Headaches, now that is something we are all familiar with. Am, I right? Either we have headaches or we are a headache, like my next door neighbor (Oh snap they might be reading this. Just kidding!). Not to mention there are many different kinds of headaches, 150 to be exact. Yes, you read that right. And most of us get the most common type, stress headaches. But it isn’t always easy to know how to relieve stress headaches. So let’s explore the subject for a bit.
The most common types of headaches are:
- Stress or tension headaches – these headaches are more common in adults and teens and cause mild to moderate pain. They go away over time.
- Migraines – these headaches cause symptoms of nausea and light sensitivity. They are described by throbbing and pounding pain and can last anywhere from 3 hours to 4 days. I am a sufferer of migraines and must say they are the worst headaches I have ever had. They make it hard to function and as a mother, they interfere with my ability to care for my home.
- Sinus headaches – these headaches cause a severe pain in your cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of your nose. It is caused when your sinuses become inflamed. You often get this headache with other symptoms such as a runny nose, swelling in your face, and a feeling of fullness in your ears.
- Acute headaches – mainly children get these suddenly and they go away after a short period.
- Chronic Progressive headaches – also called inflammatory headaches, these headaches get worse and happen more often over time.
- Hormone headaches – these headaches occur with women during hormonal changes such as when they get their periods, or during menopause.
While there are many headaches we can talk about we are going to focus on stress headaches and how to relieve stress headaches.
The reason being is, the most common headache for adults are stress headaches(tension headaches). Women are twice as likely to get them as men. They are described as dull pain and a tightening type of pressure around your forehead or back of the neck.
They don’t feel good at all!
It can feel like someone is squeezing your head. On top of that, they can last from 30 minutes to a few days. Geez! If you have less than 15 days per month than they are labeled as episodic. More often than 15 makes them chronic.
Luckily, they do not affect your ability to function (like migraine headaches).
So What Causes Stress Headaches?
If you had to take one guess what do you think can cause stress headaches? If you said STRESS, you are right? Most of the time they are caused by stress; stress of work, school, family, and friends. Episodic headaches are usually caused by one single stressful event or a build-up of stress.
When the body is stressed the muscles can become tense. Some people get stress or tension headaches because of tightened muscles in the back of the neck. Here are a few ways muscle tension can happen:
- Lack of rest
- Low iron levels
- Bad posture
A few ways to relieve this muscle tension are;
- Massage it out
- Take an anti-inflammatory
A few common symptoms of these headaches include:
- Pain in the top sides back of the head that is mild or moderate
- Mild sensitivity to noise and/or light
- Muscle aches
- Feeling tired
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble focusing
- Difficulty falling asleep
How to relieve stress headaches?
It is best to catch headaches as soon as they start if you can. A doctor recommends making sure you take pain medication as soon as a headache starts. My doctor explained to me that the more severe the headache the harder it is to relieve it, in other words, the less likely the treatment you use is going to work. Since I don’t think it is good to take much medication (and many of us feel the same), prevention is the best benefit. Find what causes your headaches (your triggers) and eliminate or avoid them. Also, find ways to reduce stress in your home naturally.
Here is a list of some common headache trigger:
- Stress and anxiety
- Glare from bright lights including the sun
- Noise (So now you really can say,”Kids all that noise is giving me a headache”)
- Eating and sleeping patterns(like not eating enough or a hunger headache and not sleeping enough)
- Physical activity or overexertion
- Lack of physical activity
- Posture (“Sit upright young lady to keep the blood flowing” This is a true statement)
- Hormones – you may be more likely to have headaches right before your period.
- Food sensitivities – Triggers include aspartame, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, cheese and more.
Now that you know a few things that can be triggering those pesky headaches, let’s look at a few ways to help relieve them.
Here are a few ways to relieve your stress headaches when needed;
- Take a hot or cold shower
- Lay down in a dark room
- Place a warm or cold cloth on your head
- Learn relaxation methods: There are many different relation techniques to relieve stress including; meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and writing a journal.
- Over The Counter or OTC medications: Usually, the first method recommended by doctors, so consult a doctor before taking any treatments.
- Improve posture: Practice yoga poses to improve posture
Remember it is always best to prevent health issues before they happen. Try to avoid stressful situations that may cause headaches. Write a journal to try to figure out what may be causing your headaches(the foods you eat, the activities you perform). Then you will know what to avoid. Eat a healthy diet and find the time to exercise. As mothers, (and fathers) we have responsibilities to our family. Get healthy so you can live happily!
So what about you, do you experience stress headaches? What kind of headaches do you have most often? Or, do you have a special technique you like to use to get rid of a headache? I would love to hear about it.
If you have any questions about this post please feel free to leave a comment below. Any feedback is welcome!