Headaches are probably the most commonly experienced body pain. However, for some people, this can be chronic pain that is experienced on an almost daily basis. Such headaches and migraines can affect a person’s quality of life and overall health as well. In such cases, medication is often not preferred as it can have side effects in the long run and can make the body dependent on them. Four effective alternative therapies that can ease headaches are:
- A Massage: Massaging the temples or the neck and shoulder region can help relieve a headache temporarily. Regular massages can also help reduce the frequency of headaches and their intensity.
- Stretching Exercises: Tensed muscles can also trigger headaches. Thus, exercising the neck muscles to relax them can help relieve this pain. An easy way to stretch your neck is to move it up and down and side to side slowly. Alternatively, you could shrug your shoulders up and down as well as forwards and backwards. When stretching your muscles, hold a position for about 5 seconds and repeat each exercise 3 to 5 times.
- Meditation: The more you think about a headache, the more it pains. Thus by relaxing the mind through meditation, you can help relieve some of the pain. A relaxed mind can also produce more endorphins and hormones that help relieve pain. The best time to meditate is in the early morning and the simplest way is to sit cross-legged and focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale.
- Hot and Cold Therapy: This form of therapy can be used by anyone including pregnant women. For pain in the neck region, applying a heat pack can be beneficial while an ice pack can help relieve a pulsating headache. An ice pack lowers the internal body temperature and soothes the artery that supplies blood to the lining of the brain thus relieving the throbbing sensation.
In addition making a few lifestyle changes can also help prevent headaches. These include
- Maintaining a regular routine of eating and sleeping at the same time every day.
- Exercising for at least half an hour on a daily basis
- Quitting nicotine and alcohol
- Finding an effective way to reduce stress
- Avoiding factors that might trigger a headache. Keeping a diary can help you identify factors that trigger a headache
- Taking only the medication prescribed by a doctor and not self-medicating
- Get adequate sleep and rest. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Pain Management Specialist.