Managing Headache Pain

young man in pain( — Headache pain is so common that it seems to be a natural, though unpleasant, part of daily life. It’s the most typical reason for doctor appointments, yet there’s nothing typical about a headache. The source of pain can vary from headache to headache. Attacks by bacteria, viruses, and hormones can all unbalance the body and trigger headache pain.

Here are some tips on how to deal with headaches:

Take pain relief medication at the first sign of a headache. Hoping it just goes away is not the answer, especially if your headache is a migraine. According to a report by the National Headache Foundation, the addition of caffeine as an ingredient in over-the-counter headache medications containing aspirin and acetaminophen improves their ability to relieve pain by 40 percent. Consider this headache-fighting combo when you need faster, more effective relief.

Drink plenty of water with your headache medicine. Dehydration can cause a headache long before you ever feel thirsty. Air conditioning in the summer and certain types of heat in the winter can dry out your office atmosphere, too, adding to the problem. Keep sipping water.

Take a break from all stressors. Spend a few minutes away from the computer screen, the intense concentration, the ringing phone — all the sensory stimuli that brought on or can worsen your headache. Give your medication time to work before you resume your activities. Pull down the shades or dim the lights for a few minutes to block out distractions.

Here are easy ways to remove or reduce headache triggers:

Get stress under control. Learning how to minimize stress is key to headache prevention. Prioritize responsibilities to gain a sense of control. When your tasks make it impossible to reduce stress, at least take a break from it. Exercise is one way to release stress and tension.

Keep track of headache triggers. Keep a diary to uncover what triggers your headaches, like bright lights, sunlight, loud noises, and certain scents — anything from strong perfume to smoke and cleaning chemicals. Then try to find ways to avoid them, like wearing earplugs or noise-reducing headphones.

Cut down on the glare. If bright fluorescent lights and your flickering computer screen bother you, consider wearing lightly tinted glasses or using a lamp rather than the overhead lights. Get an anti-glare screen for your computer.

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