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Fast Headache Relief

By on October 12, 2015

Have you been hit with a terrible headache at the wrong time? As if there were a good time, right? To get relief, many of us pop a pill to stop migraines or other headache pain but pills can quickly add up. If you’re concerned about how much over-the-counter medication you’re swallowing, there are other head pain relief strategies you should really try for yourself.  Here are five great ones!

 “It is easy to become reliant on drugs — we all live in a fast-paced nation, and there is little understanding when you miss obligations over a headache,” says Moshe Lewis, MD, a pain management specialist in Redwood City, Calif.

Acupressure.  Performed by a qualified practitioner, acupressure can bring relief for headaches and a variety of other pain-related conditions. Japanese culture and research explains that acupressure may work by stimulating the autonomic nervous system, which is why it may have an impact on headache and related conditions such as chronic neck pain.

Ice.  Applying ice or a cold pack to an injury is an age-old home remedy for all types of pain, and it may do the trick for migraines and other headache pain, too. Wrap your cold pack in a thin cloth to prevent your head from becoming too cold and apply it directly to your forehead. Lewis suggests sticking to just 10 minutes an hour, as needed, to keep your whole body from getting a chill.

A warm foot bath.  Soaking your feet in warm water may seem counter-intuitive to helping migraine pain. But from a relaxation perspective, Dr. Lewis says, it can sometimes do the trick for quelling head pain by taking your mind off it.

Dim the lights.  Sensitivity to light, or photophobia, is a common symptom for many people who wrestle with migraine pain. Simply relaxing in a low-light room can be helpful, straightforward advice, confirmed in a recent French study that demonstrated how high-light exposure can worsen the symptoms of an ongoing migraine, while lower light helps relieve them.

Restorative sleep. Not getting a good night’s sleep is tied to many health problems, including repeated headaches. “Maintaining a good and consistent sleeping pattern is helpful,” says Lewis. “I can guarantee myself a nasty headache just by going to sleep too late, even when I sleep in the next day.”

These quick fixes should work for the occasional pounding head. But  if you’re constantly plagued by headache pain, Dr. Lewis suggests a visit to a headache specialist. “There are many different causes of headaches, some of which can be addressed without drugs.” 



Wyatt Myers and Moshe Lewis MD, MPH, MBA contributed this article to healthyblackmen.org. Dr. Lewis is currently on the Volunteer Clinical Faculty of UCSF.


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