Headaches - How to Make Them Go Away

Of course, the first thing you need to determine is if the headaches you’ve been experiencing have a medically detectable etiology (source). Your doctor will use a physical examination, medical imaging and blood work to determine if disease or injury are to blame. These tests may, for example, reveal that you may be suffering from a tumor, TMJ, bruxism, a bone disorder, etc. 

More likely, though, you may be told that your headaches are idiopathic, psychosomatic or the result of such simple things as poor diet, lack of exercise or engaging in unhealthy practices or habits. Either way, there are things that you can do to find relief, preferably with the help of a pain management specialist.

You should have 2 main objectives when it comes to headaches:  to prevent them, if possible, but also to find the best way to treat them when they pop up.  Why not begin your quest by simply being proactive?

It will help you, for example, to find ways to reduce the duration and intensity of these aches.  One way is by identifying the catalysts or triggers of headaches.  

Start by Reducing Sources of Tension in Your Life

--Look for ways to improve your circulation.  Headaches are often caused by dysfunctional blood vessels that contract and dilate inefficiently or inappropriately.  One very practical solution is to exercise regularly.

Exercise strengthens muscles which, in turn, help your veins and arteries work more fitfully. Try neck exercises, preferably while in a warm environment.  The warmer your surroundings are, the better your circulatory system works.

--Work on improving your posture.  Always keep a close eye on how you sit or stand, making sure to not put excessive pressure or strain on your neck or the surrounding muscles.  Sit up straight and don’t slouch when you stand or walk.

--Have your eyes examined regularly.   Headaches can be symptoms of a number of diseases, complications and conditions involving the eyes.  Glaucoma, for example, can sometimes give people nasty headaches.  Not attending to these headaches (if they are glaucoma-connected) can lead to blindness.

There may also be eyesight issues that may or may not involve glasses and contact lenses.  For example, wearing old-prescription glasses or contact lenses can put a strain on your eyes that can induce pain.

It should also be noted that both low and high blood pressure (HBP) can cause headaches. In fact, there is a condition called “malignant” high blood pressure or “hypertension crisis” that can produce severe headaches and serious vision problems.  This is yet another reason to keep a close eye on your blood pressure.

--Don’t let yourself become dehydrated.  Staying properly hydrated helps keep your electrolytes balanced, your fluid volume in good levels, and your blood vessels working at peak capacity.  This can help reduce circulatory-based headaches.

--Avoid foods that trigger headaches.  Drinking caffeine-rich beverages in excess is something you might consider avoiding.  There are probably other foods, though, that may also be giving you headaches or introducing the foundations for such.

 --Irrigate your sinuses.  You may, for example, be suffering from a sinus infection.  Regularly cleaning or keeping your sinuses from getting too dry can help you avoid sinus-related headaches.

What to Do about Migraines

--Find ways to boost your circulatory system. Simple ways may include taking hot showers, getting gentle massages, or engaging in special exercises a physical therapist might teach you.

--Stay away from niacin.  Some people get headaches when they take vitamins containing niacin.  One possible reason is that maybe these people are getting too much niacin.  Niacin can be found in many foods and, for most people, there is no need to take it as a supplement.

An exception might be if your doctor finds that you are nutritionally deficient.  Too much niacin, a vasodilator, can also negatively affect blood vessels.

--Keep away from foods that trigger migraines.  Try to identify foods that may be troubling you.  Two foods in particular to keep in mind are strong cheeses and red wines.  Other foods that may cause headaches include:

  • So-called “fast” food
  • Fried foods (most probably because your body has a hard time digesting “vegetable oils” that are mostly synthetic and high heat-processed; these include hydrogenated and high trans fats oils)
  • Mostly-baked gluten-containing foods
  • Soda pop containing bromine-derived chemicals like brominated vegetable oils (BVO); bromine has been associated with some mental health issues, including violent tendencies, schizophrenia, and psychosis
  • Some preservatives (e.g., meat-preserving nitrites)

--Beware of medications that list migraines as possible side-effects.  Painkillers in the oxycontin family, for example, have been connected to chronic headache conditions. Some blood thinners (by increasing blood pressure) can also induce headaches.

--Beware that some illegal drugs (e.g., methamphetamines) are known to cause migraines with continuous use or after getting off the “high” they induce.

What to Do About Cluster Headaches

--Keep a close eye on potential triggers of these clusters.  Some studies have revealed, though, that some of the reasons for these chains of headaches include difficult to keep track of or stop hormonal imbalances, circadian rhythm cyclical changes, changes of the season, everyday surroundings that may be too dark or depressing, mental illness, etc.

Your best strategy is to avoid things that trigger the clusters.  Likely causes include smoking, toxic breathable chemicals, harsh chemicals in processed/packaged foods (e.g., nitrites/nitrates, a preservative), known neurotoxins and excitotoxins (i.e., Aspartame, monosodium glutamate, etc.).

Simple & Inexpensive Headache Reducing/Treating Strategies

--Make sure that you give your eyes some rest from light even in the daytime, especially if you work in a well-lit place or spend a lot of time outdoors.  Finding a quiet, dark place to rest for a short while can do wonders for headaches.

--Get someone to gently massage your temples, neck and shoulders.  Massage therapy can be expensive, but it can be worth it, if you can’t find someone to do this for free. Massages can improve circulation and reduce stress.

--Use a warmed-up cloth or heating pad on your head, at the base of your skull or around the neck.  You may also try an ice pack but only use such for short periods of time.

--Find ways to relax.  There are many exercises that you can try. Some of those exercises involve learning how to breathe and meditate properly.

--Get away from stressful situations when possible.  Get away from daily chores once in a while. Give yourself a day off now and then.  Plan a vacation, if you need one.

--Eat on a regular basis, especially if you are hypoglycemic, receiving chemo, or suffering from a medical condition that is making your body more fragile than people in comparatively good health.

-- Be careful of what you eat and drink.  You might keep a diary of your daily food intake.  This may help you make a connection between headaches and what you ate that day.

--Use lavender and peppermint essential oils.  Simply combine these and then rub them on your neck, shoulders and base of your skull.  Some people think that this combination can help relieve headaches.


As we’ve shown in this short repertoire of ways to prevent and manage headaches, there are many things that you can do that have proven to be very effective in most instances. Although your situation may be unique, you CAN find on-going, effective relief, provided you implement the necessary steps or strategies.

Copyright, 2018.  Fred Fletcher.  All rights Reserved.





6/18/2018 7:00:00 AM
Fred Fletcher
Written by Fred Fletcher
Fred Fletcher is a hard working Consumer Advocacy Health Reporter. Education: HT-CNA; DT-ATA; MS/PhD Post-Graduate Certificates/Certifications: • Project Management • Food Safety • HIPAA Compliance • Bio-statistical Analysis & Reporting • Regulatory Medical Writing • Life Science Programs Theses & Dis...
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People tend to forget that headaches can be telltale signs of serious medical problems like glaucoma and high blood pressure. I'm glad, Fred, that you remind everyone of this possibility.
Posted by Susan Blakely
Under "look for ways to improve..." ofof-the-charts misuse of the word "fitfully" means sporadically, inconsistently. You mean: smoothly?
Posted by e. smythe
I am 72 and had migraines starting at about 23. Maxalt and Sumatran would always work where others did not. About 6 years ago I had a heart attack and was put on a regimen of the typical medications which included Warfarin. Ever since then I have not had no migraines. I think the blood thinner was the cure. My doctor concurs. Something to think about.
Posted by KEN

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