Wednesday, June 24, 2009

10 Quick Headache Cures

1. Drink iced coffee

Both ice and caffeine are vasoconstrictors, meaning they'll help the throbbing vessels in your head shrink down and may provide fast relief. (Sometimes people who drink caffeinated beverages regularly get a withdrawal headache when they drink less than their usual amount, so this remedy can be especially helpful to those folks, too!)

2. Remove your head gear

If you're wearing a hat, headband, helmet, ponytail holder -- even goggles or sunglasses -- try taking them off (when it's safe to do so, of course). Tight accessories can cause something called external compression headaches, which are more common in people who have migraines. Simply removing the offending gear is the best remedy.

3. Try acupressure and massage

Applying pressure to the acupressure point in the webbing between your thumb and index finger may be helpful in easing the pain of a headache. Gently pressing the back of your neck with three fingers on each side can also help provide relief.

4. Grab an ice pack

Applying an ice pack to the back of your neck has been shown to ease the pain of a migraine.

5. Drink some water

A common symptom of dehydration is a headache. Drinking water can often provide the only relief you need.

6. Get some sleep

Lying down in a dark, quiet room is the best remedy for many migraine patients. Noise, bright lights, and odors can make a migraine episode much worse.

7. Practice relaxation

Meditation, yoga, and biofeedback can help to ease tension headaches and prevent headaches triggered by stress. (One quick trick is to relax your jaw and take a few deep breaths. A clenched jaw can be a headache trigger!)

8. Try aromatherapy

Some studies have shown that peppermint oil may be as powerful as over-the-counter pain relievers in the treatment of tension headaches. Try dabbing a little on your temples and the back of your neck. (Eucalyptus oil is another popular remedy, but studies have found it less effective.)

9. Take over-the-counter (OTC) drugs

Aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen can all be helpful in treating a headache, especially when taken early. (Read labels carefully: Many OTC medications have "migraine" versions that are suprisingly no different in their formulations. Don't pay extra for different packaging when you may already have these drugs at home.)

10. Get a prescription

Prescription headache medications usually fall into three classes: abortive drugs, which are used to stop a headache once it begins; preventive drugs, which are used to prevent a headache from happening; pain relievers, which are used to minimize the pain of a headache but do not actually stop it. (Pain relievers are often all that is needed for tension headaches.)

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