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Commonly Asked Questions – Headaches

**If you are experiencing any unusual symptoms or unusually severe pain, then you should consult a health care provider. Only attempt exercises if you have not been advised against exercises in the past. If any of the following suggestions cause discomfort, discontinue immediately.**

With many of us following the recommendations of public health, and staying home, many of you might be wondering what you can do to alleviate a headache at home.

First of all, there are many different types of headaches, with different presentations and causes. If you develop a general headache, especially with associated neck or jaw tension, there are various things you can try at home to alleviate some of your symptoms. The techniques below can be used in conjunction with typical in-person treatment or during times such as now, when in-person treatment may not be an option.

If you are experiencing tension or discomfort in your neck and/or shoulder region, then this may be the cause of, or be a contributing factor to your headaches.

  • One of the easiest things you can do is to applying heat and/or ice for 20 minutes. If you are experiencing tension in your neck and shoulders, applying heat to this area can help relax tight muscles. Applying a cool cloth or compress across the forehead may offer additional relief.
  • If you have access to essential oils, such as roll-on peppermint oil, or topical creams such as Biofreeze or Anti-Flamme, applying one of these over your neck and shoulder region can also help reduce pain.
  • If you have a tennis ball, or something similar, you can perform some self-massage or trigger point work to your neck, shoulders, and upper back.
  • Lastly, stretching through your neck and upper back can also relax these muscles (see my previous blog HERE for general neck stretches).

Do you clench or grind your teeth in your sleep? You may need to ask someone in your household to help you determine this, however if you are waking up with a headache, this is a potential cause.

  • Wearing a bite guard at night can help reduce the pressure from grinding, and ease the tension in your temporomandibular joint. Alternatively, performing some self-massage and stretches through the jaw can provide relief.

Does your headache come with increased sensitivity to light or noise?

  • Secluding yourself in a dark room, and taking a nap/going to sleep may afford you some relief.

Stress is a very common cause of headaches.

  • If this is your trigger then other techniques may be of more benefit, such as removing the stressors, taking a bath, or engaging in meditation.

Headaches can sometimes be caused by dehydration or hunger.

  • Think about what you have consumed today, and consider eating a healthy meal or drinking an extra glass or two of water.

If none of the above seem like they are the causes of your headaches, you may need to consult your physician, or take advantage of a virtual visit with one of our chiropractors.

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