Headaches and migraines are a widespread problem affecting approximately 45 million Americans each year. These pesky aches and pains can be brought on by various factors, from sinus infections and stress to lack of sleep.
Often, the best cure is making lifestyle changes like improving your diet or getting more shut-eye. But when you need a quick fix, these long-term plans just don’t cut it. Luckily, there are plenty of fast and effective ways to relieve headache pain.
Read on to find out three ways to get rid of a headache quickly.
1. Heat and cold
Applying heat is a surefire way to ward off tension headaches while using ice is excellent for migraines. Use heat, apply a heating pad, warm compress, or hot towel to the neck or onto the back of the head. Jumping in a hot shower or bath can also work wonders, or merely immersing your hands and feet into a basin of warm water. For cold treatments, try an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel and pressed to the head and neck. Cold compresses or cold showers may also relieve pain. In both cases, be careful not to burn or freeze yourself. Follow the heating pack instructions and apply ice for no longer than 15 to 20 minutes continuously.
2. Stretching and massage
Headaches are often caused by tightness in the muscles and joints of the neck. These bunched-up muscles affect the nerves at the top of the spine, and the pressure goes on to agitate the back of the eyes and head. To stop this from happening, relieve headaches from the outside with light stretching and massage. Gentle exercises like chin tucks or shoulder rolls will effectively work away from the tension from your muscles. Lightly massaging the forehead, temples, and neck will also take away the pressure. Other handy headache cures include progressive muscle relaxation, acupressure, and yoga.
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of headaches. So it’s a good thing that it can be solved simply by grabbing a glass of water or an electrolyte drink like Powerade or Gatorade. Interestingly enough, small amounts of caffeine can also make headaches subside, mostly if the pain has just set in. Just take care not to overdo it, as overconsumption of caffeine daily can lead to withdrawal headaches when you try to kick the habit. Also, stay clear of drinks like alcohol that will dehydrate you even more. When hydrating, drink slowly and stick to a glass or two at first.
Headaches usually ease up on their own and do not necessitate medical attention. However, if your headaches are occurring more often than usual, you should see a doctor, feel more severe than usual, or disrupt your ability to function in daily life. If you experience a headache in conjunction with symptoms like lost vision or consciousness, uncontrollable vomiting, high fever, or partial paralysis, seek medical attention immediately.