- How to get rid of a headache or migraine in just TWO minutes
- Self-help tips
- Quick and Easy Tips for Getting Rid of a Migraine
- Place a cold pack on your forehead
- Unclench your jaw (and get a mouthguard)
- Relax in a quiet and dark room
- Drink a cup of coffee
- Lie down with your head on a book or another hard surface
- How To Get Rid Of A Headache Without Medicine
- 1. Water
- 2. Try Ice or Hot Pack
- 3. Niacin (Vitamin B3)
- 4. Almonds
- 5. Ginger Root
- 6. Peppermint
- 7. Add Pressure
- 8. Slip into Darkness
- 9. Acupuncture
- 10. Meditation
- 11. Massage
- 12. Stretching
- Preventing headaches
- Managing headaches
How to get rid of a headache or migraine in just TWO minutes
A YouTuber has shared his rather unusual method for getting rid of a headache or migraine – and people are swearing by it.
Kamil, who posts through YouTube channel Kamil’s View, says he can cure your pain in two minutes with just three questions.
In his online video tutorial he repeats the questions several times – claiming by the end of it, the headache should have disappeared.
In his video, seen more than 1.7million times, Kamil says: “I’m going to ask you a few questions, and I will ask you those questions a few times.
“Every time I ask you the question I really want you to have a look and answer the question.”
YouTuber Kamil says he can cure a headache in 2 minutes (Image: PA)
After instructing the viewer to think about their headache he asks: “Where is your headache?
He then follows this with “What colour is it?” and “What shape is it?”
After repeating the questions four times he says: “By now it should be gone.”
Kamil’s asks: “Where is your headache? What colour is it? and What shape is it?” in his video (Image: YouTube/Kamil’s View)
While the method may come across as unorthodox thousands of people are swearing by it.
Itscrazyhols wrote: “Omg it works thank u I liked your vid.”
JourneyWithJC1 wrote: “Are you a wizard? It worked!”
And SweetestHoney861 wrote: “I’m pleasantly freaked out.”
Explaining how the method works in a separate post, the self-labelled life coach said: “Most headaches are actually created by you – by your own mind.”
Kamil suggests anyone who didn’t find the method worked to repeat it a few more times (Image: YouTube/Kamil’s View)
He said this could be through “stressing too much” or it may be made up as an excuse to get out of something.
He adds: “So if you take your attention away from this, the brain gets the message that you’re aware of the headache and then you start dissolving it.”
He also suggests anyone who didn’t find the method worked to repeat it a few more times.
If the video hasn’t worked for you Kim Jones has some innovative tricks to try and help soothe it…
1. Use a book as a pillow
To ease a tension headache originating in the “suboccipitals” – small muscles connecting the neck and the back of the head – lie on your back with your head on a book or telephone directory, like a pillow, advises osteopath Christian Bates, of the Perrymount Natural Health Clinic ( theperrymount.com ).
He says: “Adjust the edge of the book so it lays on the knobbly part on the back of your head. Now tuck your chin down towards your chest. This can lengthen and stretch these small tight muscles and bring headache relief.”
2. Assume a smarter phone position
Christian says: “The average head weighs 10-12lbs and recent research has found that the poor posture we assume when texting means that the forces exerted on our neck and spine reach 60lbs – the equivalent of having an eight-year-old on your shoulders.”
This neck tension can lead to so-called cervicogenic headaches, and in some cases to a condition called Occipital Neuralgia, where the nerves that run from the base of the neck up through the scalp become inflamed.
Read more:Beat back and neck pain with our guide to 24-hour protection from aches
Christian suggests: “To avoid text-neck headaches , sit back and upright when using your phone.
“Hold it up to eye level and be aware of keeping your head up in a straight line.”
3.…and breathe… (deeply)
“Most of us breathe far too shallowly,” says pilates expert Lynne Robinson, founder of bodycontrolpilates.com
It can mean that the supply of oxygen to blood vessels in the brain is reduced, which can result in headaches.
A few moments of deep breathing improves circulation and can ward off a headache.
Lynne says: “Try sitting tall and place your hands on your ribs. As you breathe in, focus on the back and sides of your ribs expanding. Breathe out completely and feel your ribcage closing. Repeat.”
4. Wear a dental guard
Do you wake up with a dull, constant headache? It could be caused by night-time tooth grinding (bruxism).
Dr Dawn Harper says: “A comfortable dental guard protects against night-time teeth grinding by cushioning your teeth and keeping them apart in the most natural position.”
Try DenTek Maximum Protection Dental Guard, £25.99, Boots .
5. Let your hair down
A study at The City of London Migraine Clinic found that more than 53% of women experienced a headache from wearing a ponytail.
It’s thought that they may strain and irritate connective tissues in the scalp. Either loosen your ponytail or let your hair hang loose.
6. Relax your tongue
Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth, hold it for a few seconds, then relax it so that it falls into the bottom of your mouth.
“This takes the pressure off the jaw which can cause headaches,” says osteopath Danny Williams, from South Yarra Osteopathy.
7. Sniff an apple
In a study from the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, people with migraines who sniffed the scent of a green apple experienced a drop in pain.
It’s thought the smell might reduce muscle contractions in the head and neck, which can lead to pain.
8. Cool it!
A study at the university of Kiel in Germany found that peppermint oil applied to the forehead helped to numb the pain of a headache.
Try Tiger Balm White, £4.39, Holland & Barrett , which contains menthol. Simply smooth over your forehead every 30 minutes.
9. Press here
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommends acupuncture for tension headaches.
Try some of the techniques using acupressure – applying finger pressure to certain points in the body.
For a sinus headache, apply pressure with your fingers to the points at either side of the crook of your nose at the tips of your eyebrows, suggests Justine Hankin, from the British Acupuncture Council ( acupuncture.org.uk ).
10. Write numbers… with your nose
Lynne Robinson says: “This simple pilates exercise can help mobilise the neck and ease some of the more common types of headache, such as those caused by tension.
“Lie on a mat on your back with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart and parallel. Take a few breaths into the back and sides of your ribcage.
“Now imagine an upright figure eight and draw the shape with your nose. Repeat three times, then change direction.
“Then imagine the figure eight on its side. Trace again with your nose three times before changing direction. Finish with a gentle chin tuck, drawing your chin down and lengthening the back of your neck. Keep your head in contact with mat.”
11. Wear an electronic headband
A small headband that applies electrical impulses at the centre of the forehead onto the trigeminal nerve (implicated in migraines) could stop you popping painkillers.
In a Belgian study, 38% of patients who used the Cefaly headband (£249, cefaly.co.uk ) reported at least a 50% reduction in migraine frequency and a 37% reduction in the amount of medication they took.
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1. Keep a diary to identify triggers, says Dr John Janssen, consultant neurologist at Re:Cognition Health www.recognitionhealth.com . Record factors including the duration, medications that have and have not worked, severity of headache, menstrual cycle (if applicable), the location and type of pain, symptoms (vomiting, noise / light sensitivity) and the ability to perform tasks e.g. not being able to walk, work, restricted vision etc.
2. Review key lifestyle factors that may also be playing a part in the onset of a migraine including diet, alcohol, caffeine, dehydration and exercise. “Whilst there are no foods that have been scientifically proven to help cure or prevent migraines, it is advised to avoid the ‘C’ foods: coffee, carbonated drinks, Chianti (alcohol in general), citrus, cheese and chocolate,” explains Dr Janssen. The key thing is to stay hydrated.
3. Review your painkillers: Taking a lot of painkillers can paradoxically end up making the situation worse by causing medication overuse headache so consult your GP. They can check for abnormality of the nervous system, neck tension, blood pressure and eye examination to make sure there is no evidence of raised intracranial pressure. They will be able to review your diary and help with working out a pattern.
4. Eat at regular hours: “Women in particular going through the phases of the menstrual cycle or changes in their lives (pregnancy or menopause), seem to experience a higher recurrence of headaches and migraines. To balance your hormones eat at regular hours, include lots of protein and whole grains, and limit your sugar intake to prevent sugar highs and lows,” suggests Dr Marilyn Glenville, Nutritionist and women’s health expert ( www.marilynglenville.com ).
For help, advice and support Migraine Action – www.migraine.org.uk. The Migraine Trust –
Spotting the signs of serious illness
Headaches are extremely common and most of them aren’t a cause for anxiety.
Occasionally, though, a headache is a symptom of a serious illness, such as meningitis or a brain haemorrhage, and requires urgent medical attention.
Tension headaches are the most common type.
What are the causes?
About three out of four headaches are caused by tension in the scalp or neck muscles due to stress. Tension headaches tend to occur frequently and cause moderate pain, particularly at the back and front of the head. It’s often described as a tight band encircling the head.
Other common causes of headaches include hangovers, having irregular meals, long journeys, noise, a stuffy atmosphere, thundery weather, too much sleep, too much excitement, a fever, sinusitis and suffering toothache.
Migraine are one-sided severe headaches with eye symptoms and possibly vomiting. MIgraines can run in families.
Some headaches require urgent medical attention
A severe headache with fever, a stiff neck and rash may be a sign of meningitis, a condition in which the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord become inflamed.
A sudden headache that feels like a blow to the back of the head could be a subarachnoid haemorrhage, in which bleeding occurs between the membranes covering the brain.
In elderly people, a headache with tenderness of the scalp or temple may be due to temporal arteritis, in which blood vessels in the head become inflamed.
What might be done?
If your doctor suspects an underlying condition, you may require tests, such as CT scanning or MRI of your brain, and an opinion from a neurologist.
What’s the treatment?
Treatment depends on the cause of the headache. For example, a tension headache will usually clear up with rest, relaxation and painkillers.
Cluster headaches and migraines can be treated with drugs, such as Sumatriptan.
Excess painkillers, especially those containing codeine, can actually cause a headache.
I lose a day a month with a migraine
Callum Hodgson, 32, is an estate agent from Darlington in County Durham.
He says: “My migraines are a major inconvenience and I can lose one day a month to them. My first attack occurred on holiday in 1990 and caused severe abdominal pain with vomiting.
“After this, I started having migraines often, which settled in my teens, but have flared up again over the last 10 years and I now get one bad attack a month.
“It starts with nausea and extreme tiredness and then I get pain and numbness on one side of my head and light sensitivity.
“Normally it’s after a stressful day at work, or if I’ve skipped a meal or allowed myself to become dehydrated.”
Dr Dassan says: “Callum has classic migraines. Some simple lifestyle changes could help prevent attacks, including increasing hydration by drinking two to three litres of water a day, and avoiding coffee as caffeine can be a trigger.
“It’s also important to eat regularly and not skip meals. Finally, some small studies have found certain nutritional supplements can help, so are worth trying – especially for those not keen on prescription medication.
“The Migraine Trust advise the following doses, riboflavin (vitamin B2, 400mg per day), magnesium (600mg per day with magnesium dicitrate the best form) and co-enzyme Q10 (100mg, three times per day). Always check with your GP first.”
My period brings on an attack
Isabella Venour, 26, of London, works in public relations.
She says: “My migraines affect my job and many times have ruined big nights out with friends, which can be so frustrating.
“I’ve had headaches since my teens, starting around the same time as my periods. I get an attack around twice a month, normally a day or two before my period is due.
“I develop a black dot in my vision line, feel sick and get a throbbing pain, like a band across the front of my head.
“I sometimes get breathless with the pain, but try and manage it with paracetamol.”
Dr Dassan says: “Isabella seems to have menstrually-related migraines and in order to confirm this, I’ve advised her to keep a headache diary.
“There’s a strong association between female sex hormones and migraines and it’s largely down to the drop in oestrogen levels just before a period.
“Isabella is taking the progesterone-only pill, rather than the combined contraceptive pill (which contains both oestrogen and progesterone), but this is because she has migraine with aura (visual disturbance – in her case seeing a black dot) and evidence suggests that this puts her at higher risk of stroke, so she shouldn’t be prescribed a pill containing oestrogen.
“She could try taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen (she’ll need to check with her GP, as she also has asthma) before her period.
“Vitamin B2 and magnesium could also help.”
I used to bang my head on the wall in pain
Luke Scammell, 35, is a head of technology and lives in Sandwich, Kent.
He says: “My migraines mean I often have a constant background level of pain.
“When they get really bad I can’t do anything – I just have to curl up and wait until the pain goes away.
“They first started when I was five and were related to a dairy allergy I had then. I can remember banging my head against a wall the pain was so severe.
“Throughout my teens and twenties, the headaches persisted and I now have one or two headachy days per week – but I just push through the pain most of the time.
“Once every few months I get a really bad attack with pain on both sides of my head and vomiting. Lying still and sleeping helps, while drinking red wine can trigger them.”
Dr Dassan says: “These do sound like migraines and Luke’s mother suffers too which is a clue as they can run in families. Luke’s managing them with ibuprofen and in his own words ‘just soldiering on’.
“Given he’s having more than five intrusive headache days per month he may wish to start on a medication to prevent them occurring in the first place.
“There are a number of medications that can be tried and they need to be taken daily.
“These are prescribed medications and he would need to see his GP about starting one, but they could make a real difference to his quality of life.”
Menopause made my migraines worse
Joanne Batt, 51, is an operations manager and lives in Wimbledon, London.
She says: “Migraines have had a huge impact on my life since the age of 10. But over the last year I’ve experienced more frequent attacks, coinciding with me starting the menopause.
”They stop me functioning and mean I can’t look forward to things. I can go without one for a month, but then have a cluster of three or four within a week.
“I typically see a dot, which grows into a semi-circle and obscures my vision, then the pain comes on 15-20 minutes later and I feel sick and can’t bear bright light or noise.
“I take the anti-inflammatory naproxen when I have an attack, and have recently been given a preventative drug, topiramate, but it’s not working.”
Dr Dassan says: “Joanne had an MRI scan of the brain and upper spine which was reassuringly normal. But in view of the association with her migraines and the start of her menopause, it would also be a good idea to see a gynaecologist to check her hormone levels.
“Topiramate is traditionally an anti-epileptic medication, but is now approved by Nice (the Department of Health’s official guideline body) for migraine prevention (not for women of child-bearing age).
“The dosage could be increased to see if this helps. It’s also worth Joanne looking at her diet and sleep habits and trying some nutritional supplements.”
Quick and Easy Tips for Getting Rid of a Migraine
The searing and intense pain of a migraine can be completely debilitating — and if you experience these severe headaches, you’re not alone. The Migraine Research Foundation notes the illness is the sixth most disabling in the world, and over 4 million people worldwide suffer from chronic daily migraines. Not only that, but 90% of those who get them are unable to function normally when one strikes.
Many people who experience migraines don’t just get a severe headache, either. While throbbing head pain is part of it, others will experience nausea, visual disturbances, sensitivity to sound and light, and numbness in the face or extremities. Certain medications can help, but when you’re in a pinch, there are other non-medicinal tricks you can try to lessen the severity. Here are some quick and easy tips that can help.
Place a cold pack on your forehead
Woman with a migraine | kosmos111/iStock/Getty Images
When you’re in pain, should you use a hot pack or a cold pack for relief? The answer is that it all depends on what kind of headache you’re experiencing. When you have a tension headache, warmth is best. But WebMD says for migraines, try placing a cold pack (or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel) on your forehead for 15 minutes at a time.
Unclench your jaw (and get a mouthguard)
Whether you realize it or not, you may be holding a lot of tension and tightness in your mouth, which can lead to migraines later, WebMD notes. Take a minute to relax and massage your jaw with both hands. This likely won’t get rid of all of your pain, but it’s a good place to start (and it will help prevent them in the future). Also, consider the foods you’re eating when you feel a migraine coming on. If you’re chewing gum or hard, sticky foods that create tension in the jaw, choose softer meals.
Getting your migraines early in the morning? If you know you grind your teeth at night, ask your dentist about getting fitted for a mouthguard. This can make a world of difference.
Relax in a quiet and dark room
You’re probably feeling sensitive to light and sound when you have a migraine. One of the fastest and easiest ways to feel relief is to get away from these stressors, Healthline notes. Not only will lying in a dark and quiet room help your head pain, but it will also reduce your stress level, which may be making your migraine way worse without you realizing it.
While you’re lying down, also consider your breathing. Slow, deep breaths and other relaxation techniques can significantly improve migraine pain in a short time.
Drink a cup of coffee
A person pours some coffee. | Sasha_Suzi/iStock/Getty Images
There’s a reason many over-the-counter migraine remedies have caffeine, and that’s because it can provide real relief. If you don’t have Excedrin on hand, try relaxing with a small cup of coffee instead, Healthline suggests. Make sure you don’t overdo it, though. Relying too heavily on caffeine for relief may lead to caffeine-related withdrawals later on, which can only exasperate the problem.
Lie down with your head on a book or another hard surface
There’s a chance your migraine but actually be a severe tension headache. In this case, you may find it helpful to lie on your back with your head on a hard, elevated surface, like a book or a phone directory, osteopath Christian Bates tells Mirror.co.uk. You should adjust the book so that the knob-like area on the back of your head is resting against it. Tuck your chin toward your chest to lengthen the tight muscles in the neck and back of the head that may be causing your pain.
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How To Get Rid Of A Headache Without Medicine
We have all had those days when we feel weighed down by a persistent headache. These headaches can be so bothersome that they make even the most mundane and simple tasks feel daunting and impossible. Common causes of headaches include stress, tension, restlessness, sinus problems, migraines, lack of sleep and dehydration. Medical treatment may at times be necessary, but on other occasions alternative remedies can prove to be highly beneficial. Natural home remedies can provide you with instant pain relief that will leaving feeling like you can face the rest of your day purposefully. Here are 12 natural remedies that will help you get rid of a headache.
Apart from the ways to get rid of a headache, you may also want to know more about the headache you’re suffering from:
Tension Headache: Understanding Of The Most Common Headache
Cluster Headaches: How To Deal With The Worst Headache
Sinus Headache: Symptoms, Causes And Natural Reliefs
Mom Tips: How To Relive Headaches During Pregnancy
Often headaches are caused by dehydration. This type of headache can be treated by simply rehydrating your body. You can drink a glass of water when you first experience the symptoms of a headache and continue taking sips throughout the day. You may also like to try drinking a sports drinks. Sports drinks contain electrolytes which can help relieve tension and rehydrate the body. It is important to avoid drinks such as alcohol and coffee as these types of drinks can further dehydrate the body.
2. Try Ice or Hot Pack
If you have a headache that is caused by sinus problems, then a cold compress is a great solution. The ice pack, when placed on your forehead, will numb the area and thus stop the pain. You can make an ice pack by wrapping some ice cubs in a thin towel. You can also use a bag of frozen vegetables, but never apply ice directly on your skin. Hold the ice back to your head for a few minutes.
Using a heat back will help relax tense muscles, so if you are suffering from a stress headache then a heat pack is a great solution. You can apply a hot water bag to the back of your neck or you can fill a tub with hot water and put your hands in it for 10-15 minutes. If you suffer from chronic headaches, then you may want to make a habit of dipping your legs in a bucket filled with hot water for 10 minutes before bed. Hot foot bath can improve our circulation and remove the blockage in the nasal passage so it is especially useful for headache caused by sinusitis.
3. Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Niacin (Vitamin B3) rich foods are effective in the treatment of headaches and migraines. A study published by the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine in 2003 found that niacin facilitates blood flow to the head by expanding blocked arteries. Pain should subsite a few minutes after taking niacin. Niacin can be found in chicken, tuna, salmon, criminy mushroom, peanuts, barley, bulgur, whole wheat, sunflower seeds, green vegetable, liver and more. Niacin may also be taken as a vitamin supplement. Excessive intake of niacin can result in ulcer and liver problems so it should be taken carefully and only in moderate quantities.
Almonds act as a pain reliever as they contain salicin. Salicin is a pain blocker that is found in over the counter pain killers. Almonds are effective as a treatment for the pain experienced when you suffer from a headache and may also be used as a preventive treatment. You can try eating a handful or two of almonds when you feel a headache starting to set in.
5. Ginger Root
Prostaglandin synthesis is a process that takes place in humans. It involves the creation of lipid (Fat) compounds within cells. These fatty substances are like chemical messengers. They trigger biological process such as inflammation and alerting neurons to pain. Some drugs such as aspirin inhibit prostaglandin synthesis. Gingerroot is a natural substance that also inhibits the synthesis. In other words gingerroot can work to prevent the process that alerts your neurons that pain is present. Thus it stops our body from recognizing and responding when headaches occur. It can also help elevate feelings of nausea.
You can simply chew on a piece of ginger root or drink some ginger root tea.
Peppermint has calming and soothing properties that can aid in the treatment of a headache. Peppermint can be taken as a tea or you can use peppermint oil. Peppermint oil can be massaged gently into your temples, jaw and the back of your neck. In addition, you may like to inhale peppermint steam. This can be very beneficial and can also help with symptoms that often accompany headaches such as nausea and vomiting.
7. Add Pressure
When you feel the first inklings of a headache place a bit of pressure on your craniosacral system. You can do this by pressing with your fingers on certain migraine-specific spots. This can help your brain to rest and relax. By increasing pressure in the cranium tension that builds up in your brain is sent elsewhere.
8. Slip into Darkness
Light can prove to be very painful when you are suffering from a headache. Migraines (and headaches) are most often caused by sensory stimuli. Light is one such stimuli. Shutting out light can bring instant and dramatic relief. If you turn down the blinds or shut off a few lights in your room, you can help to reduce the pain of your headache. You may also like to wear a pair of sunglasses. These can be worn indoors and outdoors and they protect from both natural and unnatural light.
In acupuncture thin needles are inserted under the skin. According to Chinese medicine this is meant to realign the flow of energy (or qi) in the body. An analysis, known as a Cochrane review found that acupuncture is just as effective in preventing acute migraines as drug treatments. This review also says that the evidence suggests that acupuncture can help people with frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches.
There data on the effect of meditation on headaches and migraines remains limited; however, a small study of people with migraines found that spiritual meditation reduced headache frequency and improved pain tolerance.
It was reported: “Compared to the other three groups, those who practiced spiritual meditation had greater decreases in the frequency of migraine headaches, anxiety, and negative affect, as well as greater increases in pain tolerance, headache-related self-efficacy, daily spiritual experiences, and existential well being”.
Thus, you may want to invest energy in learning spiritual meditation as it may prove to be an effective way to prevent and treat the pain associated with headaches and migraines.
A study found that when they received six weekly massage sessions, people who suffered from migraines had less frequent migraines and better sleep, during the massage weeks and the following three weeks than the control group. You may like to try rubbing your temples or getting a neck, back, head or shoulder massage to treat your headache or migraine.
Specific headache-relieving stretches can help to relieve muscle tension that can be a big contributor to the pain. Here are some quick stretches you can try next time you feel a headache looming:
1. Neck range of motion (chin forward, upward, and toward each shoulder)
2. Shoulder shrugs (shrug up, up and forward, and up and back)
3. Neck isometrics (press palm into forehead and hold; press hand on each side of the head)
For the best results you should stretch twice a day for 20 minutes each time.
Try some or all of these headache remedies and you will be sure to get rid of a headache in no time.
Featured photo credit: Tiko Aramyan via .com
Scientific American presents Nutrition Diva by Quick & Dirty Tips. Scientific American and Quick & Dirty Tips are both Macmillan companies.
Crista posted a question on the Nutrition Diva Facebook page, wondering whether there are any alternatives to Tylenol or ibuprofen for headaches. “I get terrible sinus and sometimes migraine headaches,” she writes, “and I take WAY too much Tylenol/ibuprofen.”
There are several heavy-duty drugs that have been approved for the treatment of migraines and chronic headaches, as well as over-the-counter pain relievers, such as the ones Crista mentioned. But many headache sufferers would prefer to use drug-free approaches—and I don’t blame them. Prescription medications can be expensive and many of them have serious safety risks. Even over-the-counter drugs can have unwelcome side effects.
Here are my best tips for relieving headache pain without drugs. Next week, I’ll have some diet and nutrition tips that can help you prevent those headaches from starting in the first place.
Five Drug-Free Ways to Beat Headache Pain
A moderate dose of caffeine can also help relieve a headache (especially the type that cause throbbing or pounding) by constricting the blood vessels that go to the head. You can drink a caffeinated beverage or take a caffeine pill such as No-Doz. If you do take your caffeine in pill form, be sure to drink plenty of fluids with it. Although caffeinated beverages aren’t dehydrating, caffeine pills can be.
As a bonus, caffeine also enhances the effectiveness of over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin or Tylenol. In fact, one popular headache remedy (Excedrin) combines Tylenol, aspirin and caffeine—something to keep in mind if it’s close to bedtime. If it’s too late in the day for caffeine (or you don’t “do” caffeine), an icepack applied to the forehead or temples can also restrict blood vessels and relieve headache pain.
Although working out may be the last thing you feel like doing with a headache coming on, aerobic exercise can actually abort an impending headache, perhaps by stimulating the production of pain-reducing neurotransmitters. A stationary bike may be better than jogging because it avoids impact that can aggravate a pounding head.
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A headache is usually described as a throbbing, sharp, steady, or dull pain in the head. There are different types of headaches:
- Tension headaches usually cause pain that wraps around your head like a band. The pain can be more intense in the front or near the back of your head.
- Sinus headaches cause pain in the forehead, cheeks, and nasal areas. Sinus headaches usually have other symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose and your senses of smell and taste may be affected.
- Migraine headaches can cause a painful pulsing or throbbing in the head and may cause nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to bright light and sound.
You may have any or all of these types of headaches during breast cancer treatment.
Breast cancer treatments that can cause headaches include:
- Ixempra (chemical name: ixabepilone)
- mitoxantrone (brand name: Novantrone)
- hormonal therapy:
- Arimidex (chemical name: anastrozole)
- Aromasin (chemical name: exemestane)
- Evista (chemical name: raloxifene)
- Fareston (chemical name: toremifene)
- Faslodex (chemical name: fulvestrant)
- Femara (chemical name: letrozole)
- some targeted therapies:
- Herceptin (chemical name trastuzumab)
- Herceptin Hylecta (chemical name: trastuzumab and hyaluronidase-oysk)
- Herzuma (chemical name: trastuzumab-pkrb)
- Kadcyla (chemical name: T-DM1 or ado-trastuzumab emtansine)
- Kisqali (chemical name: ribociclib, formerly called LEE011)
- Lynparza (chemical name: olaparib)
- Ontruzant (chemical name: trastuzumab-dttb)
- Talzenna (chemical name: talazoparib)
- Verzenio (chemical name: abemaciclib)
- Tecentriq (chemical name: atezolizumab), an immunotherapy
Pain medications you may be taking along with breast cancer treatments also may cause headaches. When taken in large amounts, pain medicines can cause what’s called a “rebound” headache. When the pain medication wears off, the body has a withdrawal reaction, causing another headache. Long-term use of some pain medications can lead to low-grade headaches that don’t go away. Talk to your doctor about the correct dosage of pain medications.
Bisphosphonates, medicines that are used to protect bones during breast cancer treatment, also may cause headaches.
- Consider complementary and holistic techniques to help reduce emotional and physical stress that can lead to headaches. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation may help.
- Relax your entire body at intervals throughout the day focusing on your head, neck, and shoulders. Stretch your arms, legs, and back.
- Exercise a few times a week to keep your muscles flexible. Don’t go overboard — too much exercise sometimes can trigger headaches.
- Get plenty of sleep. Lack of rest can contribute to headaches.
- Don’t smoke — smoking can trigger headaches.
- Eat regular, healthy meals. Missing a meal can cause a headache.
- Make an eating and sleeping schedule and stick to it. A regular routine can help reduce stress levels.
- Avoid caffeine. While some medications that contain caffeine can help ease headaches, adding extra caffeine to your diet with soda, coffee, or chocolate can trigger headaches.
- Be aware of what triggers your headaches. Is it hunger? Stress? A certain medication? Keep a headache diary to track the time of day you get a headaches, the severity of the pain, and what helped ease it. Knowing what triggers your headaches can help you avoid them.
- Take medications as directed by your doctor.
- Use an ice pack on the affected area. Applying a cold pack or cool washcloth to your forehead, nape of the neck, or temples can help alleviate pain.
- Calm down and relax with a warm bath or shower, nap, or a stroll around the neighborhood.
- Relax in a quiet, dimly lit room. Sit or lie down, with your eyes closed to help release tension. Sometimes soft, relaxing music can help.
A headache can be a symptom of other serious conditions. If you’re having frequent headaches, talk to your doctor to figure out what’s causing them and how to treat them.
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Last modified on April 23, 2019 at 2:03 PM
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