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Why Do Hot Showers Help Migraines

A Headache Can Be Helped With Hot And Cold

The 7 Benefits of a Cold Shower

By | Submitted On October 31, 2006

Some headache sufferers swear by a brisk walk in the cold air to clear their heads. For others, this would be a trigger to bring on a humdinger that would fell an elephant. Some leap into a hot shower at the first sign of a headache. For others, this would be just the thing to bring one on.

Both hot and cold treatments can be hugely effective with bringing relief from headaches. Some people prefer hot, some cold and some like to alternate. This is such an individual thing. You have to cautiously experiment and find out what works for you.

Why do hot and cold work so well?

It’s all to do with the muscles and the blood vessels. Many headache pains are caused by enlarged blood vessels pressing on surrounding nerves. Applying something cold to the area can help to constrict those vessels, reducing their diameter and lessening the pounding headache.

Some headaches are caused by tension and anxiety. This tightens up the muscles which then pinch nerves and enlarge blood vessels. Applying cold or heat to them can loosen them up, releasing the pinched nerves and calming down the blood vessels.

Diversion tactics

Another great way to use get rid of a headache is to sit and soak your feet and ankles in a bowl or bucket of hot water. This works because the heat dilates, or enlarges the blood vessels in your feet and legs and helps to draw the blood away from the head. This releases pressure and calms the headache.

Note of caution

Going To The Hairdressers

You can get a headache when your head is held over the basin

A surprisingly common cause of head pain is an appointment with the hairdresser or barber.

Its caused by having to hold your head back over the basin when having your hair washed.

This extends the neck awkwardly, stimulating one of the nerves that activates the trigemino-cervical neurovascular pathway. Pain can come a day or two afterwards, so the cause is often missed.

Other causes of these types of headache include cradling a phone between your shoulder and ear and sitting on a chair without any lower back support, says Michael Gross, a neurologist and clinical director at Clementine Churchill Hospital, Middlesex.

Half Of The Patients Reported A Clinical Benefit

In the first application, 13 patients reported a clinical benefit 25 min after the cold therapy. Objective response was observed in 10 patients including three patients who had a complete response. However, the other half did not respond and needed to use analgesics 25 min after cold therapy. Mean VAS scores of patients decreased from 7.89 ± 1.93 to 5.54 ± 2.96 in 25 min, 4.62 ± 3.16 in 1 h, 3.92 ± 3.32 in 2 h and 3.42 ± 3.55 in 3 h after cold therapy in first attack. VAS scores at the twenty-fifth minute, first hour, second hour and third hour of treatment were found to be significantly lower compared to VAS scores before treatment . In patients with a clinical benefit, the mean number of attacks was 3.30 ± 1.37, the mean pretherapy VAS score was 8.00 ± 2.04 and the duration of migraine attack was 21.23 ± 6.75 h. In patients who did not have any clinical benefit, mean attack number was 3.07 ± 1.03, mean VAS score before the therapy was 7.69 ± 2.01 and duration of migraine attack was 19.00 ± 7.95 h. These were not significantly different between patients with or without clinical benefit .

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When To Call A Doctor

Make an appointment if your headaches are frequent or last more than a few days. Get medical help right away if your headache is sudden and severe, happens after a head injury, or is the worst you have ever had. Itâs also important to get urgent care if you get symptoms along with your headache like fever, stiff neck, seizures, numbness, double vision, dizziness, severe nausea, shortness of breath, or confusion.

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Cold Showers Give Your Skin And Hair A Healthy Glow

Why Do I Keep Getting Headaches?

Though scientific research is limited regarding the effect cold water has on your skin and hair, anecdotal evidence points to positive effects.

Wellness expert Dr. Jacqueline Schaffer, MD, says that cold water tightens and constricts the blood flow which gives your skin a healthier glow.

According to an article published on the website NaturallyCurly.com, cold water closes and strengthens your hair cuticles.

Also, cold water, unlike hot water, doesnt dry out the sebum layer, a naturally lubricated barrier that provides protection for your skin and hair.

As a result of the effects of cold water, your hair may be more likely to become stronger and healthier over time.

If youre convinced a cold shower is totally out of the question, you might want to rethink your philosophy. Unlike the long list of benefits that come with taking a cold shower, the list of cons is surprisingly quite short.

The cons of cold showers:

  • Cold showers might not be a good idea if youre already cold, since the cooler temperature isnt going to help warm you up by any means. It could actually make you even colder and increase the amount of time it will take for your body to warm back up.
  • They may not be a good idea if youre sick, either. Initially, the cold temperature might be too hard on your immune system, so its best to ease into the cooler temperatures.

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Tips For Managing Migraine Headaches

Its true that medication is a proven way to treat and prevent migraines, and this is the first step many people think about when it comes to managing migraines. But we also know that this should only be part of the equation.

The same lifestyle choices that promote overall good health can also reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Knowing how to manage migraine pain with lifestyle and behavioral methods, as well as medication, is often the most effective way to handle migraines.

Theres a lot to this, so lets dig in to some of the best lifestyle tips we can offer to help manage migraines.

Living with migraines is a daily challenge for some, but its also a daily choice. By making a healthy lifestyle a priority and committing to doing all you can to manage your migraines, symptoms and severity can improve. For those who need help finding the right medication to use in conjunction with lifestyle, and for lifestyle recommendations, the physicians at Southside Pain Specialists are here to help.

Manage Light Sensitivity With Soft Lighting

I cant emphasize enough how important it is to manage light triggers.

Close to 90 percent of people with migraine experience , and light can intensify an attack within seconds, according to the National Headache Foundation.

Many living with migraine disease experience photophobia even when an attack is not active.

In my home, we have dimmers on every lamp, salt lamps in multiple rooms, fairy lights strung over bookshelves, and windows outfitted with light-filtering and blackout curtains. When a migraine attack strikes, I immediately dim the lighting around me to help calm my nervous system.

When I experience migraine pain outside of the softly lit cocoon of my home, I rely heavily on sunglasses and a baseball hat.

When traveling, I bring a weighted eye mask, which helps mimic the relief I get from my blackout curtains at home. Migraine prevention lenses have also been extremely helpful in managing light triggers, both indoors and out.

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Treat Pain With Heat Or Cold

Cold and heat may relieve pain and muscle tension that go along with headaches. You can ease symptoms of occasional headaches if you take a hot shower or put moist heat on the back of your neck. Try a hot water bottle, a warm towel, or a warm compress. If you prefer cold, wrap an ice pack in a towel. Then put it where you hurt — on your forehead, temples, or neck.

Problems Showering With Fibromyalgia And Me/cfs

I Tried a Sound Bath For My Anxiety and Migraines | You Glow Girl

A morning shower seems like a basic, harmless thing to most people. But taking a shower can pose major problems for people with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome . If you have one of these conditions, you may have thought it was just you who had this issue, but rest assured that it isn’t.

Several of the symptoms of these conditions can combine to make you go straight from the shower and back to bed for the rest of the day. How’s that possible?

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Apply A Warm Or Cold Compress To Your Head Or Neck

Place a warm or cold compress across your forehead or the back of your neck.

Many of my patients prefer a cold compress, says Lawrence C. Newman, MD, director of the division of headache at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City and a board member of the American Migraine Foundation.

Cold can have a numbing effect. It distracts the brain from the migraine, says Good. Youre stimulating other nerve endings where youre putting the compress.

To protect your skin, keep a cloth between your skin and an ice pack, and if you use a commercial cold pack, make sure there are no leaks where chemicals could escape and potentially harm your eyes, according to the University of Michigan Health.

Some people may prefer a warm compress, Dr. Newman says. Heat can help relax tense muscles. You may also try taking a warm bath or shower.

When To Contact A Medical Professional

  • You are experiencing “the worst headache of your life.”
  • You have speech, vision, or movement problems or loss of balance, especially if you have not had these symptoms with a headache before.
  • The headache starts very suddenly.
  • The headache occurs with repeated vomiting.
  • You have a high fever.

Also, call your provider if:

  • Your headache patterns or pain change.
  • Treatments that once worked are no longer helpful.
  • You have side effects from medicines, including irregular heartbeat, pale or blue skin, extreme sleepiness, persistent cough, depression, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, cramps, dry mouth, or extreme thirst.
  • You are pregnant or could become pregnant. Some medicines should not be taken when pregnant.

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Try An Acupressure Technique

It may help ease your pain. Place your thumbs near the base of your skull. Find the depressions on both sides of where your head meets your neck. They are just outside the thick muscle that runs down the middle . Press in and slightly upward with your thumbs until you feel slight pressure. While pressing, move your thumbs in small circles for 1-2 minutes.

Jogging On The Treadmill

I have a chronic headache disorder. Why does my headache ...

The severe pain starts within seconds of exercising

If you ever need an excuse not to go to the gym, its this exertion headache.

Any type of physical exertion, such as jogging or pounding a treadmill, causes blood vessels in the head, neck and scalp to swell, producing a build-up in pressure, says Mr Gross.

The severe pain starts within seconds of exercising and can occur anywhere in the head. These headaches are most common in people susceptible to migraines.

Obviously, changing the type of exercise can help perhaps swimming instead of running but taking anti-inflammatories half an hour before exercising may be another option, as this can reduce swelling.

Although rare, if you do develop a sudden pain in the head when exercising, its important to go to the doctor to rule out other conditions, such as a brain tumour or a ruptured aneurysm a swelling in one of the blood vessels in the brain.

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Tips To Relieve Headache With Neck Pain

Headache with neck pain can be a double whammy that makes it difficult to move the head and/or concentrate. While headaches can cause the muscles in your neck to become stiff and painful, a problem in your neck, such as irritated nerves, can also cause headaches. Common conditions where you may experience headache and neck pain together are:

Several conditions can cause neck pain and headache to occur together. ReadWhat Is Causing My Neck Pain and Headache?

Here are 11 tips to help relieve headache and neck pain without medication. Just remember to stop a treatment if it makes your pain worse.

  • Apply firm pressure. Applying compression on the temples, forehead, and/or back of the neck provide may provide relief from pain caused by tension headaches or migraines.1 This pressure may be applied with your fingertips, hands, or by wrapping a handkerchief around your head.
  • Try heat therapy. In some people, headaches may be caused by constriction of blood vessels, and can be relieved by placing a heat pack on the back of the neck. Taking a hot shower may also help in relieving pain while also providing a relaxed feeling. When applying heat therapy, limit applications to 15 minutes with at least 2 hours of rest in between to prevent skin damage.

    See How to Apply Heat Therapy

  • See Massage Therapy for Chronic Stiff Neck

  • Foods That Can Trigger Headaches And Migraines

    Whilst there are foods and natural herbs that can help cure a headache, there are some that make it worse.

    Dr Bond says: Most of the food triggers associated with headaches and migraines come from people self-reporting not clinical trials.

    Trigger foods include bananas, beans , chocolate, citrus fruits, cultured dairy , nuts and nut butters, strawberries, cheese high in tyramine , MSG , aspartame , nitrates and nitrites , alcohol .

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    Does Cold Compress Help Migraine

    Elliott says the cold can constrict blood vessels and help reduce the neurotransmission of pain to the brain. Instead of registering pain, it registers oh, thats cold. A 2013 study found that applying a frozen neck wrap at the onset of a migraine significantly reduced pain in participants with migraine headaches.

    Invest In Cozy And Comforting Bedding And Clothing

    Migraine Aura – Everything You Need To Know About Visual Auras From Migraines

    Wrapping up in a dark room beneath a pile of blankets and soft pillows is one thing I am always able to find gratitude for, even during my worst attacks.

    Feeling supported by your external environment can be deeply comforting and even signal to your nervous system that you are safe helping to interrupt the natural fight, flight, or freeze response that pain elicits.

    I could write an entire article about my favorite blankets, pillows, and bed linens. Whatever your personal favorites are, outfit yourself with comfort in the space where you tend to ride out a migraine storm. You deserve it.

    Applying the same careful intention to your wardrobe can bring even more support inside of an attack.

    On the days migraine leaves you bed- or home-bound, wearing comfortable clothes that dont feel frumpy can elevate your mood and quiet your inner critic.

    Be sensitive to your body and start to notice what fabrics feel soothing and which actually add discomfort to your day .

    Research shows that mindfulness meditation, which focuses on nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, can contribute to improved quality of life, lessened pain severity, and improved symptoms of depression in people living with chronic pain.

    Migraine flares can trigger an avalanche of fear, guilt, and shame-based thinking. Mindfulness, particularly meditation, is an incredibly helpful tool to notice these narratives choose ones that are more compassionate.

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    Remove Any Pressure On The Head

    In some cases, there is a physical reason for a headache. Check for anything that is putting too much pressure on the head. This may be a ponytail or bun that is too tight or a hat or headband that has been on too long.

    Some people who get headaches become sensitive to light. Bright office lights or even the bright light from a smartphone may make symptoms worse.

    It may help to rest in a dark or dimly lit room while recovering from a headache.

    Herbal tea may be a useful way to add water to the diet while also enjoying the benefits of other natural compounds.

    For instance, ginger tea may help with a migraine. One found that ginger powder had similar effects to a common medication for reducing migraines. A simple tea of warm water and ginger powder may help with symptoms.

    Other potentially calming teas include herbs such as peppermint, chamomile, and lavender.

    Exercise may help keep the body healthy and promote better circulation, which might reduce the chances of a headache showing up.

    Common Causes Of Headaches

    The best way to get rid of a headache quickly may depend on whats causing it and what type of headache it is. A primary headache is caused by overactivity or problems with the pain-sensitive structures in your head, according to the Mayo Clinic. Common types of primary headaches include migraine attacks and tension headaches.

    A less common type of primary headache is a cluster headache, which comes on suddenly, almost always affects only one side of the head, and is accompanied by a runny nose and tearing eye on the same side of the head as the headache. The pain of a cluster headache is severe and lasts from 15 minutes to 3 hours, when untreated. For most people, cluster headaches occur in a series, or in clusters, lasting weeks or months, separated by remission periods of months or years.

    A secondary headache is a symptom of a disease that can trigger pain-sensitive nerves in the head. There are many conditions that can cause a secondary headache, from a sinus infection to a brain aneurysm to hangovers to COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

    While a hangover or a headache caused by a sinus infection or by COVID-19 may respond to the same pain-relieving treatments as a tension headache, a brain aneurysm, or other severe headaches associated with neurologic changes such as weakness or loss of consciousness, for example, are medical emergencies that you shouldnt attempt to treat on your own.

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