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16 - 22 June , 2012
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HEALTH AND FITNESS
15 Ways To Be Free From Headaches
(by NESHMIA)

15 Ways To Be Free From Headaches

1. Stand On The Scales
If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30, you're 35 per cent more likely to get headaches than those with a lower BMI. And having a BMI of 40 means your chances rise to 80 per cent, according to a study at the University of Alabama and University of Louisville.

2. Consider Your Contraceptive
The drop in hormones on your pill-free week can lead to headaches. Try progesterone-only pills.

3. Cut Out Ham
Ham contains both tyramine (a natural substance in preserved foods) and nitrates (food additives). Both increase blood flow to the brain, triggering pain. Other foods to avoid include chocolate, cheese and fruits like pineapple and bananas.

4. Don't Forget Breakfast
Skipping meals causes blood sugar to dip and your body releases hormones to compensate. This causes the electrical circuit at the back of the brain to misfire, leading to head pain.

5. Cut Down On Painkillers
Popping painkillers regularly for five days can put you at risk of headache. Why? The body gets used to their effect and you become more sensitive to pain.

6. Crack Open A Can Of Coke
If you feel a headache coming on, try drinking a few cups of strong black coffee or coke. It's thought to help by constricting blood vessels which reduces the pain. Caffeine benefits are well documented – the stimulant is widely used in headache medications and is believed to make pain-relief drugs up to 40% more effective by helping the body absorb the drug more quickly, bringing faster relief.

7. Check Your Blood Pressure
If your headache is severe and accompanied by nausea, confusion or nosebleeds, have your blood pressure checked. If need be, tackle it with medication, such as beta-blockers, which slow down heart rate.

8. Keep Cool
For every 5oC increase in air temperature, headache risk jumps 7.5 per cent. The upswings in temperature cause blood pressure to dip (impairing the brain's ability to regulate blood flow), causing 15 Ways To Be Free From Headachesheadaches.

9. Put Mozart On Your iPod
You don't have to sit in a silent room to cure a throbbing head. Music therapy, particularly claiming classical music, decreases serotonin and stress levels – a common cause of headaches.

10. Focus On Your Feet
They may be at the other end of your body, but your feet may play a role in your headaches. Flat feet could mean 'excessive supination', a rotation of the foot. This causes a chain reaction through your lower back and spine and into your neck and head. Correct the problem with custom-made orthotics, which line your shoes, and try lower-limb and core-strengthening exercises and physio.

11. Prioritise Pillow Time
Lack of sleep causes levels of the brain chemical serotonin crucial to your sleep cycle to drop, sending pain soaring. As little as six hours can cause more severe and frequent headaches, according to a study.

12. Don't Strain
A so-called 'cough headache' can be triggered by coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or even bending over. But it only affects around 1% of all headache sufferers, and men more than women.

13. Swap Chinese For Italian
MSG (monosodium glutamate) is often found in Chinese cuisine and can, by dilating blood vessels, cause a headache, say researchers. Go for Italian instead – delicious and MSG free.

14. Reach For Sugar-Free Gum
Some people are particularly susceptible to the artificial sweetener aspartame, getting head pain as soon as it's ingested, according to a study at the University of Washington, Seattle. Exactly how it causes headaches is uncertain, although it may occur by dilating blood vessels – a well-known trigger.

15 Have An Eye-Lift
Okay, it's for serious sufferers only but a new procedure combines nerve compression surgery with a cosmetic eye-lift. During the operation, doctors relieve pressure to the critically sensitive nerves around the eye that can cause migraines.

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