Having a headache can be, well, a headache. If you suffer from headaches and can’t seem to find the right solution, whether it’s a dull pain that seems to throb or a more painful ache that feels almost like a migraine, you don’t have to live with the pain of a headache.
There are a few different things you can try in order to relieve your headache on your own. If you’re not certain of something, make sure and check with your doctor first, but it doesn’t hurt to try one of these 10 ways to relieve headache pain for seniors.
10 Headache Pain Relief Options
The first line of defense for a headache is usually pain medication. Some of the most common medications for a headache include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen.
Some brands you may recognize include Tylenol, Motrin, Aleve, and Advil. However, be careful when you do take medication like this. Always follow the correct dosing procedures, make sure it’s okay to take pain medication with any existing medications you take (call your pharmacist if you aren’t sure) and never take more than you’re supposed to.
There are some medications that are geared towards more painful headaches, such as migraines. These medications include Excedrin for migraines and Extra Strength Tylenol. It usually only takes one dose of these medicines to alleviate a headache.
If you have been prescribed prescription headache medicine, you may want to take that especially if you have a history of migraines. However, always make sure your medications are okay to mix especially if you try something new.
2.Avoid Skipping Meals
You may not have connected it, but skipping meals can lower your blood sugar, which can result in a headache. You may be in a hurry in the morning and just decide to skip breakfast, or your doctor’s appointment or tee time is going to interrupt lunch.
Always make it a point to eat regularly.If you ignore your body’s signals that it’s hungry, you’ll begin to feel bad. This could mean stomach pains, feeling dizzy or faint, and having a hunger headache.
Lack of fluids, or dehydration, also causes headaches. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Always take water with you on the go and stay hydrated throughout the day. Some seniors make the mistake of not getting enough to drink.
If three meals a day isn’t an option, break it up into smaller meals throughout the day or pack healthy snacks to eat if you’re busy. Maintain your blood sugar and avoid headaches.
3. Rest Well
Not getting enough sleep contributes to a host of problems. One of these is chronic headaches. Depriving your body of rest can produce a dull, throbbing headache.
If you want to prevent headaches, get a good night of sleep every night. You may even need a nap in the afternoon to ensure you get enough rest. Don’t feel guilty about lying down when you need a break.
Already have a headache? Turn the lights down or off and lie down in bed or on the couch. Turn off the TV or radio and rest in silence. Even if you don’t fall asleep, unplugging from the world and just simply relaxing in a calm, quiet environment can help relieve your headache symptoms.
Seniors need about seven to eight hours of sleep a night. It can be hard for seniors to get a good night of sleep, for many reasons. Staying active throughout the day, putting yourself on a sleep schedule, and eating regularly can help maintain good sleep habits.
4.Try a Cold or Hot Compress
If medication isn’t helping or you simply want to relieve your pain a more natural way, try a hot or cold compress. A migraine headache requires a cold compress. If you don’t have one, use some ice cubes in a sandwich bag and wrap a wash cloth around it.
Or, grab a bag of frozen vegetables from the freezer. Apply the ice or cold pack to your head for 15 minutes or so, taking a rest for another 15 minutes. Continue the treatment until your headache is soothed.
For a tension or sinus pain headache, you’ll use heat. You can apply a heating pad to your neck or head, or wet a cloth with warm water and apply it to the area that hurts the most. This can feel incredibly soothing and you can do it for as long as you need.
5. Relax and Unwind
Whether you’re trying to prevent a headache or relieve one you already have, lowering stress can help. Stress is one of the biggest causes of headaches. Keeping your stress low can also mean fewer headaches.
Relaxing naturally can help a headache go away, too. Some good ways for seniors to stay less stressed is by practicing yoga, deep breathing or meditation, stretching, or massage.
Don’t feel bad if you’re not good at yoga or you don’t really know what you’re doing. The important thing is to be mindful of your breathing and learn how to relax. Massaging your neck and shoulders can help relieve headache pain, too.
The key to avoiding many pains and illnesses is by staying relaxed and stress-free. Once you begin, it becomes a habit, and you’ll find that staying relaxed becomes easier over time.
6. Use Herbs or Oils
Essential oils and herbs can be very helpful for a number of situations. Having a headache is one of them. You can purchase and use these herbs in a number of ways.
Sometimes just the scent of lavender can help ease a headache. Spray your pillow with diluted lavender oil (just use a couple of drops of essential oil in a spray bottle of water) or peppermint oil. Inhaling the oil can help relieve your pain.
Another way to use herbs for a headache is to try tea. Some teas that are good for a headache include ginger tea, peppermint, or chamomile. Drinking a warm cup of tea is also very soothing if your head feels bad, and the tea can also be hydrating.
You can also buy soaps and bubble baths scented with lavender. Turning the lights down and relaxing in a warm lavender-scented bath can do wonders for a headache, and keep you feeling relaxed, too.
7.Take Note of Triggers
Have you noticed that on days you eat or drink certain things you have a headache? Maybe your morning cup of coffee is giving you pain. Or, after you eat a piece of chocolate your head starts to hurt.
Some headaches are triggered by certain foods or drinks. If you can figure out what may be triggering your headache, you can avoid that particular food or drink and remove the source of the headaches.
Some frequent headache triggers include caffeine, alcohol, some types of cheese, some food additives such as MSG, and artificial sweeteners.
Try an experiment and remove these items one at a time from your diet, then add them back in after you determine whether or not they give you a headache.
Once you pinpoint the triggers, removing them from your diet may mean your headaches will come less frequently or not at all.
8.Turn Off Your Electronics!
It’s a well-known fact that we spend too much time during the day looking at screens. Whether it’s your television, smartphone, tablet, or your laptop or desktop computer chances are you’re spending a lot of time staring at a screen.
Turn it off and take a break. Squinting at a computer to type, the glare of a smartphone, and even too much TV can put a strain on your eyes and cause your head to hurt and maybe your eyes, too.
Take a break from screens if you find yourself having head pain and see if that helps. You may find that limiting your screen time may make you feel better overall. Too much time spent staring at screens is bad for your overall health.
Eye doctors recommend the 20/20/20 rule. This means that you should take a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away.
9. Vitamin B2 and Other Supplements
If you find yourself having frequent headaches that are very painful, or having more severe migraine headaches, try turning to B2. B vitamins have been proven to help a host of issues, and B2 in particular, which you’ll also see called riboflavin, can help reduce headaches.
You can take riboflavin every day to keep headaches away. The recommended dosage is 400 milligrams a day, but talk to your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.
It may take a month or two for the B2 to work, but it can dramatically reduce headaches especially for frequent pain. Another supplement to try for headaches is magnesium. Called a “migraine cocktail,” some doctors recommend using B2, magnesium, and feverfew extract together to keep migraines at bay.
Coenzyme Q10 is another supplement used to treat migraines. Talk to your doctor to see which supplements are right for you and if you’re a good candidate for a “migraine cocktail” to keep the pain away.
For seniors who like to relieve pain naturally, there’s no better treatment than acupuncture. Acupuncture is the Chinese method of inserting needles into certain points in the body that are called pressure points.
This can help relieve pain. This is recommended way to naturally relieve the pain of headaches and migraines. There’s very little risk from trying acupuncture, and stimulating pressure pointws has long been associated with pain relief, whether you’re using your hands to add pressure to points or using needles.
Acupuncture is painless, and some insurance even covers it. It’s worth checking out. If you’re going to try acupuncture, start with treatments twice a week to relieve chronic pain and headaches.
Combined with other forms of natural therapy, it can be very helpful. Make sure you do your research and find a reputable acupuncturist to treat you.
If your headaches come with other serious or severe symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, sharp pain, or frequency, contact your doctor.