HEADACHES are quite literally a pain and can be debilitating for people who suffer with them.
People get headaches for a range of different reasons including stress and dehydration – but how can you prevent them?
Dr Earim Chaudry, managing director of health platform Manual explained that the chemical activity in your brain can cause headaches.
He said: "It is often the nerves or blood vessels surrounding your skull, or the muscles of your head and neck that can play a role in causing headaches."
Dr Chaudry said that there are several common causes of a headache.
He said that these include emotional stress, infections, fever, head colds and dehydration.
"Fortunately, there are also several ways headaches can be eased, treated, and even prevented", he said.
Here Dr Chaudry goes through the six ways that you can keep those pesky headache at bay.
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1. Don't skip meals
If you're skipping meals for a long period, this can cause your blood sugar levels to drop, Dr Chaudry explained.
In response to this, your body will release a hormone that signals your brain you’re hungry and these same hormones can increase your blood pressure and tighten your blood vessels, triggering a headache.
2. Better posture
It might not be the first thing you think of, but slouching at your desk or on the couch can cause headaches.
Dr Chaudry said: "Tension in your upper back, neck and shoulders can lead to a headache and typically, the pain throbs in the base of the skull and sometimes flashes into the face, especially the forehead.
“Ideally you want to avoid slumped shoulders, sitting in one position for a long period of time and to help reduce headaches, take short, regular walks.
3. Avoid triggers
Triggers can be different for everyone and Dr Chaudry said certain foods and drinks contribute to headaches and in particular migraines.
"These include; processed foods that contain nitrates, aged cheeses, pickled and fermented foods, salty foods, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate and artificial sweeteners.
“All of the listed food and drinks contain certain chemicals that trigger functions in your body that can cause headaches.
"For example, salty processed foods with high levels of sodium can increase blood pressure, causing headaches or migraine attacks", he said.
4. Take medication
While it might seem like an obvious thing to do, taking pain killers will work with your body's cells, your body's nerve endings, your nervous system, and your brain to prevent you from feeling the pain.
Dr Chaudry explained: "Studies show aspirin to be the best OTC (over the counter) medication for relieving pain, and ibuprofen is also an extremely effective method of pain relief.
“Taking pain killers without food can irritate the stomach lining, so it is best to take them with food, or a glass of milk.
“If you find that you are suffering from severe headaches, or headaches for several days in a row, consult your GP or another qualified medical professional.”
5. Take a break
If you're not at your desk staring at a computer then you're probably scrolling through your phone or watching TV.
Dr Chaudry said that you should try and take a break from screens as they omit blue light which can disrupt your sleep.
He said: "The brain is channelled to direct the eye muscles to constantly readjust focus between the RPA and the front of the screen.
"Channelling where our eyes want to focus and where they should be focusing can lead to eye strain and eye fatigue, both of which can trigger a headache."
He said that if you find you are affected by prolonged periods of screen time, blue-light-blocking products such as eyewear and screen protectors will help to reduce symptoms of blue light exposure such as headaches, eye irritation, and fatigue.
Exercise helps to keep the body and mind healthy and promote better circulation, which can reduce the chances of triggering a headache, Dr Chaudry said.
“Regular, moderate exercise will help, such as briskly walking or riding a bike for 30 minutes a day, particularly outdoors to get fresh air into the body."
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