Oh, the dreaded headache. It comes in so many different shapes and forms, for so many different reasons. Tension, staring at screens all day, hangovers, children yelling and screaming, stress at work, stress at home, stress, stress, and more stress. Headaches are a prevalent part of many people’s lives and often result in popping a quick Ibuprofen or Advil to manage the symptoms. Isn’t there a better way, though? With the growth of functional medicine and the ever-growing realization that medicines should be used as a last resort, individuals seek out simple yet effective strategies to alleviate symptoms.
The all-too-common headache is actually a quick-fix. With the three simple steps provided below, you can say goodbye to the nagging pain in your head and start crushing life in a very short amount of time!
The first step you should take when facing a headache is to chug a nice, tall glass of water or, even better, two. We underestimate to importance of this vital nutrient and the role it plays on our everyday function. When dealing with a headache, we usually have other things going on that are distracting us from drinking an ample amount of water. When symptoms first appear, your reaction should be to reach for the water bottle. And I’m not just talking a sip or two, finish the bottle!
An even better way to alleviate your headache symptoms is to drink hydrogen water. Hydrogen water is bursting onto the scene with its claims of being a major anti-oxidant and for its ability to reduce inflammation. It is currently dominating wellness headlines in Japan and is creeping into the U.S. market via professional athletes who use both filtration systems (expensive, often costing a couple thousand dollars) and tablets (the more cost efficient option, still a little pricey, though). I personally believe that hydrogen water is effective as drinking hydrogen water has quickly alleviated my own headache symptoms. As with any supplement, there are many knockoffs and poor quality options out there so be sure to do your research. There is also a strict process you must follow when using the tablets so be sure to do your homework.
2. Take 30
After hydrating, it is imperative that you take 30 minutes to yourself. What you do with that thirty minutes is entirely up to you, but there are some suggestions that are very helpful, practical, and effective. One of my favorite strategies is simply lying on the couch and watching tv. It may seem counterintuitive, but simply going brain dead and zoning out on a show can do wonders for certain headaches. Be sure to choose a show that is light and easy to watch, not one with an intricate story line that you have to follow that will make your headache even worse. I prefer something short that I know will make me laugh.
Watching tv may not be the best option if your headache is due to staring at a screen all day. If you just spent 8 hours typing up reports and sending emails, the last thing you want to do is stare at a screen. If this is the case, you maybe better suited with some quiet time or specific breathing exercises. Just sitting in a room with no obligations, no sounds, and no distractions can do wonder for a headache and your overall mood. In the busy lives that we live, we rarely remember to take time for ourselves and do absolutely nothing. Meditation or guided meditation can be a great tool to help you through the 30 minutes of peace. If you are like most people in our modern world, you don’t have much experience with doing nothing and are more inclined to have something grabbing at your attention 24/7.
If meditation is not your thing, breathing exercises can be a great asset. When we are on-the-go all day long and are not paying attention to our body positions we tend to sit and stand in compromised positions. This leads to ineffective breathing which has a detrimental effect on the entire body, most importantly resulting in a state of stress. To counteract that, we can perform proper breathing techniques through a series of exercises. You will be amazed by how even 10 minutes of breathing exercises daily can improve your physical and mental well being.
3. Get Moving
Once steps one and two are complete, it is time to truly conquer your headache by getting the blood flowing throughout your body. It should not be much of a surprise when I tell you that brain function improves after physical activity. There are a slew of feel-good hormones that are released, blood gets flowing to muscles and, most importantly, the brain. We are active beings and are designed to move. When we sit and stress all day, our bodies send us signals to move. A headache is a signal that whatever we have been doing needs to stop and it is time for a change.
Thy type of movement that you choose to partake in depends on the severity of your headache and what interests you. It may even vary from situation to situation. There are times when I simply rep out 100 push-ups as quickly as possible and feel great. Other times I need to go for a long hike in nature, breathe the fresh air, put life in perspective, and take a “forest bath.” What you choose is up to you and the most important thing to remember is that you want to get yourself out of your current state. Walking from the couch to the refrigerator isn’t going to cut it. Do something that will challenge you, make you sweat a little bit, a leaving you feeling accomplished and headache free!
When attempting step three, it is highly recommended that you follow steps one and two first. Performing physical activity without properly hydrating will only cause your headache to worsen and leave you in a sweaty, head-throbbing mess. Also, if you don’t take the time to relax and get your mind straight, the physical activity may be interpreted by your body as additional stress which, again, can make your headache even worse.
There you have it, three simple steps to alleviating your headache without drugs! As someone who grew up popping ibuprofen at first onset of headache symptoms, I can attest to the struggles of dealing with headaches. More importantly, I can attest to the effectiveness of these three steps. Of course, there is a time and a place for medication, but I have managed to completely rid my headaches without the aid of medication by using the three steps discussed. The method is proven, give it a try!
What do you do to get rid of a headache? Have you tried any of the above? We want you feedback, leave a comment below!