Headaches are more than just painful and annoying. They can be distracting, causing you to miss out on daily life and ruin your work ethic. Luckily, most headaches have a non-threatening cause that you can identify and correct naturally.
Here are a few common headache causes and how to get rid of them.
Stress is one of the most common causes of headaches. In fact, studies have shown that every 10% increase in one’s stress levels resulting in a 4.3% rise in migraine occurrences and 6.3% increase in the frequency of tension headaches.
Think about it, when you’re stressed out you start to feel a physical impact. Often this physical reaction includes stiffness in the neck and shoulders, causing direct tension on the suboccipital muscles of the neck, which are under the back of the skull.
The stress hormone, cortisol, is also connected to headaches though perhaps not in the way you might think. Cortisol is meant to reduce pain during times of stress. Rather than directly causing a headache, it is thought that the headaches are caused by the letdown effect after the cortisol dissipates.
In the case of stress headaches, the best treatment method is prevention. While you can’t always prevent stressful situations, you can practice different relaxation methods to help negate the physical effects.
Mindfulness exercises like deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, and meditation can help reduce stress. Breathing techniques, in particular, are an easy exercise to keep in your stress management toolkit. During times of stress, remember to pause and take deep breaths until you feel calm.
Stress isn’t the only cause of tension headaches. If you work a desk job or have to spend long periods of time bent over, you may be prone to tension headaches, similar to those caused by stress.
Putting a constant strain on the suboccipital muscles can cause stiffness and tension, resulting in headaches.
Try to make adjustments to your workspace or take breaks to stretch your shoulders and neck. If that isn’t an option, make time for stretching at the end of each day. Try sitting erect and pulling your head backward to give your suboccipital muscles a good stretch.
If you are unable to offset the muscular pain through stretching, you may require deep tissue massage, which often falls under health insurance coverage plans.
Many people of the developed world fail to drink enough water. Even mild dehydration can have debilitating effects.
Anyone can suffer varying effects of dehydration, depending on their water consumption, the climate in which they live, and their activity levels. Athletes who do not drink enough water to offset the water and electrolyte they lose during exercise will experience more intense symptoms of dehydration than those who are mostly sedentary.
The simplest solution for combatting dehydration is to ensure you drink enough water throughout the day. An arbitrary recommendation is to drink 8 cups (64 ounces) of water daily. Of course, this is just a generalized recommendation, and the requirements vary based on factors like age, weight, and activity level. At the very least, it is a good goal to start with.
Dehydration is about more than water loss. When we sweat, we also lose electrolytes. The loss of potassium and sodium, in particular, can have a negative impact on our ability to function.
Saying Goodbye to Headaches
Taking medication for common headaches doesn’t fix the cause. That being said, if your headaches persist or develop into migraines, you should seek medical advice to ensure they are not signs of a deeper or life-threatening issue. Preventing headaches will ensure you handle everything the universe throws at you while living life to the fullest.