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I used to get really bad migraines. I remember the first time it happened. I was in the library doing research for a high-school paper when suddenly my hands went numb, I lost vision in one of my eyes and I completely forgot how to read. I saw the letters on the page but they made absolutely no sense. It freaked me right out! I went to the doctor and he told me that these were migraine symptoms. I was about 14 years old.
I don’t get migraines as often anymore, maybe twice a year, but I do still suffer from regular headaches. In fact, I’ve had one for the past 2 days now and I’m constantly looking for new things to try because I don’t like taking pills.
These are some of the things I’ve tried over the years and I’ve had some success with:
- Drink more water – Often headaches are a sign of dehydration. Make sure you drink enough water (at least 2 litres per dar) to avoid unnecessary headaches.
- Eat something – Your headache may be due to low blood sugar and simply eating some food may give you relief.
- Drink a cup of coffee – Coffee constricts the blood-vessel. I’m not a big coffee drinker (maybe a few cups per week), so this usually works well for me. I’ll drink a strong cup of black coffee and usually by the time I’m halfway down the cup, I’ll feel some relief. If you already drink a lot of coffee, it may not be as effective and it may actually make things worse with a caffeine headache.
- Massage Your Hand – Massage the meaty part of your hand between the thumb and forefinger. There are pressure points in this area that have been linked to headaches and headache relief. Massage with medium to hard pressure for several minutes and then switch hands.
- Acupuncture – Thin needles are inserted under the skin to realign the flow of energy, or qi, in the body. I have walked into an acupuncture treatment with a nasty headache and walked out with almost complete relief. Treatments can run anywhere from $60-$120, and may be covered by some extended benefit plans. I can recommend an amazing acupuncturist in Vancouver, feel free to contact me for his info.
- Massage – Rub your temples, shoulders and neck to relieve tense muscles and get the blood flowing. If this doesn’t relieve the headache, it still feels nice!
- Yoga – The combination of stretching, meditation and breathing can help relieve your headache. I do Bikram’s yoga, which is hot yoga practiced in 40 degrees celsius and 50% humidity. I’ve had great success in leaving my headache in the room when I practice. If Bikram’s is uncomfortable for you, try another form of yoga.
- Pay Attention to and Identify Triggers – I have several headache triggers that I do my best to avoid. I’m very sensitive to smells (mostly certain perfumes and colognes) and can be sensitive to some foods as well. One of my triggers is Strawberry Kiwi Snapple. Even just one sip will be enough to trigger a headache.
- Tiger Balm – Rub Tiger Balm on your temples and along your hairline. The cooling properties will help relax the muscles in your head and neck. Tiger Balm is magic! (I never travel without it.) An alternative with similar benefits is peppermint oil.
- Ginger Tea – Buy fresh ginger at the grocery store, crush it up and mix it with boiling water to make tea. Ginger reduces inflammation and I’ve found that it can work just as quickly and effectively as Advil or Tylenol.
- Sleep – Your body may just need to rest. If you are suffering from a migraine, sometimes all you can do is find a dark room, turn off all the lights and try to sleep.
- Exercise Regularly – Being active regularly helps reduce the frequency of stress headaches. I make sure I exercise at least three times per week to stay healthy, fit, and hopefully headache free.
Do you have any remedies to add? Please share in the comments below.