Handling Headaches: Self-Remedies to Use at the Office

Woman with headache at work

Headaches are a common aggravation that can cripple your ability to function. They manifest in various levels of severity and from a number of different causes. Many individuals have a natural tendency toward developing headaches and suffer from migraines or painful cluster headaches throughout much of their lives. However, for most individuals, environmental and lifestyle factors largely contribute to the development of periodic headaches.

Office Work and Headaches

Office workers are particularly prone to headaches due to the nature of their work. The strain put on their bodies often leads to migraines and tension headaches, resulting in an average of four missed days of work each year. Office environments promote headaches in a number of ways, including:

  • Muscular tension from poor posture and prolonged periods of sitting.

  • Eye strain from computer screens and poor lighting.

  • Respiratory causes from poor indoor air quality.

Tension headaches can dismantle productivity and cause serious discomfort from the characteristic of dull pressure or throbbing pain. It is critical to know how to mitigate the causes and treat the symptoms of headaches as they arise during the workday. While individuals with chronic or severe conditions should seek professional care, infrequent headache management in the workplace can be accomplished with these simple self-treatment tips.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration is a leading cause of headaches for many sufferers. Drinking water can relieve headaches within as little as 30 minutes. Keep a water bottle on hand at your desk to refresh if you feel a headache coming on.

Stretch Regularly

Muscular tension in the upper back and neck is, unsurprisingly, a leading cause of tension headaches. Sitting for long periods of time in a hunched over “goose-neck” position removes support, creating an inordinate level of strain in these areas. It is a good idea to take regular breaks to stretch during the day to loosen up tight joints and muscles. Try these simple stretches to relieve tension headaches on the job.

Practicing yoga can help to ease the muscles and prepare them for the extra pressure put on them by the workplace. Everyday mental stress, another contributing factor to headaches, can also be relaxed away with a normal yoga routine. Studies have shown that practicing yoga has a direct impact on headache occurrences and severity.

Rest Your Senses

Lack of natural light and poor fluorescent lighting combined with the glow of computer screens can put a severe strain on your eyes throughout the day. Taking breaks to rest your eyes and ears in solitude can refresh your senses and ease nascent tension headache symptoms.

Strong odors have also been shown to trigger headaches. Avoiding smells from perfumes, cigarette smoke and food can help reduce the onset of migraines. Using an air purifier in the workplace can help to eliminate harmful odors and airborne toxins that contribute to headaches.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise can help prevent headaches but moderation is essential. Heavy exercise can stress the body, leaving you more susceptible to headaches. Throughout the course of a workday, focusing on your steps and taking time to get light movement in will be beneficial. Stand up to stretch and walk around the office periodically to reset your body.

Avoid Certain Foods

Fast food is popular in the workplace for its quick convenience during a limited lunch break. However, many fast food items contain processed meats full of MSG, nitrates and nitrites that lead to increased blood flow. The added pressure can result in painful headaches. Pay attention to your diet and the nutritional value of foods you eat so that you can make changes accordingly.

Consider Bodywork

Research suggests that massage therapy can reduce the occurrence and severity of chronic tension headaches. Within one week of starting a massage therapy protocol, headache duration and frequency can be greatly reduced. Simply massaging tense areas around the head, neck and shoulders can also provide limited relief.

Like massage, an acupuncture regimen can also be effective in treating chronic conditions. Migraine sufferers have displayed notable reductions in headache severity, with the effect being comparable to that of migraine medications.

When to Seek Professional Advice

If you integrate these headache reduction strategies into your everyday routine, you should see noticeable differences in your productivity, energy and general well-being. However, if you suffer from severe pain and frequent occurrences, reach out to a professional for more effective measures.

Chiropractors can play a significant role in the management of tension headaches and migraines. Although spinal manipulation has not been shown to have a significant impact on headache reduction, chiropractors can employ modified approaches to massage, stretching and muscular engagement that have lasting results. At Apps Chiropractic, we take a comprehensive approach of chiropractic and physical therapy along with pain management to provide lasting, effective pain-relief solutions. If you experience chronic or severe headaches, contact us today.