Millions of people visit their doctor for relief from common headaches. In fact, this is possibly the most prevalent reason for people to see their doctors. Headaches come in a variety of types, intensity, and duration. Some are hormonally driven for women in relationship to their monthly cycles. Other types of headache pain may stem from sinus problems, medication use, or even food allergies. Stress, caffeine, and alcohol consumption may trigger head pain. Your head may ache on one or both sides, at the crown, or even around the neck and shoulder areas. There is no single source of headache pain, and they may even occur in clusters and form migraine patterns, including blurred vision, odd scents, and dizziness.
So what can a person do for a bad headache? The best thing is to prevent one, if possible. Start by keeping a small diary of when your headaches come, the circumstances surrounding them, and how long they last. Take note also of the things that make them seem better or worse, along with any treatment you use that is successful. Some headaches are illness-borne and thus cannot be avoided, but many are due to lifestyle issues that can be successfully managed.
For example, if your diary suggests that you often get a headache after eating Chinese food, you might be sensitive to MSG, a common ingredient found in Chinese dishes that sometimes causes headaches or other disturbances in certain individuals. Or, if you experience a headache upon arising certain times of the year, especially when sleeping with the windows open, you may have a sinus-related condition that will benefit from closed windows or medication.
If stress is causing headaches, learn what your triggers are and take steps to avoid them. It may be that dealing with an argumentative coworker often brings on one of your spells. Take steps to avoid that person or play down the conflict. When the opportunity comes up, ask for a transfer to another department. Take similar steps to offset stressful situations in your life that can be downplayed in ways like this.
Your doctor may be able to recommend lifestyle changes that may reduce the frequency or intensity of your discomfort. For example, daily exercise may improve circulation and reduce stress, thereby helping to prevent headache pain. Eating healthier foods that contain few preservatives is another common recommendation that seems to help a lot of people. Keeping a journal and writing about negative events several times a week keeps you from bottling them up where they can play havoc with your nerve impulses and possibly contribute to the development of headaches.
When you take a proactive stance in identifying headache sources and learning how to head them off, you will soon feel better and experience fewer symptoms. Ask your doctor for more information on preventing or reducing headache pain.