Give Your Head A Break:

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Posted by TerryS ( on September 11, 2000 at 21:33:41:

Give Your Head A Break

Headache sufferers, listen up. If you gobble down painkillers like they're candy in hopes of finding
relief, you may actually be exacerbating the pain.

While there's nothing wrong with occasional use, long-term overuse of painkillers like aspirin and
ibuprofen can backfire and cause more frequent headaches. You may be experiencing
medication-induced problems if you suffer more than fifteen headaches a month. Or if you require
higher dosages of painkillers as time goes on. Or if you begin popping pills before a headache
even comes on.

So how do you treat chronic headaches? First check in with your physician to make sure that you don't have an underlying
health concern. Then, if you have a clean bill of health and still suffer excessive headaches, consider some of these points and

Your headaches may be stress related. Researchers say some people's brains transform physical and emotional stress
into headaches. Stress triggers biochemical and electrical changes in the brain. These changes irritate nerves and blood
vessels. The irritated blood vessels open wide and become inflamed. And that can produce pounding, throbbing
headache pain. Try meditation or other methods of reducing stress.

Workouts may help. Exercise can be an excellent headache-prevention measure. Doctors say regular aerobic exercise
can ease tension headache pain (when it comes on) and also reduce headache frequency. However, it may not be a
good idea to exercise during a headache episode.

Hold the java. Caffeine in coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, and pain relievers (the ones that contain caffeine) may also
bring on headaches. Caffeine jump-starts your adrenal glands, which in turn constrict your blood vessels. Once the
effect wears off, your blood vessels can dilate, and that can lead to a pounding headache.

Seek natural pain relief. In some cases, you can substitute herbs and vitamins for drugs, without suffering harmful side
effects. Vitamin B sometimes helps, as does riboflavin. Some people find that taking daily supplements of magnesium
and vitamin E can also reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.

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