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Prolonged Headaches: What Should I Do?

On average, two out of three adults experience headaches regularly. A prolonged headache can last several hours to several days. Prolonged headaches are typically chronic, meaning they are recurrent. By definition, a chronic headache must occur 15 days or more a month for at least three months. There are many causes of these headaches, including insufficient sleep, stress, and hormone fluctuations. It is important to try to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent these prolonged headaches. This article features some of the best natural methods for treating prolonged headaches.

Prolonged Headaches: What Should I Do?

Symptoms

Headaches can range from mild, dull pain to severe, debilitating migraines. Typical symptoms of a prolonged headache include throbbing pain, sensitivity to light, nausea, fatigue, sensitivity to noise and smells, and inability to concentrate.

What to Do

Some simple tips can help reduce the pain and duration of headaches.

1

Go outside

Getting some fresh air and taking a walk can help relieve headaches and provide an energy boost. If it is sunny, wear sunglasses and a hat to prevent further pain and aggravation.

2

Drink up

Dehydration is one of the leading causes of headaches, so it is essential to drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent them.

3

Have sex

A recent study conducted at the University of Munster, Germany and published in Cephalalgia, the journal of the International Headache Society, reported that sex can help relieve headaches. They found that serotonin is released during sex, creating an all-over feel-good sensation that helps counter pain.

4

Eat

Don't skip meals. Skipping meals causes blood sugar levels to drop, which subsequently results in headaches. Eating healthy meals plus small snacks throughout the day helps boost energy and prevent headaches. Try to incorporate fruits and vegetables, essential fatty acids, and protein into your daily diet to prevent future headaches.

5

Exercise

The general recommended amount of daily exercise is at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity. Examples of beneficial workouts include walking, swimming, cycling, or yoga. It is wise to start out small and then build up if you do not exercise regularly in order to prevent injury and keep up motivation. Exercise is a great energy booster and stress reliever, and it helps prevent and relieve prolonged headaches.

6

Reduce stress

Excessive stress and headaches are directly related, so it is important to manage stress. Meditating, practicing breathing exercises, or getting a massage will help you relax, clear your head, and recharge.

Headaches affect 45 million American adults on a daily basis, making them one of the most common complaints. Headaches can range from dull, nagging pain to unbearable migraines. Avoiding headache triggers like poor diet and inactive lifestyle is recommended. It is vitally important to reduce stress, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, and eat healthy to avoid prolonged headaches.

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Sources:
  • Hambach, A. et al. (2013). The impact of sexual activity on idiopathic headaches: An observational study. Cephalalgia. doi: 10.1177/0333102413476374
  • Office on Women's Health. (2012). Migraine Fact Sheet. Retrieved October 23, 2014, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/migraine.html#n