I have dealt with all kinds of headaches and migraines since I was a child, and especially since high school. They suck, and can be debilitating. The following information on what I have experienced is anecdotal. Please go see a doctor if this is a real issue in your life.
The most relevant and recent for me, and probably other college students, is a tension headache. This is caused by muscle tightness in the head, neck and shoulders. This can be caused by stress, dehydration, too much alcohol or even not enough sleep.
According to heathline.com, “Some people develop tension headaches after staring at a computer screen for a long time or after driving for long periods. Cold temperatures may also trigger a tension headache.”
If you’re anything like me, especially if you already have intense anxiety, the following symptoms might sound familiar. According to heathline, these include dull head pain, pressure around the forehead and tenderness around the forehead and scalp.
Personally, I have chronic or daily tension headaches, and they make my life more difficult than it needs to be. Some days, I have to choose what I can get done.
So what can you do about it?
Firstly, take a bath as hot as you can stand it with some Epsom salts, preferably, or get a heating pad of some kind. Even a hot, wet washcloth can help.
Heat relaxes your muscles and the Epsom salts contain magnesium that is good for sleep, digestion and muscle tightness. “An Epsom salt bath may help soothe sore muscles and reduce inflammation,” according to MedicalNewsToday. Epsom salts are not FDA approved for consumption, but bathing in them has been helpful in my experience.
Another option is to look up and do some basic head and shoulder movements. Try to look behind you by only moving your head. Look away from your computer and correct your posture.
I also, having grown up with a masseuse for a mother, know how to give self massages. It’s better if you can afford to go to a professional, but those are expensive, and I don’t live with my mother. So, start by trying to find where your muscles are tight and pressing gently on the points that feel tight. Also try gentle rubbing and kneading.
Some good points are where your head meets the back of your neck and where your shoulders and neck join. But, please bear in mind that this is all anecdotal, and it works for me.
The last thing that I have started doing is taking over the counter medication that my doctor recommended because mine are so bad. And if this is a real problem in your life, go to urgent care. Do not take more medicine than is recommended on the bottle, please, if you do decide to take medication. Aleve, for example, can cause stomach bleeding and kidney problems.
For short term relief, caffeine can help, at least for me because it helps open up blood vessels. However, reliance on this method can cause more issues in the long term.
Other types of headaches including those from concussions and visual migraines can have some of the same side effects, including wanting to lie down and feeling the need to throw up, but they are not treated in the same way. General pain relievers can help along with getting your eyes checked.
Migraines and other headaches are common but that does not make them normal. Pain is a sign from your body that something needs to be changed. So walk away from your computer, drink some water, stretch, and if need be, go see a doctor.