Do you feel like you experience more headaches when you’re stressed? If so, you’re not alone. Stress weakens immune systems, tightens muscles, and decreases the quality of sleep, therefore leading to an increased likelihood of gaining a headache.
Here are some tips on how to know if stress is causing your pain and how to keep those headaches at bay when you feel one coming on.
Is stress causing your headache?
Take note of major life changes, even positive ones, that may be affecting your physical wellbeing. Also, be aware of your sleep habits. If you wake up with a headache, it could be caused by increased cortisol production as a result of poor sleep quality due to stress. Stressful sleep can also result in teeth grinding and jaw clenching that can lead to headaches.
Lastly, keep track of your caffeine and alcohol intake. Both are dehydrating beverages, so treating your stress with wine or increasing caffeine to deal with daily pressures might not be benefiting you in the long run. More than 400 mg can actually trigger withdrawal headaches.
So how can you stop your stress headaches?
If you’ve tried regulating your sleep and substance intake and you’re attempting stress reduction in your day-to-day life, try keeping your body active to help alleviate headaches. Try taking a five-minute walk every couple of hours to stimulate your metabolism and help you relax. As we have already reported, yoga has also been found as a helpful tool to soothe headaches. Studies show a child pose can be a useful body relaxing tool, that helps redirect blood flow to relieve symptoms.
Massaging yourself with essential oils such as lavender and peppermint can also help you relax away your headaches. Eating ginger has also been shown to be as effective as some over the counter pain medications for reducing aches and discomfort.
It can be tempting to immediately treat your headaches with ibuprofen, but addressing the root cause of your headaches will be much more effective for long term relief. Locate the cause of your stress and make adjustments in your day-to-day life to rid yourself of stress headaches once and for all!