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Dealing with headaches

Most headaches are caused by blood vessels and arteries in the brain dilating. The most common headaches are mild aches, tension headaches, and migraines. While there is no single root cause of a headache there are several triggers like poor posture, strong odours, fatigue, changes in the weather, stress, depression and anxiety, hydration, and menstruation. The best way to treat a headache is to define the trigger. Is there a specific time of day when you get a headache or a certain food or drink that causes it? Once you are able to pinpoint the cause you can then take steps to avoid them.

In some cases a headache may be a sign of something more serious if your headache is:

  • Caused by a blow to the head
  • Followed by eye or ear pain
  • Accompanied by fever, memory changes, seizures, vomiting, rash, drowsiness, stiff neck, loss of consciousness, or behavioural changes
  • Sudden and extremely painful

Individuals who get frequent headaches may find it helpful to do one or more of the following:

  • Use breathing and relaxation techniques when you are stressed
  • Exercise 3 times a week and do your best to stay fit
  • Get a good 8 hours of sleep each night
  • Take 5 minutes breaks every couple of hours when you work and don't sit at the computer all day
  • Get plenty of fresh air
  • Avoid smoking, excessive alcohol or tobacco
  • Drink plenty of water or fresh fruit juice
  • Keep Nurofen medication handy
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