and prevent migraines.
Some people find placing a cold or warm compress on their head can be soothing and help to reduce migraine pain.
Many people who get migraines report a preference for a cold compress, but warm or cold can work.
There are few side effects of using this therapy, though people with circulatory problems, diabetes, or skin issues should avoid extremes of temperature.
The five best teas for migraine, to get relief quickly
Having a severe headache is one of the most discomforting feelings. It stops you from doing anything apart from lying on the bed, holding your head. In many cases, it seems like someone is crushing your skull. Different problems cause varying headaches, and one of the worst is migraine. Fortunately, having tea can help a bit to reduce the pain and discomfort. Hence the following teas for migraines can lower the headache, and you get rid of it earlier due to their herbal qualities. It is best to take advice from the medical practitioner before tying anyone out if you have regular migraine attacks.
When preparing tea with ginger, use fresh or dried roots of the plant. People also add in the dried powder that is effective in reducing the pain. For centuries, ginger is used as a medicinal herb and has anti-inflammatory properties. Hence it reduces the free radicals and toxins that are one of the reasons for persistent headaches. By taking ginger tea, the blood vessels open up, increasing the blood circulation in the body; hence the pain ceases in some time. Many people also like the taste of this tea and prefer to take it regularly; besides being a pain reliever, it is suitable for health and works for cold and flu.
The chamomile tea relaxes the mind and body and improves sleep quality. This naturally has a sedative effect and improvises the sleep cycles of the person. Chamomile oil is also useful in relieving migraines, and it relaxes the body. Moreover, tea gives relief from pain and nausea. You can also place the warm tea bag directly on the pressure points to get relief.
This tea has many health benefits. Peppermint is also suitable for nausea and soothing upset stomach. It’s an excellent remedy for migraines; besides, other options are available. Peppermint has phenol and flavonoids that reduce inflammation and treat pain. There are no side effects, and many migraine patients have found it soothing to relieve the severe headache. Peppermint itself has a great taste; therefore, it is widely in use.
Looking at the past, leaves of Feverfew were widely used to treat pain and body aches. It has a robust and bitter flavor, so it is better to blend with lemongrass or add honey when preparing tea. This will lessen the bitterness from the tea and balance the intense flavor. If you are having a migraine, have no more than a cup of Feverfew tea as it’s quite strong. The tea is an excellent remedy for headaches, arthritis, and stomach pain. It also prevents the onset of migraines by releasing certain chemicals that inhibit the production of compounds that cause headaches.
Clove is a famous spice that is used to treat many problems for centuries. It has properties to fight the pain, and also people use it for toothache. Clove tea helps in relieving migraines; it improves blood circulation. Before taking it, you should talk with the practitioner, especially if you are some medicines. Clove reacts with blood-thinning medication. Hence it is better to take care.
Before trying any of these solutions, talk to the team at Sleep & Headache Solutions. Call us at 832-688-8886 to schedule your appointment.
Is It Music to Your Mind?
Soothing sound is credited with helping insomnia and stress, but can audio therapy for migraines help you? More evidence says it’s worth trying.
Music therapy is credited with helping soothe many different ailments, but can audio therapy for migraines and headaches bring you relief? A growing body of scientific and anecdotal evidence says it’s worth trying.
Since Migraine is the 3rd most prevalent and 6th most disabling disease in the world, it’s no wonder that we will try nearly anything to lessen the frequency and severity of attacks. Many people use multi-faceted plans to keep migraines at bay, from prescription medications to dietary management, consistent exercise, and even music and audio therapy ().
While audio therapy for migraines may not work for all people, anti-migraine music may be the missing piece that helps you control your attacks.
Maybe it’s no coincidence that famous musical artists like Elvis, Janet Jackson, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, and Loretta Lynn all struggle with migraines. Is music part of the way they cope with the pain? Is there a special kind of music that takes away headaches?
Different People Respond Differently to anti Migraine Music
The consensus amongst people with Migraine seems to be that music’s ability to alleviate an attack is quite dependent on both the individual and the type of attack. If you’re suffering from a severe migraine, you may find yourself extremely sensitive to all external sounds, even those that you would otherwise find calming.
If you’re experiencing a milder or moderate headache, you might find that tranquil songs help you relax and relieve some of the pain. The type of music that takes away headaches is going to be different for each person.
The Problem with Headphones and Migraines
When you’re suffering from a migraine, the last thing your head usually needs is something pressing against it. Because of this, the majority of people forgo listening with headphones when using music therapy.
Some find that earphones or earbuds are okay to use, but most seem to prefer listening via speakers, as they don’t come into direct contact with your head at all (learn more).
The Best Migraine Music & Audio Therapy for Migraines
1 – Relaxing Migraine Music
The type of music you find relaxing will be specific to you, your preferences, and your migraine attacks. Many people seem to find slow, melodic music the most helpful, so listening to ballads and other slow-paced songs may work. Think of Enya and John Williams. The best kind of music to get rid of headaches is the music that makes you feel calm.
Soothing sounds from the piano can ease some people’s pain. Image: Gabriel Gurrola / Unsplash
Listen to a sample of Enya (note: you will need to sign in or open a new Pandora account. Click here for a sample from Youtube, instead.)
2 – Binaural Beat Technology for Migraines
There are also people who chose BBT (binaural beat technology), as their favorite music to get rid of headaches. Binaural beats were discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, a prominent physicist, and BBT has been used in many therapeutic environments. Binaural beats are two tones that are similar yet distinctive frequencies. Each tone is played into a different ear, and when your brain interprets the two frequencies, it makes a third tone, called a binary beat. BBT can be used to promote states of extreme relaxation.
Listen to a sample of BBT Music on Pandora or on Youtube.
3 – Dubstep and Heavy Metal for Migraines
Skrillex is unconventional Migraine music.
Opposite to tranquil, relaxing songs are dubstep, electronic dance music, and heavy metal songs. Some might find the idea that loud this could help migraines pretty shocking, since harsh sounds are actually painful to many. Such is the crazy, highly personalized nature of migraines. The music that takes away headaches for someone else may sound like nails on a chalkboard to you.
Though not the majority by any means, there are some people who report that music with heavy bass sounds actually helps their migraines through the vibrations they create (). Think of Skrillex and AC/DC.
Listen to a sample of Skrillex on Pandora or on Youtube.
4 – ASMR for Migraines
Autonomous sensory meridian response, commonly known as ASMR, is characterized by a listener’s ecstatic response to gentle acoustic sounds. According to a BBC report, ASMR videos have become an internet phenomenon by making people ‘tingle. ().’
ASMR videos can be anything from someone speaking softly, hair being brushed, soft tapping, light scratching, or quiet crinkling. While you may not be susceptible to these sounds or experience the associated tingly response, ASMR videos can also be used in place of music to help stay relaxed and calm. There are many different videos online, such as YouTube, where you can listen to these calming sounds. If the sound of crinkling is more likely to drive you up the wall than relieve stress, there are also other calming sounds you can listen to, such as audios of crackling fires, raindrops hitting the ground, or crashing waves.
Watch a sample ASMR Migraine Video.
5 – White Noise for Migraines
Long before ASMR entered the scene, White Noise apps featuring endless loop tracks of sounds like an Amazon Jungle, Crashing Waves, or a Ceiling Fan helped people calm their brains without medication and get to sleep. Sleep is certainly a challenge for most people with migraine. Again, the use of white noise for migraine is personal. Some sources even report that background white noise (like what’s used in offices) can actually raise your stress level and impede concentration ().
Not all white noise is created equal – try it for yourself by downloading a free app.
Pink noise is an alternative to white noise that may help improve sleep and memory (). Listen to a high-quality sample of pink noise here.
Listen to a sample of Rain in the Woods.
White Noise apps featuring tracks of summer rain can be soothing for sleep and migraines. Image: Pete Nowicki, Unsplash
While there is no concrete evidence that audio therapy for migraines can alleviate an attack, music and sound may be a positive element to help you relax when experiencing a migraine or headache. As Twenty One Pilots say in their song “Migraine,” the “pain will range from up, down, and sideways,” so if anti Migraine music can help even a little, it’s worth trying it out.
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Maneuvers for Treating Headaches
Headaches commonly present themselves at inconvenient times, like when a person is in the middle of a meeting, a family outing, or stuck on an airplane. Often over-the-counter medications are not readily available, and a nap is just not possible at the moment. So many people turn to self pain-alleviating maneuvers to temporarily ease their pain.
But does temple massage or applying a cold washcloth to your head actually work?
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Self Pain-Relieving Maneuvers
Self-pain-relieving maneuvers are self-soothing behaviors a person does to ease the pain in their body, like that of a headache. These are commonly used by people suffering from a tension headache or migraine.
While not an exhaustive list, here are examples of self-soothing headache maneuvers:
- Massaging the temples, neck, or scalp with hand, fingers, or an object
- Applying cold to the affected area, like with a cold pack, cold drink, or cold hand
- Applying heat to the affected area, usually with a scarf, hairdryer, or hot shower
- Compression (e.g., using a handkerchief wrapped tightly around the head) or pressing firmly on the area of pain
It’s interesting to note that compression is more commonly utilized in migraineurs versus scalp massage in people with tension headaches. This is likely due to the sensation caused by a migraine (throbbing, like a drum beating on your brain) versus a tension headache (a tight grip or band around your head).
For those with cluster headaches, people are more likely to utilize unique maneuvers, like covering one ear, lateral rotation of the head, shallow breathing, moving about, or closing the nostril on the same side as the head pain.
Other Non-Medication Options
Besides the above-mentioned self pain-easing maneuvers, there are other ways to complement your headache and migraine care.
Some of these complementary therapies include:
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Aerobic exercise, especially for migraines
- Trigger point release massage for tension-type headaches
The good news is that compared to self-soothing headache maneuvers, the potential benefit of these complementary therapies is supported by various scientific studies.
That said, be sure to talk with your doctor before embarking on one—this way you can choose the strategy that works best for your headache type and your unique needs/goals.
A Word from Verywell
While self-pain-relieving behaviors are temporarily effective at best, it’s okay if you use them, as they are harmless. Perhaps doing something good for yourself adds a psychological benefit, which is hard to calculate from a study. Go with your gut on this one. And do not be afraid to try multiple strategies—it’s usually a trial and error process to finding the right treatment regimen that works for you.
7 Tips From a Chiropractor – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic
Combine stress, repetitive activities and poor posture, and what do you get? Tension headaches.
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They encircle your head like a too-tight crown. “Fortunately, you can do a lot on your own to prevent or relieve tension-type headaches,” says chiropractor Andrew Bang, DC.
“You don’t always have to go to a physical therapist, massage therapist or chiropractor.”
A recipe for trouble
Work pressures, relationship stress and other life challenges can cause tension headaches.
When you add repetitive activities and poor posture to the mix, “the pain starts in your neck and shoulders, slowly travels up the base of your skull and then wraps around your head,” says Dr. Bang.
The following activities can contribute to tension headaches:
“These activities overstretch the muscles on the back of your neck and weaken them, increasing your susceptibility to tension headaches,” says Dr. Bang. “The second part of the problem is that using any muscle too much leads to pain and, often, spasms.”
Episodic vs. chronic
Episodic tension headaches are often tied to stressful events. They typically come on quickly and are fairly painful. “These headaches resolve once the stressful event is over or when you take over-the-counter medication,” says Dr. Bang.
Chronic tension headaches can recur daily. They may come on as you wake up or after a long day of work or activity. “The muscles in your neck and scalp tend to stay contracted,” he says. “Pain and tightness develop on both sides of the head, in the forehead and at the base of the skull.”
7 ways to manage tension headaches
To prevent or to ease tension headaches, Dr. Bang recommends the following:
- Minimize stress: Try to avoid or limit stressful events.
- Take breaks: Limit the time you spend looking down at your phone. Take breaks on long drives.
- Adjust the way you sleep: Try sleeping on your back or on your side with a body pillow and your neck in neutral posture.
- Exercise and stretch: Use a therapy cane or a hard therapy ball to massage out or stretch your neck and shoulder muscles.
- Use over-the-counter medicines: Aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be quite effective for episodic tension headaches.
- Consider drug-free treatment: Try massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy or acupuncture.
- See a dentist: If you’re clenching your jaw and getting headaches, look for a dentist knowledgeable about temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. “The right mouth guard can really help,” says Dr. Bang.
Dr. Bang points out that the good thing about drug-free treatments is that any side effects (increased soreness, stiffness or bruising) go away on their own.
What about rubbing your temples when a tension headaches starts to build — does it help? “Muscle tension varies, so rubbing on your temples may not bring relief,” says Dr. Bang. “But rubbing on the tender spots, or trigger points, in your neck and shoulder muscles can help.”
If tension headaches don’t go away after trying these suggestions, it may be time to look at the psychological stress in your life, he notes.
90,000 Painkillers can cause headaches – Rossiyskaya Gazeta
In Russia, about 20 million people suffer from migraines.
This disease is not life threatening, but makes it painful. In most patients, headaches are so severe that people temporarily lose their ability to work.
When doctors carried out a comparative assessment of the quality of life in patients with migraine, coronary heart disease, hypertension and diabetes, it turned out that the worst of all the situation is with those suffering from headache.Even if migraine attacks occur only twice a month, then in a person of active age (between 15 and 45 years), at least two years are, as it were, deleted from life.
Therefore, it is no coincidence that in the list of diseases compiled by the International Headache Society (there is such a thing!), Migraine is in the first place, and the World Health Organization (WHO) included it in the list of 19 diseases that most violate the social adaptation of patients.
Although migraine has haunted humanity since the time of Julius Caesar and Pontius Pilate, who suffered from headaches, it is still shrouded in myths to this day, since doctors have not yet found the exact causes of the disease, or one hundred percent methods of healing.The most common myths are:
1 Migraine is an exclusively female disease, and if sometimes it affects men, it is only genius. These headaches do affect women 3-4 times more often than men. And among the stronger sex suffering from migraines, there are indeed many big names – Peter I, Darwin, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Tolstoy, Freud, Chekhov … But in general, the disease affects people of both sexes, regardless of their mental abilities.
2 Migraine starts from bad wine.The phrase “Chateau Migraine” has come to mean bad wine, allegedly contributing to the onset of migraine. But there is no scientific evidence linking migraine attacks to the quality of wine.
3 A migraine attack can be triggered by chocolate. Doctors did not find such a direct dependence. Although they recommend excluding cheeses, chocolate, nuts, fish, citrus fruits, smoked meats, bananas from the diet during the attack. More unambiguous factors that can cause migraines are stress, hormonal causes, certain medications (oral contraceptives, drugs that dilate blood vessels), changes in the weather, bright lights, loud noise.
4 Migraine haunts people with a bad character. It is difficult to say if there is a direct connection here. It is clear that regular pain attacks add few people to a good mood. Migraine sufferers are really distinguished by increased excitability, a tendency to depression, resentment, stubbornness, irritability.
5 There is no cure for migraine. Conventional analgesics really do not save you from these headaches. But some patients are helped by long-term (within 6-7 months) use of aspirin in small doses.But here you need to consult a doctor. And in general, the treatment of migraine should be carried out by a doctor, taking into account concomitant diseases. After all, special anti-migraine analgesics have already been created – triptans, which have an effective and safe effect. However, these drugs have a number of limitations. The drugs should not be used, say, in patients with severe ischemic heart disease (for example, angina pectoris or myocardial infarction), with arrhythmias, uncontrolled arterial hypertension.
Another common type of headache is the so-called “tension headache” (HDN). Doctors named it that way because for a long time it was believed that HDN was caused by fatigue and spasms of the frontal, temporal or occipital muscles. But in the end, research has shown that this is completely unnecessary. Often, muscle cramps are just a consequence of a headache. Therefore, it is so important not to endure, but to try to quickly get rid of it.
But try not to overdo it with medications.After all, oddly enough it may sound, drugs themselves can cause headaches. This even applies to pain relievers.
Medical sites warn: “drug-induced” headaches can provoke excessive doses of sodium metamizole (analgin), aspirin, triptans, etc.
Dangerous abuse of combined drugs that combine codeine with caffeine and paracetamol. They effectively suppress pain, but with frequent and excessive use, they stop relieving attacks and even intensify them.
Doctors advise not to get carried away with sedative drugs (Corvalol, Valocordin). Indeed, with constant overdoses, they are also capable of causing headaches in the truest sense of the word. And we have to wean the body from them already in stationary conditions, gradually canceling the drugs.
In untreated cases, the headache at first sharply aggravates (following the withdrawal of the medication), but after a month it passes.
Physicians have compiled a short questionnaire that allows you to quickly understand whether a patient’s headache is a migraine.Try to answer whether your headache has been accompanied by the following symptoms in the past three months:
1. Nausea or vomiting?
2. Intolerance to light and sounds?
3. Did your headache limit your daily activities, work or school for at least one day?
If you answer “yes” to at least two questions, then with a probability of 93% it can be argued that your headache is a migraine.
How to get rid of a headache?
The morning was greeted with joyful chirping of birds.A fiery disk of the sun rolled uncompromisingly across the pale blue sky, exuding an unthinkable heat that inexorably penetrated all corners of the city. The concrete walls exuded heat, and the asphalt began to float from under his feet. However, it took the mighty forces of nature only a few minutes to change everything. Suddenly the wind rose, which drove low heavy clouds. They seemed to press down the already thick hot air of the metropolis, and after a minute of calm, the sky burst into large raindrops. Very soon everything was closed by a solid wall of water – the downpour did not want to subside.It would be nice to calmly watch the whims of nature through the window, enjoying iced tea, or, for example, joyfully run through the puddles, not paying attention to the fact that you are soaked to the skin. But you have no time for this – it’s as if an invisible executioner had put his head in a vice, and the torture can last for hours. Summer this year turned out to be rich in serious heat mixed with thunderstorms, therefore, perhaps, this state will seem familiar to many. After all, quite often a sharp change in the weather outside the window is accompanied by attacks of headaches.Why does it appear and how to get rid of it?
In order to find the answer to this question, you need to understand what type of headache is bothering you. It is not always a sign of any disease. The first type of headache is primary. It includes tension pain and migraine. However, in some cases, it can be a symptom that indicates the development of diseases of the nervous system (tumor, traumatic brain injury, infectious diseases). Therefore, if the headache appears often enough and has an increasing character or is localized in a certain area, it is imperative to consult a doctor.
As for the primary headache, almost everyone is familiar with it firsthand. So, according to scientists, it is noted by 79–85% of people in the world (Kolosova OA et al., 1994). And so it was from ancient times, as evidenced by the interest of our ancestors to this symptom. Headache was described by the ancient Sumerians more than 5 thousand years ago. Hippocrates and Avicenna did not ignore this phenomenon. At different times, Julius Caesar, Isaac Newton, Ludwig van Beethoven, Charles Darwin, Frederic Chopin, Alfred Nobel, Guy de Maupassant, Richard Wagner, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud and many other famous people suffered from severe headaches.
Tension headache is most often noted in our turbulent times. So, among all pains, it accumulates 88% in women, and 69% in men (Kolosova A.O. et al., 1994). It occurs mainly in people between the ages of 20 and 40. As the name suggests, it is caused by tension – emotional or muscular. Emotional stress can arise, for example, as a result of a conflict at work, quarrels with loved ones and because of any other unexpected troubles.In addition, excessive muscle tension associated with a prolonged forced uncomfortable position of the head and neck, for example, when working at a computer, at a summer cottage, while driving a car, can lead to the appearance of a headache. Environmental factors, such as sudden changes in weather conditions, strong odors or noise, can also have a significant impact on the appearance of a headache. A crazy pace of life, constant stress, work to wear, a complete lack of opportunity to rest and relax, disconnect from daily worries and problems can also cause chronic headaches.
Tension headache manifests itself as heaviness, stiffness in the form of a hoop around the head. The pain can be felt as squeezing, discomfort, but is rarely throbbing or shooting. Often, tension headache patients complain of a feeling of pressure around the eyes.
Migraine is manifested as one-sided (right or left) throbbing pain, which may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness. At the same time, the other side can get sick every time. During the period of an attack, any sensations of the patient are perceived as pain, hence the photophobia, intolerance to strong odors, noise.
Symptoms of migraine were known to the healers of Ancient Egypt. The first description of this disease belongs to the ancient Greek physician Areteus of Cappadocia. In his book On Acute and Chronic Diseases, he described in detail migraine, calling it heterocrania (from the Greek heterokrania – another, alien head). The name, which belongs to the authorship of the ancient Roman physician Claudius Galen, has survived to this day. He called this type of headache hemicrania (from the Greek hemi – half, half and cranion – skull), thus emphasizing its characteristic feature.From the ancient Greek language, the word was borrowed by the Romans, who transformed it into hemicranium, and then by the French. They began to call a headache localized on one side of the head migraine.
But whatever the reasons for the appearance of a headache – a sharp change in weather conditions, a change in climate, stress at work or overwork, noisy events and strong smells – it must be dealt with. After all, life does not stand still and you cannot press the “STOP” button to wait until the headache passes.This is especially true for migraines, because discomfort and negative emotional experiences during an attack completely pull a person out of everyday life.
Prevention is better than cure, of course. For example, you can reduce the likelihood of developing a migraine attack by following a special diet, you should also try to exclude cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits, nuts, red wine and beer from the diet. In addition, good sleep is of great importance, an important guarantee of which is to ensure proper conditions (for example, you can use ear plugs, special glasses or masks that protect from light, etc.)etc.). It is also useful to avoid strong smells and noise. Tension headache can be prevented by avoiding the factors that cause it. In addition, during periods of chronic stress, you can take mild sedatives with the advice of your doctor.
But what to do if it was not possible to avoid an attack? Of course, it is best to see a doctor. However, in most cases, patients with headache seek help from a pharmacist. What to advise when asking “something from the head”?
In this case, patients need the earliest elimination of the factor that causes them discomfort – headache.Analgesics (acetylsalicylic acid, paracetamol) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are quickly helping to relieve tension headaches, the latter are widely used due to their analgesic properties (Bronstein A.S., 2001). NSAIDs such as diclofenac, ketoprofen, or ibuprofen can be used to relieve headaches. It should be noted that ibuprofen has a more favorable safety profile compared to other NSAIDs (Rainsford K.D., 2009) and with the analgesic acetylsalicylic acid, as well as a lower risk of overdose compared to paracetamol, therefore it is recommended as the first line of therapy to eliminate pain syndrome (Moore N. et al., 1999). In addition, NSAIDs can be used both for localizing tension headaches and for prophylactic purposes. However, drug abuse (more than 10 doses per month) should be avoided, as this can lead to increased frequency (chronicity) of headache. It should be noted that for chronic pain it is advisable to use drugs with a quick release of the active substance (ibuprofen retard, ketonal retard, diclofenac retard).
As for migraine, NSAIDs, analgesics and triptans are also used to eliminate pain syndrome (Filatova E.G., 2009).
You don’t need to endure a headache, fight it and win!
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90,000 HEADACHE: to heal or “let it go by itself”?
There is no person who never, not once in his life would have a headache.Taking painkillers in this case is the fastest and often most effective way to solve this problem. When is the moment when you should stop self-medication and see a doctor?
• If the head hurts 3 times a week or more
• If taking “usual” painkillers no longer brings relief
• In case of acute and intense headache (it hurts as badly as never before in my life)
• If the headache is accompanied by weakness in the arm and / or leg (usually on one side of the body), transient loss of vision, speech, sudden loss of memory (in which a person loses orientation in space for some time and forgets where he is is and what it does).
In such cases, it is necessary to immediately consult a doctor and undergo a serious examination, including ultrasound examination of large vessels, ECG, EchoCG, clinical blood analysis, urine, blood sugar, detailed blood tests with determination of lipid profile, tendency to thrombus formation, computer or magnetic resonance imaging brain tomography.
Headache can be the first symptom of a wide variety of diseases: hypertension, vegetative-vascular dystonia, renal and endocrine pathology, brain tumor, stroke, etc.e. Today 45 diseases are known, accompanied by headache. Timely diagnosis and adequate therapy for these conditions will improve your well-being and maintain your health.
It should be noted that headache is not a painful sensation of the nervous tissue of the brain, since there are no pain receptors in it. It occurs as a result of exposure to sensitive areas located in the head and / or neck: the skull (periosteum), muscles, nerves, arteries and veins, subcutaneous tissue, eyes, sinuses and mucous membranes.The method for treating headache depends on the identified disease or the cause of the symptom.
Separate mentions of recurrent headaches, reminiscent of the description of a migraine clinic, appeared more than 5000 years ago. In the XIX-XVI centuries BC, descriptions of headache attacks were also found in Babylonian literature, which was compared to a flash of lightning. For the first time, hemicrania, which is accompanied by vomiting and poor health in general, was described in the Ebers papyrus as “a disease of half of the head.”The first classification of headaches called “De Cephalalgia” was developed by Thomas Willis in 1672. In 1787, Christian Baur divided all headaches into idiopathic (primary) and symptomatic (secondary), and also identified 84 categories of headaches. At the end of the 19th century, in the book “On migraine headaches and other similar diseases” by Edward Living, a differential difference between migraine and other, similar in clinic, headaches was shown. The clinical symptoms of cluster headache were described by Harris in 1926, but the priority of describing the disease belongs to Ryder (1924).In 1939, Horton also described the clinic for cluster cephalalgia, but unlike Harris, he regarded it as erythromelalgia, and then as histamine cephalalgia. Later, this condition was referred to as Horton’s syndrome. For the first time, Ekbom pointed out the similarity of these conditions in 1947, and since 1952, at the suggestion of Kunkel, the disease is called “cluster cephalalgia”. In 1962, at the National Institute of Diseases of the Nervous System, the Headache Committee introduced a new definition of headache, and also developed a classification of cephalgia and prosopalgia, which existed for 26 years.In 1988, the International Headache Classification Committee introduced a new classification of head and facial pains, which is still used today. The second version of the classification, published in 2004, has been approved by the World Health Organization.
Classification of headaches
According to the International Classification of Headaches (2nd Edition), all headaches are divided into two large groups: primary (migraine, tension headache, cluster (cluster) headache and other trigeminal autonomic (autonomous) cephalalgias, other primary headaches) and secondary headaches (associated with head and / or neck trauma, vascular lesions, infections, homeostasis disorders, mental illness, etc.)reasons). Cranial neuralgia and unclassified headache are separately identified. There are other classifications of headache. So, according to the mechanism of occurrence, the headache is classified into 6 types: vascular headache, muscle tension headache, liquorodynamic headache, neuralgic headache, mixed headache, psychlgia (central headache). In all this diversity, I would like to dwell on some types of headaches that we encounter most often, namely:
– tension headache;
– cervicogenic headache;
– headache associated with increased blood pressure;
– abusal headache.
Tension headache (TH) is the most common type of primary headache. Episodic HDN occurs in more than 70% of people; chronic HDN affects 1-3% of adults. HDN often begins in adolescence, mainly among women (there are two men for every three women). The peak incidence occurs at 20-39 years. The mechanism of HDN development is associated with stress or musculoskeletal problems of the neck. Attacks of episodic HDN usually last for several hours, but can last for several days.Chronic HDN can be continuous and interfere with normal functioning to a much greater extent than episodic HDN. HDN is characterized by: bilateral localization, compressive / pressing character, pain intensity from mild to moderate, headache does not worsen from normal physical activity, absence of nausea or vomiting, photophobia or phonophobia may be present. The pain is usually monotonous with minor fluctuations in intensity throughout the day. It is often described by patients as a feeling of pressure, tension or constriction around the head like a “helmet” and is much less often presented in the form of pain itself, sometimes extending to the neck or starting from the neck.In some cases, patients report short episodes of acute, unilateral piercing pain. Often, patients with HDN associate the appearance of painful episodes with stress. The occurrence of episodes of HDN after physical and mental fatigue is just as often noted. Irregular eating and disturbance of sleep and wakefulness are characteristic provoking factors, although factors such as strong odors, smoke, bright light and meteorological factors rarely act as provocateurs of HDN episodes.In the chronic form of HDN, it often occurs at night or in the morning upon awakening. The diagnosis of HDN is made on the basis of the analysis of complaints (the nature of the headache) and the history of the disease (the connection between headache episodes with negative emotions, chronic stress, prolonged postural overstrain). Examination in patients with HDN reveals tension and soreness of the pericranial muscles. Considering the great role of muscle-tonic syndrome in the pathogenesis and chronicity of HDN, the treatment of muscle tension should be one of the most important tasks of HDN therapy.Therefore, along with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants must be included in the treatment regimens for this group of patients. In the presence of emotional and personality disorders, sedatives and antidepressants must be added. In patients with a combination of HDN and migraine, which is often found in clinical practice, it is possible to use triptans. However, in these cases, the patient should be taught to distinguish between episodes of HDN and migraine attacks. In this group of patients, acupuncture, relaxation training, and post-isometric relaxation are effective as preventive measures.
Migraine is manifested by stereotypical attacks of one-sided pulsating headache, which is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, photo- and phonophobia. The duration of a migraine attack varies from 4 to 72 hours. In many cases, seizures occur as a result of exposure to provoking factors, the most common of which are: stress, disturbances in sleep and wakefulness, menstruation, jet lag, food (cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits, eggs, smoked meats, etc.).) and drinks (red wine, beer, coffee). There are two main forms of migraine: migraine without aura and migraine with aura. Migraine without aura occurs in 80% of all migraine cases. Many patients can experience migraine attacks with or without an aura. Quite often there are attacks of “aura without headache”, which, unfortunately, are often not recognized and not diagnosed. Migraine treatment includes two areas: treatment of a migraine attack and prophylactic treatment in the interictal period. Treatment of a migraine attack is divided into: 1) nonspecific – these are simple analgesics – paracetamol; combined analgesics – combinations with caffeine, short-acting barbiturates; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – aspirin, ibuprofen, indomethacin, diclofenac; drugs for relief of accompanying symptoms; 2) specific therapy is triptans – sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, nonselective agonists of 5-HT1 B / 1B receptors – ergotamine, dihydroergotamine; auxiliary agents – metoclopramide, domperidone; combined drugs – difmeter.Prophylactic drug treatment is prescribed to all patients and is aimed at reducing the frequency of occurrence and severity of headache attacks. When choosing a pharmacological agent, individual characteristics of the patient, characteristics of seizures, and the presence of comorbid disorders are taken into account. For the prevention of migraine attacks I use β-adrenergic receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, antiepileptic drugs, antidepressants, nootropics, venotonics, riboflavin (vitamin B12), coenzyme Q10, thioctic (α-lipoic) acid.Non-drug treatment methods are effective for migraines: acupuncture, relaxation training, behavioral therapy.
The prevalence of cervicogenic headache (CBH) among patients with chronic headaches is 15-20%. CHP is observed mainly in middle-aged people, is 4 times more common among women and has a significant tendency to chronicity. CGB, as a rule, affects representatives of “sedentary” professions, as well as those who, in the process of work, often have to throw their heads back or work with their heads down.The onset of CHP in most cases is preceded by a prolonged forced position of the neck and head, as well as awkward neck movements associated with overextension or sharp rotation. Other provoking factors are sleep in an uncomfortable position, hypothermia, drafts, stress. Speaking about the mechanism of development of cervicogenic headache, muscle-tonic and vascular components should be distinguished. Damage to the cervical spine leads to impaired outflow along the vertebral venous plexuses and leads to the formation of central venous stasis.Also, irritation of the autonomic plexus of the vertebral arteries plays a significant role in the formation of CHP. CGB is a unilateral headache that spreads from the cervico-occipital region to the anterior parts of the head. The intensity of the CHP is most often moderate, sometimes it can be accompanied by nausea, non-systemic dizziness, flashing of flies before the eyes, cervico-brachial pain. It should be noted that the one-sided nature of the headache is characteristic of the onset of the disease. When amplified, it can spread to the other side, but still dominates on the side of origin.Often, CHP is combined with other types of headache. The main objective sign confirming the cervicogenic nature of headache is musculoskeletal dysfunction in the cervicobrachial region. There is a shortening of the extensors of the neck, the descending portion of the trapezius, scalene muscles, a low level of training of the deep flexors of the neck and interscapular muscles. In chronic CHP, active trigger points are determined in the region of the sternocleidomastoid, scalene, belt, descending portion of the trapezius, levator scapula, subscapularis and supraspinatus muscles, as well as short extensors of the neck (short suboccipital muscles) from the side of the same name.In terms of examination, the doctor will prescribe an X-ray of the cervical spine with functional loads, Doppler ultrasonography of the vessels of the neck. Treatment for CHB includes non-drug and drug-based methods.
Its main goal is to eliminate functional musculoskeletal disorders that cause cervical headache, and thus prevent its subsequent episodes.
Patients are assigned training system . Its key stage is isometric strengthening of the local muscles of the cervicobrachial region – deep flexors of the neck and interscapular muscles. Postural and ergonomic retraining of the patient involves the exclusion of positions and movements that can lead to overstretching of soft tissue structures and mechanical irritation of the vertebral arteries. According to indications, wearing a Chance collar is recommended. Drug treatment includes the appointment of NSAIDs and central muscle relaxants (tizanidine, baclofen). In the presence of a vascular component, vasoactive drugs (nicergoline, vinpocetine, ginkgo biloba drugs), actovegin, nootropics are added to therapy, and in case of venous insufficiency, venotonic drugs (venosmin, detralex, normoven, venodiol).In the chronic course of CHB, depressive disorders can join; in such cases, antidepressants should be added.
Headache associated with increased blood pressure
With high blood pressure, the headache is dull, pressing, sometimes pulsating in nature with localization (most often) in the occiput. Patients with essential hypertension, as a rule, are already well aware of this character of headache, “feel” that the pressure rises.Therapeutic tactics in this situation is as follows: measure blood pressure, when it rises, take antihypertensive drugs (captopril, captopres, fenigidin, bisoprolol). As a rule, an increase in blood pressure is accompanied by emotional arousal, which, in turn, leads to a further increase in blood pressure numbers. Therefore, we recommend taking sedatives (corvaltab, valerian, sedistres, cardiolin). However, sometimes patients do not know and do not associate headache with an increase in blood pressure. They take painkillers, which to some extent alleviate their condition, but do not give a noticeable improvement in well-being, and most importantly, the cause of the headache (high blood pressure) is not eliminated, which in turn can lead to rather serious health complications.High blood pressure, untreated hypertension is the risk of heart attack and stroke. Therefore, when you have a headache, measure your blood pressure. If the blood pressure numbers are more than 140/90 mm Hg, you need to take antihypertensive drugs (drugs that lower the blood pressure numbers) and consult a doctor. The doctor will prescribe the necessary examination plan (ECG, Holter monitoring of ECG and blood pressure, dopplerography of the extracranial vessels of the head and neck, ultrasound of the heart) and the question of the need for regular intake of antihypertensive drugs will be resolved, the selection of the drug and the choice of dose will be made.There are a lot of antihypertensive drugs, which one you need and in what dose, the doctor must decide. As a rule, prescribing antihypertensive drugs alone is not enough to completely cope with the problem of headache in hypertension. Here you will need a course intake of vascular, nootropic drugs, venotonics, and in some cases, antidepressants.
Uncontrolled intake of analgesics (especially in combination with barbiturates, caffeine, some sedatives) can cause depression of own anti-pain brain centers and lead to the so-called abusus (drug) headache.With frequent headaches, it is important to remember: it is extremely dangerous to take pain relievers in large quantities and for more than 15 days a month, and combined analgesics – longer than 10 days. At the same time, there is no specific drug that provokes the development of this disease. The only thing that matters is the duration of use and the dose of the drug. Treating an abusal headache is a difficult task. First of all, it is necessary to completely cancel the medicine, the use of which caused this syndrome.But this should be done carefully and gradually, since abrupt discontinuation of the drug can increase the pain syndrome. Also, depending on the indications, the doctor will prescribe antiemetics, sedatives, antidepressants, and, if necessary, carry out rehydration and detoxification measures. It should be noted that the prevention of the development of abusal headache is facilitated not only by knowledge about the dangers of abuse of painkillers, but also, first of all, by timely diagnosis and adequate treatment of the patient’s pain syndromes.Headache treatment should consist not only of the treatment of a headache attack, but also of preventive treatment courses, lifestyle modifications, nutrition, moderate physical exertion. It is this approach that will allow you to cope with the problem of headaches, gain health and well-being.
The publication was prepared by a neuropathologist, Candidate of Medical Sciences – Balkovaya Nelly Borisovna.
90,000 10 best headache products
If you drink coffee in moderation, caffeine can really help with headaches
Photo: RUSSIAN LOOK
Pressure drops, windy days, rains and sun, replacing each other at machine gun speed, can cause a headache even in a healthy person.And I don’t want to swallow pills every time. We asked our expert, nutritionist Lyudmila Denisenko, is there any salvation in food? And it is, hurray!
You may be skeptical, but here is what the Indian doctor Batmanghelidj writes: “… chronic pain that cannot be explained by infection or injury should be interpreted primarily as signals of chronic dehydration in the area of the observed pain. This is a kind of indicator of thirst. Chronic pains include dyspepsia, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and accompanying constipation, intermittent claudication syndrome (pain in the legs when walking), migraine and hangover headaches, pain in the lower back, and anginal pain (pain in the heart when walking and even in a calm state) “.
And we have already written about how useful water is. You see, it even helps with headaches! So try to drink at least two liters a day.
This large striped berry, like water, will help you “watered” your body. Other foods with a high water content (cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, etc.) help no worse than watermelon. But watermelon also contains a large amount of useful minerals that we lose during dehydration: magnesium and potassium.
Potassium really helps relieve headaches. And there is a lot of it in potatoes. Moreover, boiled or baked in a uniform.
One medium baked potato contains almost three times more potassium than a banana. In addition, banana peels contain tyramine, which, on the contrary, provokes cramps, so carefully remove the white veins from the banana pulp. There is especially a lot of tyramine in the peel of overripe, darkened bananas.
4. Pumpkin seeds.
And these delicious pumpkin babies contain magnesium. Recently, it has often been included in pain relievers. Pumpkin seeds are also one of the best sources of zinc and phosphorus. Together, these minerals normalize the activity of the brain and visual apparatus.
It contains less magnesium than pumpkin seeds, but still quite a lot. In addition, this overseas nut contains vitamin B2. It is recommended to use it for migraines.
6. Fatty fish.
Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and help reduce the frequency and severity of chronic headache attacks. In addition, oily fish is an excellent source of vitamin D. There is a theory that chronic headaches are caused by a calciferol or calcium deficiency. This theory places particular emphasis on “hunger” pains, those that occur if the break between meals is too long. And calcium, which also relieves headaches, is better absorbed with vitamin D.
One of the best sources of calcium. If you feel that your head starts to hurt, and before dinner, oh, if not soon, chew a little of these seeds.
Ginger can relieve headaches due to its anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties. It will also help stop a migraine attack – when you feel the approach of a headache, try drinking a cup of ginger tea.
9. Chili or cayenne pepper.
The alkaloid capsaicin, contained in hot pepper, effectively affects the transmitters of signals to the brain from nerve endings. And it helps to reduce the intensity of pain. In addition, capsaicin increases the production of specific substances that block pain. Pepper is also able to reduce high blood pressure.
If you drink coffee or black tea in moderation (no more than a couple of small cups a day), caffeine can really help with headaches, especially if the pain is associated with pressure fluctuations.It’s no coincidence that many pain relievers contain a small dose of caffeine. It helps the body absorb these drugs faster.
But, we repeat – only on condition of moderate use. The more coffee you drink per day, the higher the chance for it to turn from a “drug” into a provocateur.
Oh, you provocateurs!
The most common “food” headache comes from foods that contain tyramine. This organic matter is formed during protein breakdown due to aging of the product.That is, the longer any protein food is stored (especially cheese), the higher the tyramine content in it. It can raise blood pressure and even cause vasospasm. Products with a high tyramine content, in addition to cheese, also include smoked meat, red wine, canned food, onions, avocados, homemade products (pickles), and chocolate.
In addition, excessive consumption of foods containing omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in large quantities in vegetable oils, can provoke a headache.Are you surprised? After all, it would seem a useful substance! But these acids are increasingly called the cause of inflammatory processes in our bodies. Intensive consumption of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic and arachidonic acids) with food leads to the fact that they accumulate in the cells of the nervous and immune systems, alter their metabolism and cause an increase in headache. That is why nutritionists constantly remind – yes, vegetable oil is important, but it is best if you consume no more than one tablespoon in vegetable salads a day.
Therefore, if you notice that your head starts to ache after a certain meal, think about whether there was a cunning provocateur in your meal?
Is it true that acupressure will help get rid of headaches without pills
Acupressure is an acupressure technique that has come down to us since ancient China. Its essence lies in the effect on certain points of the body associated with one or another organ. Including the head.
In general terms, acupressure therapy looks like this.You have a headache – for 1–5 minutes you have massaged an area of skin, for example, on your arm – the pain is gone. Without any pills.
Sounds fantastic at first glance. But it seems to actually work. At least there really is scientific evidence for the effectiveness of acupressure.
What Science Says About Acupressure
There is little research on this topic. But the existing ones look very promising.
So, in one small work , scientists found out if acupressure can help four adults suffering from chronic headache.The patients underwent acupressure sessions 2-3 times a week for six months. The results appeared by the end of the first week: according to the subjective feelings of the participants in the experiment, the number and duration of headaches decreased.
After six months, the effect became evident and measurable: the number of headache attacks decreased from an average of seven incidents per week to two. And the duration was almost halved.
In another study, , researchers investigated how one hour of acupressure affects 21 women with headaches.The patients received acupressure every day for two weeks. Result: the head of all women began to hurt less often and not as badly as before.
In general, it makes sense to try acupressure. It is safe and can really relieve you of headaches quickly and for a long time. Consider only one thing: acupressure is an auxiliary therapy. If you are haunted by repeated or very severe bouts of pain, you should consult a physician.
Where are the acupressure points and how to massage them
Before starting the massage, create the conditions for this.
- Find a quiet place. This can be, for example, a bedroom or bathroom, where nothing will distract you.
- If possible, dim the lights and play soothing music for relaxation.
- Get into a comfortable position. Sit or lie on your back, relax.
- Breathe slowly and deeply.
Find an active point on the body: look where it is located in the picture and start feeling the skin. The desired place will respond to pressing with a light pain signal.
Here are five of the most famous points that are believed to be massaged to relieve or relieve headaches. You can try acupressure both independently and with the help of a loved one.
1. “Third Eye”
Photo: mapo_japan / Shutterstock
The name speaks for itself: this point is located on the bridge of the nose, clearly between the eyebrows.
Press firmly here with the index finger of either hand and maintain pressure for about 1 minute. Option: Massage third eye in small circular motions, being careful not to relieve pressure.
This massage is believed to help relieve eye strain and sinus pressure, common causes of headaches.
2. Hole in the bamboo
Photo: coka / Shutterstock
These paired points are found on the inner side of each eyebrow – where the bridge of the nose meets the browbone.
Using your fingers, press on both points at once. Maintain pressure for 10 seconds. Then let go and try again.
This type of acupressure also relieves sinus pressure and helps with eye fatigue.
3. “Gates of Consciousness”
Photo: VanoVasaio / Shutterstock
These paired points are located at the back, above the neck, at the very base of the skull – they are depressions on both sides of the spine, between the vertical muscles of the neck.
Press down on the gate with the index and middle fingers of both hands. Option: Clasp your hands at the back of your head and press your thumbs into the cavity at the base of the skull. Massage for 10 seconds. Then remove your fingers. Repeat after a few seconds.
This massage can relieve headache caused by tension in the neck.
4. Shoulder points
Photo: Albina Gavrilovic / Shutterstock
They are located approximately halfway between the shoulder joint and the base of the neck. You need to activate these points one by one: first the left one, pressing it with the index and middle fingers of the opposite (right) hand, then the right one.
Massage in circular motions for a minute. is thought to help relieve tension headaches.
5. “Connecting Valley”
Photo: Funstock / Shutterstock
This point is located on the skin bridge between the thumb and forefinger of each hand.Pinch the valley with the thumb and forefinger of the opposite hand and squeeze hard for 10 seconds. Then, being careful not to relieve pressure, draw circles with the pad of your thumb — 10 seconds in one direction, 10 seconds in the other. Repeat the procedure for the other hand.
This massage also helps with tension headaches.
This material was first published in December 2016. In November 2020, we updated the text.
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What is migraine? | Allegro
Migraine is one of the most common types of primary headaches.The term “primary pain” means that it is an independent disease, and it is associated with a dysfunction of the brain.
A migraine attack can last from 4 hours to 3 days. The pain can be so unbearable that a person is unable to do either work or everyday activities – any activity increases suffering.
Attacks are often caused by some provoking factors (triggers). 90% of people with migraine know at least one such “provocateur” of their own migraine.Most often it is physical or emotional stress (77%) and fluctuations in hormonal levels associated with the menstrual cycle in women (72%). Taking oral contraceptives can cause seizures. Occasionally, seizures cause head or neck injuries.
External factors should be singled out as a separate category of migraine provocateurs:
- loud noises and bright lights;
- substances with a pungent odor: perfumes, paints, household chemicals, etc.;
- Excessive consumption of products containing caffeine;
- unhealthy diet and skipping main meals;
- mismatch of the daily rhythm of a person with the natural daily rhythm, frequent change of the time zone during air travel (jet lag).
How do you know if you have a migraine?
The symptoms of migraine are easy to describe. A typical migraine headache is unilateral, often in the frontotemporal region of the head, intense, pulsating, aggravated by a change in body position, physical exertion. The pain is accompanied by increased sensitivity to bright light and loud sounds. At the height of pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, or, conversely, chills may appear.
However, some attacks can be mild in intensity, involve the entire head, or sometimes proceed without pain at all in the form of a migraine aura.
What is a migraine aura?
These are specific neurological disorders that precede a migraine attack. Aura describes about a quarter of people with migraines.
- Visual disturbances are the most common manifestations of the aura. These can be visual “special effects” when rainbow spots, stripes, luminous zigzags flash before the patient’s eyes, or areas of the visual fields fall out.
- Possible tingling and numbness auras in the hands and face.
- Less commonly, patients are faced with impaired hearing, smell, taste and coordination.
These sensations may vary in brightness, but they always disappear within a few minutes or an hour.
What is a menstrual migraine?
In women, migraines are often associated with the menstrual cycle. These attacks occur two days before the onset of menstruation or within three days after the onset of at least two out of three cycles. So menstrual migraine is described in the III International classification of headaches.With a “clean” menstrual migraine, attacks occur at the beginning of menstruation, and no more on any other days of the cycle. With menstrual migraine, attacks can occur on any day of the cycle.
What is the cause of a migraine?
It has long been thought that migraines are associated with the vessels that feed the brain and other structures in the head. It was believed that the aura arises from spasm of the arteries in the brain, and the throbbing pain is caused by compensatory vasodilation.
It is now known for sure that migraine is based on increased excitability of nerve cells in the brain (neurons). It is not known exactly how it arises, but heredity plays a significant role here. If both parents suffer from migraines, then it is very likely that the child will also have the disease. With an attack of pain, excitement from the affected brain cells spreads to neighboring neurons, then pathological pain impulses spread to large areas of the brain, including those responsible for pain.Thus, an attack of pain occurs. The hyperexcitability of neurons can be influenced by various provoking factors: certain foods (some types of cheeses, wines, coffee), physical and emotional stress, disturbed sleep and wakefulness or insufficient sleep, changes in hormonal levels during the menstrual cycle in women.
Prevention and treatment of migraine
Migraine, like any other primary headache, cannot be completely cured once and for all.Nevertheless, doctors can effectively relieve a patient from severe seizures, significantly weaken them, and make them more rare .
Treatment and prevention of migraine attacks are aimed at reducing the excitability of neurons.
The doctor prescribes treatment depending on the frequency, intensity and duration of the pain. This can be taking painkillers and other symptomatic drugs. Relief (interruption) of a migraine attack is considered effective if the headache has gone away or significantly decreased within two hours after taking the drug and did not return within the next 24 hours.The effectiveness of drugs for the relief of a migraine attack is compared precisely for this indicator.
What medications are used to treat migraines?
Triptans – a group of medicines specially designed to relieve migraine attacks. Currently, three triptans are available in Russia – sumatriptan, eletriptan and zolmitriptan. Triptans are prescription drugs that are selected by a doctor taking into account concomitant diseases, contraindications, and a person’s lifestyle.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Before there were specific drugs for migraine – triptans – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were the main means of relieving an attack. The most commonly used drugs from this group are: ibuprofen, naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac, aspirin. In Russia, analgin (metamizole) was often used for migraines, which is prohibited for sale in most countries of the world because of its side effects.
Treatment of a migraine attack with combined painkillers.
Combined pain relievers (analgesics) – drugs that contain two or more active substances in a tablet or capsule. However, now they are rarely recommended because of the risk of developing an abusal headache.
Abuse headache is a complication of excessive intake of painkillers.
Excessive use of painkillers can itself cause headaches.This diagnosis is made when a person has been taking regular pain relievers for 15 or more days a month for the past three months. And if we are talking about combined painkillers (drugs such as spazmalgon or citramone), then it is enough to take them only 10 days a month for three months to get an abusal headache.
To get rid of an abusal headache, it is necessary to give up the uncontrolled intake of all painkillers.
Another method of treatment is behavioral psychotherapy. The idea is that a person’s feelings, thoughts and actions directly affect the state. Stress can trigger an attack. The goal of therapy is to change a person’s behavior model, to teach him to adequately respond to stress.
How do I relieve an attack myself?
A migraine attack can be predicted and prevented by taking the medication prescribed by your doctor on time. If there is a feeling of an imminent attack, you need to quickly eliminate annoying factors: turn off the TV, telephone and other sound sources, close the curtains tightly, provide fresh air and go to bed.A massage of the temporal zone with essential oils and soothing herbal teas helps to relieve suffering.
According to the international standard, the diagnosis of migraine, like most types of headache, is made based on the results of a consultation with a neurologist, no additional research is required. That is, the diagnosis of headache in most cases is made only on the basis of the story of the patient himself and the examination of the doctor.
As a patient, what can you do to make your visit to a specialist the most effective? Describe in detail the history of your headaches.It is recommended to keep a diary of seizures – record their date, start time and duration. This tactic helps the doctor understand what triggered the pain and choose the right treatment.
Migraines are difficult to heal completely, but they can be controlled. If the patient wants to live fully and actively participates in treatment, he has every chance to achieve an improvement in his condition and an increase in the quality of life.
You can consult with a specialist and make an appointment by phone or via the online form on the website of our clinic.
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Headache with increased pressure
According to WHO statistics, every third person on Earth has high blood pressure. This unpleasant symptom can be either an independent disease (hypertension) or a consequence of another disease (arterial hypertension). Most often, older people complain of high blood pressure, but young people can also have high blood pressure. There can be many reasons:
- Unhealthy lifestyle, bad habits and unhealthy diet;
- Significant excess weight;
- Diseases of the urinary system;
- Lack of micronutrients;
- Vascular atherosclerosis;
- Taking certain medications;
Headache with increased pressure
Many people are used to thinking that high blood pressure is the cause of headache (cephalalgia). But this is just a myth. Most often, cephalalgia is caused by completely different causes, for example, vasospasm, prolonged psychological stress, stress, as well as some diseases: heart, neurological or vascular.
A headache can become a manifestation of increased pressure, if at the same time you feel that the head is squeezing, the discomfort intensifies when bending over, the pain is accompanied by nausea or the flashing of “flies” in front of the eyes.
In addition, it happens that a surge in pressure provokes cephalalgia of a neurological nature – in this case, pain is caused by damage to the trigeminal facial nerve. The pain is sharp, sharp, shooting.
If the pain has arisen sharply, accompanied by a feeling that blood has rushed to the face and neck, dry mouth, fever or cold sweat, numbness of the extremities – this may be a sign of a hypertensive crisis. Never ignore a sharp headache – it can be dangerous.Call emergency help urgently!
Do not take pills on your own for headaches with high blood pressure! Even if you know for sure that a pressure surge is causing you a headache, there can be many mechanisms for its occurrence.
Usually, the doctor prescribes drugs from the group of analgesics, antispasmodics, calcium channel blockers, or selective beta-blockers. In some cases, diuretics are also recommended.With the withdrawal of the liquid, the pressure also decreases.
Preventive measures also deserve special attention.
Prevention of cephalalgia
Headache attacks, even with hypertension or hypertension, will bother you much less if you lead a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, there are only three basic rules:
- Get enough sleep, but don’t sleep too long. Both lack of sleep and excess sleep can trigger headaches.
- Adjust the power supply.Eliminate hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, deep fried meats, instant foods, foods that are too salty or spicy, and reduce your consumption of soda and industrial sauces.
- Keep Calm!
Stress and nervous tension are one of the main causes of pressure surges and the occurrence of cephalalgia. Avoid stressful situations, try not to cheat yourself, do not drive anxious thoughts in your head.In some cases, a course of taking a sedative drug gives significant improvement.
First aid for headache
If possible, lie down, close your eyes and try to calm down. If there is no way to take a horizontal position, just sit with your eyes closed in silence.
Place a cloth or towel dipped in cold water on your forehead and temples. You can also add 1 to 2 drops of soothing essential oils to the water. But don’t overdo it! A couple of drops are quite enough – too strong a smell can provoke an increase in painful sensations.
Massage your temples and back of your head, open a window, get some fresh air, drink a soothing decaf tea, such as herbal tea.
If attacks of cephalalgia recur regularly or you have noticed that they have become more frequent lately, call a neurologist or therapist. They can help you find the cause of your cephalalgia and help you overcome the pain.