Knowing how to stop a headache is crucial for anyone who frequently suffers the nagging, sometimes debilitating problem. Failure to stop a headache fast can lead to a persistent cycle of pain, sleeplessness, and stress which only exacerbates the problem. Fortunately, Doc is here to discuss some things you can do to identify the headache type, determine likely triggers, and stop a nagging headache before it gets worse.
Watch the video below to hear Dr. Talley explain some headache basics or keep reading for a recap of this recent live video.
Common Headache Types
Before we discuss headache causes and treatments, let’s outline some basic headache types. Notably, there are more than 100 headache classifications, many of which overlap. Having said that, the following headache types are the most common.
Migraines are severe, throbbing, often one-sided headaches that can last for hours or even days at a time. The often debilitating pain may also include nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Visual disturbances like flashes of light or sudden blind spots can also accompany migraines. Importantly, migraines can indicate a more serious health concern, especially if they last more than a few days.
Tension headaches are incredibly common and are characterized by steady (not throbbing), evenly-distributed pain around the crown of the skull. Those who suffer from frequent tension headaches often describe the pain as a dull but nagging discomfort, as if a tight band is wrapped around their heads. Notably, tension headaches rarely involve nausea or light sensitivity and are relatively easy to manage with proper diet and posture.
Cervicogenic headaches are often one-sided headaches that stretch from the top of the skull down through the face and neck. The pain is generally dull, though the intensity can worsen over time, especially if left untreated. Trauma (like whiplash or fracture) or medical issues (arthritis, cancer, or infections) can cause CG headaches, though the condition is generally easy to treat once successfully diagnosed.
Cluster headaches are incredibly common headache types characterized by extreme pain around one eye or one side of the head. They generally set in very quickly, producing migraine-like symptoms like nausea, blind spots, red eyes, and runny nose. Flush, clammy skin might also accompany the condition, which can last for weeks or even months at a time.
10 Frequent Headache Triggers
Identifying headache types is the first step toward eradicating them altogether. Next, let’s discuss some common headache triggers you can avoid to help stop headaches before they even start.
Tech and Posture
In our digital society, bad posture is more common than ever. Unfortunately, slouching while staring at phones, computers, or tablets all day can cause a lot of strain on the eyes, neck, and back, all of which can cause headaches. As such, you should always mind your posture and take a break from technology every 20-30 minutes if possible.
Many people use caffeine to maintain alertness and power through that mid-day slump. However, excessive caffeine can cause dependence in some people, prompting some to quit consuming the substance for better health. However, ceasing caffeine consumption cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms to develop, including headache, fatigue, and irritability. As such, the best way to quit caffeine without the headaches is to slowly wean yourself from the substance.
Your sleeping posture, or the position in which you sleep, directly affects your spine and neck muscles. Unfortunately, strain in these areas can cause tension headaches which can make it hard to sleep, thus expanding the headache problem. To avoid sleep-related tension headaches, always sleep on a supportive mattress with the proper-sized pillow to keep your spine aligned while you rest.
Some foods and diet patterns can trigger headaches because they can cause electrolyte imbalances in the body. Cheeses, breads, pickled foods, tomato-based products and alcohol are a few headache food triggers, as are caffeine, chocolate, and some artificial sweeteners. If you think your diet may be contributing to your headaches, slowly modify your food intake noting your mood and overall health as you go.
If you often clench your jaw, you might have TMJ irritation. Essentially, pressure in the jaw can cause the TMJ muscles alongside your cheeks to tighten and strain, which can cause headache pain in the face and along the jaw. To avoid TMJ irritation, omit hard or chewy food from your diet and reduce stress to minimize jaw clenching.
Too Many Meds
Aspirin and ibuprofen are common go-to headache solutions, but overdependence on OTC pain meds can cause a rebound effect by which medication no longer suffices. In fact, overreliance on pain medications can actually cause headaches as the body attempts to withdraw from the substances. As such, try to reserve common OTC pain medications for when you really need them.
Changes in barometric pressure can cause nerve irritation and sinus pressure, which may cause headaches in some people. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to avoid changes in the weather other than to note how you feel, so you can go a little easier on yourself when it happens. You can also try to sleep through bad weather or proactively use CBD to ward against inflammation.
Hats, Headbands, Masks
If you suffer from headaches and regularly wear hats, headbands, or face masks, then pressure around the skull might be the problem. To avoid these pressure-related headaches, limit how often you wear these items (and let your hair down, too!).
Straining your eyes can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. If you find yourself straining to see, contact your optometrist to help correct the problem.
Perfumes and Other Strong Odors
Some people are sensitive to perfumes and other strong smells. Odor sensitivity is especially common in those who suffer from frequent migraines due to increased activity of specific pain and scent receptors. If you or someone you love suffers from odor-induced migraines, then limit your use of perfumes, candles, and pungent cleaning materials.
How to Stop a Headache Fast
Avoiding headache triggers can certainly help minimize discomfort but won’t always work when a headache is already underway. As such, some of the best things you can do to stop a headache fast include correcting your posture, applying ice to the base of the skull, and moving the head and neck muscles to help them loosen up. Additionally, CBD topicals like our Headache Relief Stick can also help. Essentially, CBD helps minimize swelling and pressure and works within minutes when applied topically.
Of course, if none of this works, it might be time to speak with a professional like myself here at Talley Chiropractic in Granite City, Il. We’ve been serving the Granite City metro area for decades and would love to help you, too.
CBD for Headaches
CBD may help reduce headache pain by interacting with the Endocannabinoid system. By triggering EC receptors within the body, CBD may help reduce pain and inflammation, minimize stress, and promote deeper relaxation.
Topical CBD and edible hemp products are some of the most popular ways to consume CBDF, though vapeable products are quickly gaining momentum, as well. Essentially, vapeing hemp gives cannabinoids quick access to the blood via tiny air sacs called alveoli and adjacent blood vessels called capillaries. Consequently, inhaling cannabinoids can activate in the blood in just a few minutes, as opposed to 30 minutes or more for edibles.
Don’t let headaches stop you from living your best life. Use these tips to stop headaches fast or contact us to learn how we can help.