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How-To

How to Ease a Headache

Overwhelmed and feeling like there's a tight band squeezing your head? You probably have a tension headache. These remedies may spell relief.

 

In the Moment

De-stress
Tight muscles can cause pain; try a cold or warm compress behind the neck. Breath work (inhale for five counts, exhale for eight) can help change the way you perceive stress.

Brew Tea
A tea made from equal parts linden flower, chamomile, and lemon balm will help calm the nervous system.

Try Acupressure
Squeeze -- or ask a friend to massage -- the tender point between your thumb and index finger. Applying pressure for 10 minutes or so can ease all types of head and face pain.

Treat and Prevent

Work Smart
Sitting with your eyes directly at the computer monitor's height -- rather than looking up or down at the screen -- will stave off pain triggered by neck and shoulder tension.

Hydrate
Drink eight-plus cups of water a day and limit caffeine; dehydration can cause tension headaches.

Exercise
Regular activity (even something as simple as walking) increases blood flow and encourages the production of beta-endorphin, a natural stress reliever.

Address Chronic Pain

See a Doc
If you get headaches 15 days or more a month, have a specialist ID the cause, which can stem from nutritional deficiencies or food allergies. Find one at achenet.org.

Note What You Eat
Foods containing tyramine (found in red wine, beer, avocados, nuts, seeds, and chocolate) and tannins (tea, coffee, blackberries) can trigger trouble. Keep a food diary to help you see if foods are contributing to your pain.

Supplement
If you are deficient, taking magnesium or CoQ10 may help. Anti-inflammatory spices like ginger (try New Chapter's Ginger Wonder Syrup) can quell pain.

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