Whether you suffer from migraines, tension headaches or the occasional run-of-the-mill headache, there are limits to the value of over-the-counter meds, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. While they may bring pain relief in the short term, doctors say that overusing such meds can induce more frequent headaches in the long run and may even leave the sufferer resistant to other treatments.
Chronic headache sufferers and medical professionals offer six holistic tips for getting the best of headaches.
- Stay Hydrated – Dehydration is a known trigger of migraines. Most people need about eight glasses of water per day, so be sure you are drinking enough.
- Kick Stress – Tension headaches brought on by stress typically involve muscle tension. Try closing your eyes and focusing on one group of muscles in your body at a time, such as your hands, feet or back. As you focus on each muscle group, take a deep breath, tense those muscles, then exhale and release the tension.
- Try a Massage – Massages are another way to release stress trigger points. Pressing on the temple areas or over the ears can help relieve bands of tight muscles. Or have someone massage the trapezius muscles in your shoulders.
- Take a Screen Break – One of the most common symptoms associated with digital eye strain is headaches. The American Optometrists Association recommends following the 20-20-20 rule: Take a 20 second break from your screen to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.
- Check Your Caffeine Intake – If you are accustomed to drinking coffee in the morning, omitting it can bring on a headache. On the other hand, too much coffee brings on a headache in some people. Morning coffee drinkers should have no more than two eight-ounce cups.
- Try Vitamin B2 – High doses of vitamin B2 have been shown to decrease migraines, according to medical reviews. Taking 400 mg per day of the nutrient, also called riboflavin, has had a positive effect on adult migraine patients.