Headaches can sometimes happen to the best of us. It often feels like our head is being pressed on all sides and that built up pressure is almost indescribable! You start to wonder if you may have migraine headaches and so when you go to the pharmacy and pick up some over-the-counter migraine medications. After taking it and within a short time, you feel a whole lot better! So you start to think…hmm, maybe what I had were migraine headaches!
But, are those headaches truly migraine headaches? Or is it something else?
What Are Migraine Headaches?
Migraine headaches can be mixed up with regular headaches often. Migraines differ from headaches in that one may also experience other symptoms which may include:
- Seeing flashing lights
- Blind spots or temporary vision loss
In these types of cases, migraine medications will help significantly. But let’s say worst-case scenario, you just happen to run out of migraine medications. You might feel like your life just flashed before your eyes (which adds further to the migraine headache), but here’s something to keep in mind.
If you really take a look at the active ingredients for migraine medication, you will usually notice 2 active ingredients:
- Sometimes, you might even see Ibuprofen
- and/or Aspirin
Do these ingredients actually look a bit familiar? Acetaminophen is the generic form for Tylenol and caffeine is what people use to stay awake through substances like coffee, Coca-Cola, or caffeine pill. This means as a backup if you do not have access to migraine medications at the moment, you can always make your own!
All you need is some form of a pain reliever and coffee/caffeine. Remember to try to match the dose as closely to the dose of the migraine medication you were previously taking. Now that you know this, you can remove a little stress off your shoulders. It would also be good to stock up on a bit more migraine medications to prevent such an occurrence from happening.
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If you do NOT have the accompanying migraine symptoms with headaches, then what you most likely have are regular headaches, or tension headaches.
What Are Tension Headaches?
Tension headaches are typically the regular headaches most often caused by high stress. The good news is that these are temporary and will most likely go away on its own. But if you have it at the moment, you probably don’t have the patience for that and you probably want it to just go away as quick as possible, so what are ways to get rid of it?
What Can One Do to Relieve Tension Headaches?
Of course, over-the-counter migraine medications can help. But there are also other ways to alleviate tension headaches too.
- Pain Reliever + Caffeine
- Like with the migraine scenario, you can make your own headache medication with some form of a pain reliever and caffeine. Keep in mind though that this is ONLY a temporary fix. Caffeine will definitely reduce the headache, BUT, if you have taken it for too long of a period and stop? The pain will return again.
- Reduce stress levels
- Take a break from what is causing you stress often. Do things that you enjoy.
- Get a good night’s sleep
- This will ensure that you have full energy the next day because that is the time when your body will recover.
- Take part in exercises/stretches regularly
- This help to keep your muscles warm and strong. It also regulates your mood and stress levels.
- Apply heat
- This will keep the muscles warm and stretchy.
- Staying hydrated
- This is probably the most important one. Substances like coffee (contains caffeine) is a diuretic which means it will make you lose MORE water. This will leave your body dehydrated and lead to muscle tightness. By staying hydrated, it helps keep your muscles lubricated and in good health.
You can perform something called a nuchal massage on your own. The source of the headache is typically the area where the back/base of the skull connects to the neck and there is a ligament that connects the two together called the nuchal ligament (in addition to other neighboring muscles). When that area becomes too tight from various forms of stress, it will lead to pain.
What you can do is to find that spot where the back and base of the skull connects to the neck and massage that location. I would also try to get the whole neck and upper shoulders because there are muscles that extend that far from the neck.
When muscles are tight and there are spots that hurt, it does NOT only mean that only that spot is tight but rather, that whole entire muscle is tight. It just so happens that the one painful spot happens to have taken the most toll from the tightness. Click here to learn more about muscles.
Headaches, in any form, can be one of the worse things for anyone to have to experience. Some experience it more than others. But there are many methods available to help alleviate one of that discomfort, both medicated and natural ways. Hopefully you can now manage your headaches better now!
Did you enjoy this life hack on how to relieve headaches? Please leave a comment below!