A migraine or any other type of headache can completely disrupt your life. It can be difficult to work and function throughout the day, and by night, the pain prevents you from sleeping. But there is hope that goes beyond sticking an ice pack on your aching head and curling up in bed after taking a pain-relief tablet.
In a previous blog post, we discussed some common headache causes and solutions. Now we’ll focus on how to stop migraines through stress management. Just as stress can contribute to causing headaches, managing that stress can help alleviate your symptoms and may prevent headaches before they even start.
Tap the Stress Away
If you haven’t heard of “tapping,” also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), you probably will soon. It’s become increasingly popular in recent years as people discover how effective it can be at reducing various ailments and symptoms, including stress. It involves tapping on various points on the upper body while saying specific phrases. Many people have testified to its effectiveness at reducing stress, headaches and overall pain. A recent study suggests that EFT may help reduce the frequency and severity of tension-type headaches.
Not getting enough sleep is associated with a number of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and it can also lead to nasty headaches. Yet about one third of U.S. adults don’t get enough sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With today’s busy schedules, it can be difficult to hit the hay early enough to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep. Try to prioritize sleep, even if it means being strict with your schedule. Turn off the TV and social media, shut down your phone and settle into bed at a decent hour.
Is laughter really the best medicine for what ails you? It could be. Laughter makes you feel more relaxed and less stressed, according to the Mayo Clinic. Watch a hilarious movie, hang out with a funny friend or have a tickle fest with your kids. Don’t take things too seriously. It’s OK — and even healthy — to be silly.
Overhaul Your Schedule
Take a hard look at what you currently have in your schedule, and look for things you can delete. Learn to say “no” to nonessential activities. Having too many things on your to-do list and too many commitments can make you feel overwhelmed and lead to stress-related headaches. Try to keep your schedule simple, and focus on just one thing at any given time — the one thing that’s at the top of your priority list.
Slip Into a Warm Bath
Magnesium supplements can be effective at reducing the pain of headaches, and warm baths containing magnesium in the form of Epsom salts can provide a topical application of magnesium. Add peppermint oil or lavender oil to the bath water as well. Peppermint oil can be effective at helping to alleviate headaches, and lavender oil is calming and relaxing. Magnesium is also available as a spray that you apply to your skin. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking oral magnesium supplements.
When it comes to headaches, prevention is key. One of the most effective methods for how to stop migraines is to reduce stress and relax when you can. Incorporate stress management techniques into your daily routine as a way to combat migraines and other types of headaches before they even start. Relax and put one of these tips into practice today, and feel confident that you’re on the path to fewer headaches.
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.
Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.