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Helping your headaches

Headaches can be debilitating and are very common so here are a few self help suggestions.

Headaches are often caused by dehydration so drink two long glasses of water (not too cold) and wait five minutes.

Caffeine; are you having three or more coffees per day in the week? Apart from affecting your sleep you may get withdrawal headaches if you drink little or no caffeine at the weekend.

Fresh air and exercise can clear a tight head. Try a walk or some stretches. Conversely exercise can lead to a throbbing headache, so always work out when you are hydrated and have eaten. Apple with nut butter or a banana are good snacks if you haven’t eaten for a few hours.

Weekend headaches after a stressful week are annoyingly and often a sign that the body is decompressing. Running or yoga are great stress busters. Do ensure you are sleeping and eating well.

I see many patients with tight neck and shoulder muscles which can lead to aches. Hours sitting and using screens can cause slumping. Try to get up and walk around the room periodically. Use a heated neck pillow to ease tightness or book a therapy session.

Medications taken when you have a headache can be counterproductive if you are taking them regularly as they may become ineffective and you end up taking more. When you aren’t taking them you can suffer from a headache as they leave your system. If you are taking meds more than three or four times a week it’s probably time to seek help.

Jaw clenching or teeth grinding at night can lead to a headache. See your dentist as they could prescribe a mouth guard.

One sided headaches, often as a result of anger or frustration, are common in an acupuncture clinic. There are several strategies for managing anger such as CBT that can help.

If these simple suggestions do not help and you are concerned do contact your doctor.