Actualizado: 29 de abr de 2020
Do you sometimes feel like trying to get rid of a headache, gives you a headache? Of course, you can always reach for a painkiller, but if you are trying to only use them as a matter of last resort, it’s a good idea to have a set of different tools to combat them on your own.
Before we look at what we can do to about them, we need to mention that there are many different types of headaches. Basically, we can say that there are primary and secondary headaches, and then each category include different types. Primary headaches are those with no underlying disease. In this category we find the most common headaches, such as tension headaches, migraines or cluster headaches for example. On the other hand, secondary headaches are a symptom of an underlying illness, and therefore the way of treating them will have to do with treating that underlying condition.
What I’m going to be talking about is therefore primary headaches. We must take into account that headaches can be caused by multiple factors, not to mention those that set off for no apparent reason. But some triggers are pretty clear to spot, like alcohol, lack of sleep, poor posture or stress.
I have always been prone to headaches and although I am of course no expert in the matter (please, look for professional medical advice if you suffer from serious headaches!), I would like to share with you what I do and pay attention to in order to avoid and treat headaches without using painkillers.
How to prevent headaches
Limit your screen time – this goes for TV too, not only phones and tablets.
Observe if you get a headache after ingesting a certain food – as a teenager I started to notice that I would always get a headache after drinking a glass of milk. That was a clear sign that my body couldn’t deal with lactose.
Watch your posture – this is huge! For me this is probably the most important one, because most of my headaches are tension headaches, which are triggered by my neck. Make sure you aren’t spending your phone time (or computer time) looking down on a screen. Picture the neck of a penguin. You want to avoid doing that with your neck by holding or placing your devices at eye level.
Stay hydrated – drink lots of water and reduce the intake of alcohol.
Air your living and working space – think of when you say “I need some fresh air” when you need a break to reload your batteries. Air is life! And with that I mean fresh air. Avoid smoke at all costs! It’s interesting to know that certain headache treatments include oxygen therapy.
Spend time outdoors – this is an easy way to reset our mood and, yes, air our system.
Move – you choose! Yoga, walking, swimming, cycling… Just move! You’ll actually check several points already mentioned by getting your body up and running.
Check your sleeping arrangement – are you comfortable with your mattress and pillows? It might seem trivial, but these are essential to have good night sleep and keep a good posture (yes, this is also important when sleeping!)
How to manage headaches
Make sure you have drunk enough water and the air in your living or working space isn’t stuffy.
Go for a walk – getting some fresh air and taking your mind off things might just be what you need. That’s an easy fix!
Massage yourself with relaxing oils - lavender works wonders! I like massaging some oil on my neck gently. If I feel acute muscular pain, then I reach for arnica.
Take a bath – this is my holy grail. If nothing else has worked, I draw a hot bath and use some salts or oils. Again, you can use something relaxing (like lavender) or good for muscular pain (like arnica). Once in the bathtub, my secret to get rid of my headache is to leave the neck floating in the water, making space by crossing my legs or hanging them out of the bathtub. I promise, no headache didn’t disappear after doing this. Water is so healing!
Rest – no wonder, if you are tired, stressed and full of tension, your body is telling you to take a break. Give yourself permission to do so!
Do gentle exercise – a gentle yoga practice, with a focus on the neck and shoulders, can be helpful when dealing with tension headaches. I would suggest not doing anything that creates pressure (like headstand), as you want to allow your body to release tension. Restorative yoga can also help, by allowing you to go into relaxation.
Meditate on your breath – although this won’t get the headache to go away, if it’s not a really bad one, you can at least let yourself feel other sensations that are happening at that moment, so you don’t focus so much on your headache.
I hope you have found these tips helpful. If you have other ways to treat your headache, I would love to hear them, so I can add them to my list! Don’t forget to share.