Work is stressful. It produces headaches. And headaches can be severely debilitating if you do not know how to deal with them properly. In this post I’m going to show you 9 really effective ways to beat a headache at work.
9 Effective Ways to Beat a Headache at Work
1. Drink some water
One of the first things you should do if you get a headache is re-hydrate yourself. A lot of headaches are caused by a lack of fluids – especially if you are sitting in a warm office all day, skipping meals and eating salty snacks!
I find that if I am working on the computer and I don’t drink any water I get a headache pretty soon. If I drink water the headache is gone within about half and hour. I have read a lot of studies showing that water can be used for the purpose. Some people will disagree but it seems to work for me.
2. Stretch your neck
Talking to my Chinese doctor recently I asked him whether a bad neck will cause headaches on a regular basis. He told me that the main source of headaches is a tight or out of place neck. 90% of the headaches that he treats are cured by working with the neck.
One of the best ways you can loosen your neck up is by doing a few simple stretches. Two minutes of gentle stretching can prevent hours of headaches.
This first stretch is done by simple placing your hand on the top of your head and gently pulling your ear down towards your shoulder. You should feel a stretch in the neck on the opposite side.
This second stretch is done by placing your hands on the top of your head and pulling your head forward with your hands at the same time as your neck pushes backwards against the pressure. It is almost as if you are trying to push the top of your neck higher into the sky.
There are plenty of stretches you can do for your neck. Take is slowly and don’t do any stretch until you have researched it properly and are sure you are doing it correctly.
3. Learn some simple acupressure points
Acupressure is part of the ancient Chinese medical arts and it has been used to successfully treat headaches for thousands of years. The pressure points relating to headaches are designed to loosen up tension and open up your internal energy channels so that the “chi” or energy flows in a more unobstructed manner.
Let me tell you, this stuff works. My girlfriend had been suffering from massive migraines her whole life. She had tried every pharmaceutical drug, physio, chiro and even had CAT scans to see if there was anything wrong. Nothing worked. Eventually I persuaded her to go to a Chinese doctor and within two weeks her headaches were gone. Now she gets a monthly refresher and she hasn’t had a migraine since.
This acupressure point is called the Tiger’s Jaw. It is a basic pressure point that you can use every time you get a headache. However, you should avoid this point if you are pregnant or have other health issues – then it isn’t so good.
To find the pressure point simply press your thumb and index finger together and find the highest point on the muscle. Relax your hand. Then, using your other thumb, firmly press the point upwards towards the index finger bone that runs through your hand. It will hurt. This is good. Hold the point for about a minute.
4. Discover the magic of headache fighting teas
When I was in India in 2005 I discovered a hot drink called a “Lemon, Ginger and Honey Tea“. The three ingredients, when mixed together, form a powerful healing agent that has been used in Indian medicine for over a thousand years. It is also wonderful for treating headaches.
I first discovered this drink in my local Indian eating hole. I went to the same restaurant in the town of Bodhgaya for two weeks in a row and struck up a friendship with the manager. He brought me this drink one morning when I was feeling sick and said, “Drink this. I have had one every day of my life and I have never caught a cold or had a headache.” I didn’t believe him but his friends who also worked in the restaurant claimed it had done similar things for them as well. It worked wonders for my sickness and I have been drinking them ever since.
To make a Lemon, Ginger and Honey Tea simply slice up some fresh ginger and throw it into a big mug with a teaspoon of raw honey, the juice of about half a lemon and boiling water. You can alter the amounts to your own taste but you must always have these three ingredients together – the whole is much bigger than the sum of its parts!
If you get headaches at work on a regular basis you can simply make a thermos of this drink before work and take it with you. Or, just keep the ingredients in the fridge at work and make it when you feel one coming on. The ingredients are cheap and the drink is extremely good for your longevity.
Another tea that is said to have headache fighting properties is peppermint tea. In Chinese medicine a lot of headaches are said to be caused by problems in the stomach. When you are constipated you almost always get a headache. Peppermint tea is a good way to relax your stomach and as such fight that headache.
5. Practice some simple Chi Kung breathing exercises
In high school I was taught a simple breathing exercise by my kung fu teacher. He said he used to use it when he was stressed and had a bad headache. It seems to have worked for me so I thought I would share it with you here.
How to do it –
To do it simply sit at your desk and place your right elbow on the table. With your right thumb block your right nostril and with your right index finger press firmly on your “third eye”. The third eye is simply the point right in between your two physical eyes and up a bit on the forehead.
Hold your fingers in this position and breathe in slowly through your unblocked left nostril. Try and bring the air all the way down into your deep stomach. Breathe out slowly and imagine sending the air up your spine to your third eye. Repeat this for about a minute with each nostril.
It leaves you feeling fresh, awake and much more relaxed. Your headache should vanish sometime during the exercise.
6. De-stress yourself
Stress itself is a big headache producer. We tighten up; tensing our muscles, frowning at the brow and pursing our lips.
However, de-stressing is not as easy as it might sound. There are a million causes of stress and as such there are a million solutions for stress. You need to find out what is causing your own personal stress and find the solution for it.
Some basic ideas include:
- Deep breathing
- Looking at the big picture
- Drinking de-stressing tea
- Catching up with mates at lunch
- Reading The Daily Mind!
- Having a naughty sweet snack
Whatever it is that helps you de-stress you should try it and see if it helps your headache.
7. Get acupuncture asap
photo credit: Keisuke Omi
As I mentioned above in the acupressure section, acupuncture is extremely good for headaches. And the great thing about acupuncture is that it last forever. The Chinese doctor is not going to give you medication that simply numbs the pain, he is going to get to the SOURCE of the headache and knock it on the head. Excuse the pun.
If your headaches are recurring you should go and see a reputable acupuncturist and ask them for some help. It is extremely cheap and you will find you have more energy and a lot less stress. It works wonders for you health.
Meditation is one of my favorite solutions for everything! It is an effective method for treating headaches because it helps you loosen up, relax and helps your internal energies return to their normal pattern. From an Eastern medicine point of view, most headaches are caused by problems with the flow of these energies. Sort out the energies and you sort out the headache.
If you aren’t sure what type of meditation to do for a headache it is a good idea to experiment with the ones that seem to relax you. Simple breathing meditation or mindfulness meditation are some of my favorites.
9. Take some Aspirin
The easy way out. I don’t normally like to take pain killers because I don’t feel like it is a long term solution – it is like a band aid on a bullet wound. But, sometimes you need fast relief in order to be your best at work. Perhaps an aspirin is something you can do in the short term until you discover a long term cure.
Aspirin is a better solution that other pain killers because it is an anti-inflammatory that is also quite good for your blood. As an anti-inflammatory aspirin can help your body fight off the bugs that are causing a headache – assuming that is what is causing it.
Don’t take any painkillers without medical advice though. I am not a doctor. Aspirin is simply my personal preference.
Conclusion on work headaches
Usually a headache can be solved with one of these simple solutions. However, in some cases a headache is an indication of a more serious health problem. If you find that your headaches are regular and without an ascertainable cause you should head to your doctor to get a check up. Don’t be afraid – just get it out of the way so you can stop thinking about it.
Does anyone else have any other methods?
Top image: photo credit: madmolecule
Originally posted on April 21, 2008 @ 2:19 am
I get headaches all the time. TV too loud – headache. Bad sleep – headache. Work in general – headache.
Thanks for the tips – I’ll use some of those points and stretches for sure.
this is the kind if blog i have been really desperatley trying to find. thanks you so much for all the long articles – i have added you to email subscribing.
The Daily Minder
Tao – I know the feeling!!! Let us know how the stretches go.
Christina – Thanks for adding us – I hope we add some more meaning to your work life!
Thank you for writing a detailed article like that.
There are some success stories with acupuncture but they are low in numbers, unfortunately. Glad it worked in that case you mentioned earlier. Please tell her “good going” from the “migraine crowd” 😛
Nice site, BTW, I’ve subscribed to the feed on Technorati. Keep up the good work 😛
Great post, I’m going ot try the lemon, ginger and honey tea as a daily drink – it sounds wonderful!
The Daily Minder
Rain – Thanks for the link on your blog.
Dave – Your health will thank you for it! Let us know how you go. Remember, raw honey from the market is best. Not the supermarket stuff as it has been heated and the goodness killed.
This kind of pain can decrease, as seek to avoid stress. Move as much as possible. If you work mostly seated and relatively fixed (eg a computer), at least once an hour exercise the muscles of the neck and his shoulders.
Great article – wish I’d read it before writing this:
Will blog about this blog in near future,
All the best from Brighton,
I’m at work currently and had a head ache tried that finger pinch idea, thinking there was no way it would work, and it worked…
I feel like I just learned a super power.
Ahh, thank you very much. I am a high school student, but still feel many stresses and anxieties in my daily life. I have been searching for a cure that will allow me to focus better and become less stressed. Thank you for providing it for me.
Thank you so much for your thorough blog regarding headaches. I had my first deep tissue massage yesterday and am suffering despite drinking lots of water.
You provided more effective tips than I knew of! 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing.
To your health,
just tried the chi kung breathing exercise and it really helped!!! my headache is still slightly there but it definetely isn’t as painful as before!! thanks for the tips!!
I get bad sinus allergie headakes in the spring (right now.) Lots of water, a little bit of caffeine, one alergy pill, one excedren migraine pill. If I’m at home when this hits then I also eat nonstop. Lots of protein, more water, a little bit of something sweet. A 14oz can of peaches in juice. Then if a nap until I wake up again.
Getting away from the light and sounds is critical. Healthy foods are a must every day. Lots of fruit and veggies. Spinich and sunflower seeds are two I found that help.