Tips for Headache Relief

Stressed-Caregiver-300x283.jpgWith all the chores that they do and the responsibilities that they shoulder, home caregivers may often find themselves suffering from headaches. In many cases these may be chronic — and that can make them seem never-ending.

For those home caregivers for whom a dose of aspirin isn't enough, here are some options to consider to prevent or relieve chronic head pounding.
  • Reduce salt. Many people consume too much salt in their diet; the typical American takes in 3 times the recommended daily allowance. Increased salt intake is associated with recurrence and severity of headaches, so eliminating excess salt may have a positive impact on headache issues for home caregivers.
  • Increase folic acid. Studies also indicate that folic acid (and its naturally occurring vegetable form, folate) can help prevent headaches. A folic acid supplement might be the way to go, but dietary changes can also play a role: eating spinach, broccoli, eggs, lentils, and other foods rich in folate can be a nutritious way to help ease headache pain.
  • Give accupuncture a try. Proponents of acupuncture believe that this ancient Chinese alternative medical treatment, in which needles are placed in specific pressure points, can have a positive effect on headache pain.
  • Take a hands-on approach. Body tension, not necessarily localized in the head, is a significant cause of headaches. Body massages are an excellent way to release and relieve that tension.
  • Stretch. Gently stretching the muscles in the neck and shoulders is another way to help release tension. Stretching exercises that do not call for excess range of movement are a good way to start.
  • Try yoga. Sometimes it seems like yoga is offered as the answer to all one's problems. But the range of exercises and the relaxation techniques associated with yoga do have a strong correlation with easing of pressures that cause head pain.
  • Ice it. Sometimes a pounding head responds well to the application of something cold. Putting an icepack to the temple area for a few minutes can provide significant relief. (If neck pain seems to be related to the headache, try putting heat on the affected area in the neck.)
  • Avoid triggers. Different people find that different foods "trigger" a headache; typical culprits are caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners. Identifying what foods or drinks bring about headache issues allows a person to avoid consuming too much of them.

Home caregivers have enough on their plate without having to fight through headaches as well. If the problem persists, seeing a doctor is a good idea.

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