Frequent headaches are such a pain. Not only are they agonizing, frequent headaches can also take a chunk out of your budget.
In times when cost savings are more important than ever, finding ways to treat your headaches for less can make a big difference.
1. Avoid Headache Triggers
The best treatment is always prevention. Of course, that is often easier said than done when it comes to headaches. One way to prevent headaches, however, is to identify what triggers them and practice avoidance. Keeping a headache journal in which you write down everything you ate, drank and what you did before you got a headache can help you pinpoint a cause. Some common headache triggers include abnormal sleep patterns, skipping meals, dehydration (see below), caffeine or alcohol and physical exertion.
2. Manage Stress
This also falls into the easier said than done category, but can be an important way to prevent and ease headaches. De-stressing is difficult for many people, but it starts with making a conscious effort. When you feel stress coming on, take a time out to have a cup of (decaf) tea or sit in a dark room and meditate for a few minutes. Put a warm or cold compress over your eyes and relax. Call up a friend or put on your favorite comedy. Laughter is a great stress reliever.
Deep breathing helps you release tension and increase alertness. It also increases the flow of oxygen to the brain, which can help relieve a headache. Slow controlled breaths where you concentrate on bringing the air into your abdomen are best. The Qigong (or Chi Kung) breathing exercises from China that use alternate nostril breathing are effective in reducing headache pain in some.
4. Try Natural Remedies
Certain teas and essential oils can manage headache pain. Natural remedies are often used holistically to treat the whole body rather than just the headache symptom. For example, peppermint is used both in tea form and as an essential oil to treat headaches. Peppermint tea helps with digestive system, which can sometimes trigger headaches. Peppermint essential oil (about $5 for a half ounce bottle) massaged into the temples can help relax and ease muscle tension that can also cause headaches.
5. Stay Hydrated
Believe it or not, dehydration is a main cause of headaches. So make a point of keeping hyrdrated. Keep some water or sports drink with electrolytes handy and sip throughout the day to stave of a dehydration headache.
If all else fails, talk to your doctor about affordable over-the-counter medications. Aspirin is often best for headache pain because it has some anti-inflammatory properties. Overuse of pain relievers can cause serious side effects, however, so be careful.
The bad news is, unless there is treatable underlying cause, headaches usually cannot be cured. By working to find the right combination of medication and alternative treatment options, however, they can be controlled.