Yes, massages may seem luxurious, but they’re also incredibly therapeutic. Sometimes headaches result from tension in the upper body due to muscle strain from poor posture or a rigorous workout routine.
Massage therapy may be able to reduce chronic pain as well as ease muscle tension that causes headaches.
Take the time to research types of massage (Swedish, deep tissue, shiatsu, etc.) and get reliable referrals for a practitioner near you who can effectively address your specific pain points.
For muscle tension headaches, hot and/or cold compresses can offer relief. For the cold portion, place ice in a plastic bag covered with a thin cloth to avoid harming your skin. Place the ice pack on your forehead and/or cheeks, basically wherever the greatest source of pain is.
Just be sure to limit cold pack applications to no more than 10 minutes at a time.
For the hot portion, you can purchase a heat pack at most drugstores, or make your own using uncooked rice. Take a small pillowcase or piece of fabric and fill it about two-thirds full with uncooked rice. Sew or tie the open end together.
When needed, microwave the rice for one minute. Apply to the back of your neck or forehead for heated relief.
Aromatherapy is the study of how certain smells can trigger positive and even healing responses in the brain.
Some smells have been reported to soothe and reduce the incidence of headaches. These include peppermint extract, eucalyptus, and lavender oil. They are readily available at many local health food stores or online.
Acupuncture involves applying fine, sharp needles to key areas of the body as a means of promoting energy flow. It’s thought to stimulate the body’s natural pain-relieving compounds, and according to the National Institutes of HealthTrusted Source, has been shown to reduce headache frequency and severity.
Yes, breathing. You know, that thing you do all the time already! It may sound silly, but tension-related headaches can sometimes be relieved with regular breathing exercises that help focus your mind and ease your muscles.
Start by finding a quiet place with a comfortable chair in your home, office, or other location where you will not be distracted. Next, take slow, rhythmic breaths, breathing in for five seconds then out for five seconds. As you relax, your muscle tightness reduces.
You can also try a progressive relaxation technique by focusing on each major muscle group in your body. Start from your toes and work your way up.
Dehydration can contribute to a headache, but it can be easily avoided. Grabbing a good old-fashioned glass of water can help as much as an electrolyte-containing beverage such as Pedialyte, Gatorade, or Powerade.
But just as there are drinks that can reduce headaches, there are those that can trigger them.
Drinking too much coffee or too many caffeine-filled soft drinks can lead to headaches. So if you normally start your day with a Starbucks quad latte, you may want to trade it for a toned-down mixture of half caffeinated and half decaffeinated.
Alcohol, and particularly red wine, can also lead to dehydration that triggers headaches.