If you announce you have a headache, you may be opening yourself up to receive a barrage of remedies–from medicine, to tea, to caffeine, to a nap! Some of these have some validity, and others may very well be old wive’s tales. Here’s the rundown on some common headache remedies, if they work, and why.
First off, if you are experiencing frequent headaches, it may not be a bad idea to visit your doctor and discuss their frequency, location, and duration. Headaches can be indicative of a variety of health problems, and your doctor may be able to find the source, and more importantly, a solution. On the dental front, headaches can be caused by TMJ issues . If you think this may be your issue, call us at 410-876-2096 for a consultation and to discuss treatment for TMJ problems.
- Deep breaths, stretches, neck rolls, etc. : These probably won’t relieve a headache, but can prevent one from coming on. If you feel yourself becoming stressed, take some deep, cleansing breaths, and do some neck and shoulder rolls to release tension that can build up and cause a headache later.
- Cold compress or heat pad: This may work on a minor headache. Cold slows blood flow, while heat increases it, and depending on the headache, either may be effective. Go with what feels good, or alternate (start with the cold first).
- Tea or coffee: Caffeine can relieve some pain, but is usually only effective if you drink one cup of coffee (or soda/tea equivalent) a day. If your body is already used to the effects of a caffeine, this probably won’t be effective. The popular over -the- counter remedy, Excedrin, includes caffeine, because of its pain-relieving ability. Tea, typically peppermint tea, can help soothe the stomach, if your headache is accompanied by an upset stomach.
- Over-the-counter medications (acetaminophen products–Tylenol, etc, and NSAIDS, like aspirin): Try to use non-medicinal remedies first before swallowing a pill. It is recommended that OTC medications should only be used one time per week for headaches. If you find yourself using them more often, make a call to your doctor to see if you can find the cause of your headaches or an alternative remedy.
A couple of notes: If you are pregnant, please consult your doctor before trying any of these remedies. Even herbal supplements such as peppermint may not be recommended. Migraines tend to be a different beast altogether, and your health professional may have additional recommendations for combating pain caused by migraines.
Do you have any tried and true headache remedies?