I have a 5-point plan of attacking a headache and you won’t find Advil, Motrin, Alleve, Tylenol or Excedrin as one of the bulletpoints.
When I was much younger, I suffered from sinus headaches, which morphed into migraine headaches when I was in my teens and early twenties. I know about headaches.
I still have them sometimes but these days, I treat them differently.
When I had those headaches of yore, I felt helpless, and had no idea how to deal except to pop a couple of pills and wait.
Now there are 5 things I do when I wake up with what feels like a mountain of resting against my head.
Water: The first way to attack a headache (and almost anything else) is to drink water. Lots of water. Flush the toxins out of your body by flooding your system with water. Not juice, not caffeine, not a smoothie. Just water.
The body is a system and when something is out if whack, the entire system tries to overcompensate. Water helps with blood circulation, to move fresh blood supply to sore muscles and stressed joints and frayed nerves, to heal and renew them. And honestly, sometimes the reason your head is hurting is that you are dehydrated, your body is begging for water and the head pounding is the only way your body thinks you will listen.
Exercise: Have you ever started a new exercise routine or amped up intensity way high and a few days later, you feel that dull ache somewhere your body. When that happens, without fail, that ache always makes it’s way to my head and stays there. Like it’s set up camp. It’s the kind of ache that makes your head hurt when you try to switch sides in bed, the kind of headache that makes your head feel heavy. But as bad as it hurts, the only thing that helps (me) is to exercise those same muscles. It’s the lactic acid that’s built up in my muscles that I’m sensitive to. And so for me, the problem is also the solution – my headache starts and ends with exercise.
Stretching: stretch those muscles, loosen them so the lactic acid can be released. Enough said.
Massage: sometimes the pressure points just need to be relieved. And you don’t always need to pay a masseuse. Use a golf ball for tired soles, or foam roller on calf and thigh muscles or just press the pads of your fingers on the muscle that feels tight.
Rest: I could survive on just a couple hours sleep per night for a few nights, consecutively. But after about a week, I’ve used up all my reserves and I get an ache at the base of my head that a swift head massage doesn’t treat, because the pain is internal, not external. That’s when I know I need to sleep. So I turn the phone off so no alarms or texts or email notifications can disturb me. I turn the AC on so I can get the room cool enough, I put a glass of water by my bed so if I wake up thirsty, I don’t have to go far for a drink. And I sleep until I wake up naturally.
What do you do for a headache? Are you into natural remedies or do you reach for a bottle of pills?
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