I’m a Doctor and Here Are 6 Ways to Stop Getting Painful Headaches

Headaches are literally a pain and can be debilitating for sufferers.

People get headaches for different reasons, including stress and dehydration – but how can you prevent them?

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Having headaches can be uncomfortable, but there are ways to prevent themCredit: Getty

Dr. Earim Chaudry, chief executive of health platform Manual, explained that chemical activity in your brain can cause headaches.

He said: “Often it’s the nerves or blood vessels surrounding your skull, or the muscles in your head and neck that can play a role in headaches.”

Dr. Chaudry said there are several common causes of headaches.

He said these include emotional stress, infections, fever, head colds and dehydration.

“Fortunately, there are also several ways to relieve, treat, and even prevent headaches,” he said.

Here, Dr. Chaudry reviews six ways you can keep those pesky headaches at bay.

1. Don’t skip meals

If you skip meals for a long time, it can cause your blood sugar levels to drop, Dr. Chaudry explained.

In response to this, your body releases a hormone that signals your brain that you are hungry, and these same hormones can raise your blood pressure and constrict your blood vessels, causing a headache.

2. Better posture

It might not be the first thing you think of, but slouching at your desk or on the couch can cause headaches.

Dr Chaudry said: “Tension in the upper back, neck and shoulders can lead to headaches and usually the pain pulsates at the base of the skull and sometimes manifests in the face, particularly the forehead .

“Ideally you want to avoid slouched shoulders, sit in one position for a long time, and to help reduce headaches, take regular short walks.

3. Avoid triggers

Triggers can be different for everyone and Dr Chaudry said certain foods and drinks contribute to headaches and in particular migraines.

“These include processed foods containing nitrates, aged cheeses, pickled and fermented foods, salty foods, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate and artificial sweeteners.

“All of the foods and beverages listed contain certain chemicals that trigger functions in your body that can cause headaches.

“For example, salty processed foods high in sodium can raise blood pressure, causing headaches or migraine attacks,” he said.

4. Take medication

Although it may seem like an obvious thing to do, taking painkillers will work with your body’s cells, your body’s nerve endings, your nervous system, and your brain to keep you from feeling pain.

Dr Chaudry explained: “Studies show that aspirin is the best over-the-counter (OTC) medication for pain relief, and ibuprofen is also an extremely effective method of pain relief.

“Taking painkillers without food can irritate the stomach lining, so it’s best to take them with food or a glass of milk.

“If you find that you are suffering from severe headaches or headaches for several consecutive days, see your GP or other qualified healthcare professional.”

5. Take a break

If you’re not at your desk staring at a computer, you’re probably browsing your phone or watching TV.

Dr Chaudry said you should try taking a break from screens as they omit blue light which can disrupt your sleep.

He said: “The brain is wired to direct the eye muscles to constantly readjust the focus between the RPA and the front of the screen.

“Channeling where our eyes want to focus and where they should focus can lead to eye strain and eye strain, both of which can trigger a headache.”

He said if you find that you are affected by prolonged periods of screen time, blue light blocking products such as glasses and screen protectors will help reduce blue light exposure symptoms such as headaches, eye irritation and fatigue.

6. Exercise

Exercise helps keep the body and mind healthy and promotes better circulation, which can reduce your chances of triggering a headache, Dr. Chaudry said.

“Regular, moderate exercise will help, such as brisk walking or cycling for 30 minutes a day, especially outdoors to bring fresh air into the body.”

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