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symptom

Headaches

Symptom

Those with headaches know: a headache is never “just a headache.” Headaches can be debilitating, causing everything from intense, pounding pain to nausea and sensitivity to light and noise. And pretty much everyone gets them! Headache is one of the most common symptoms in the general population, with migraine and tension-type headaches accounting for most cases. Hey, at least it helps to know you’re in good company, right? What to do about your headaches depends on why you've got one. If it's a tension headache, there are things you can try rather than suffer through it. That includes using hot or cold packs on your head or eyes, relaxing, improving your posture, or getting a soothing massage. Science says all of these tricks can be helpful. Also, stress is a huge trigger, but surprisingly, studies show that minor stressors (can't find your keys) tend to cause more headaches than big ones (stressing about climate change). So, try not to sweat the small stuff. That’s good advice in general—that way we stress less, and save our real worry for the big stuff that matters! Migraines and headaches caused by infections and chronic disease can be more serious—even debilitating—and relief is harder to come by. While you’re addressing the underlying health issue, you can still take care of yourself with stress relief and relaxation techniques, in addition to (or maybe even instead of) pain meds. Acupuncture, especially from a skilled practitioner with expertise in headaches, can provide amazing natural pain relief, as can medicinal plants (feverfew is one to try) and essential oils. We especially love lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus because they're super-soothing when inhaled or applied topically, or both. Some also swear by saunas and hot yoga, so if sweating helps your head, try both! Blue light-blocking glasses might also help relieve the headache you get from staring a computer for hours on end (also, don't do that, okay?). And remember: if anyone ever says it’s “just” a headache, they’ve clearly never had a bad one!

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