How to Help Prevent a Headache

Pain Advice Adult

Published on 18th May 2017

Edited on 18th May 2017

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Article 6 How To Prevent A Headache

Nearly everyone has experienced the pain of a headache at some point in their lives, making them one of the most common health complaints.[1] Whether it’s a dull ache in the back of your head, a small, sharp pain or an all-consuming, thumping, they generally stop us from getting on with enjoying our lives and make the usual day to day activities that little bit harder to get done.

A headache can be a standalone issue; these sorts of pains are called a primary headache and are not caused by any underlying problems. Secondary headaches are usually a symptom of something else, for example, the flu.[2] If a headache becomes more severe or doesn’t go away, you should always seek medical advice.

In this article we will talk through three ways to help prevent a headache coming on and three ways to deal with one if it does happen.

Prevention

Stay Hydrated and Eat Properly

Being dehydrated is a common cause of headaches so make sure to drink six to eight glasses of water per day to keep your body fully hydrated. Also be sure to keep your diet as balanced as possible so that you know your body is getting all the vitamins and nutrients that it needs to function properly. 

Get Enough Sleep

A lack of rest or having poor quality sleep could also be a cause of headaches. Aim for seven to nine hours of unbroken sleep per night[3] and try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Create a sleeping environment that is quiet, dark and comfortable to give yourself the best chance of a good nights’ sleep. Another tip is to take an hour before bed to wind down properly before trying to go to sleep. Turn your phone off as the bright screen can make our minds too stimulated to sleep.

Manage Your Stress

Allowing your stress levels to rise is never a good idea, so find ways to relax when you feel this happening. Try yoga or a new hobby that you enjoy doing, anything to blow off some steam. If you are getting a stress headache at a specific moment, step back from the situation for a few minutes and take some long, deep breaths. 

Treatment

Cold Compresses

For primary headaches, putting a cold compress, something like a wet towel, over your eyes and forehead can help to ease your symptoms.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient practice where thin needles are inserted under the skin to realign the flow of energy. Some people suggest that this could be a beneficial way to treat a headache[4].

Painkillers

In most cases painkillers can help reduce your symptoms. Nurofen Express[5] contains Ibuprofen which has anti-inflammatory properties and can provide up to eight hours of pain relief. Try to take them as soon as you start to feel the effects of a headache coming on as they need a little bit of time to move into your blood stream and to get to work. If your headache symptoms persist, seek medical advice from your pharmacist of GP.  

UK/N/1216/0077a


[1] http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Headache/Pages/Introduction.aspx

[2] http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/headache/basics/causes/sym-20050800

[3] http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Insomnia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

[4] http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Migraine/Pages/Treatment.aspx

[5] Nurofen Express 200mg caplets/tablets. Contains sodium ibuprofen. For pain relief. Nurofen Express 200mg liquid capsules. Contains ibuprofen. For pain relief. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL.

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