Everybody gets headaches. Nurses are no exception. Some have it worse than others. As you may know, there’s a difference between a general headache and a migraine. A migraine is type of headache that’s often accompanied by some sensory disturbances. It’s recurrent, and may come with what is known as an aura (a warning sign that your migraine is coming). They may be caused by a physical imbalance in your body: not enough sleep, food or hydration for example. They can be debilitating and may prevent you from continue working. They’re usually harder to get rid of than a typical headache.
Working in the emergency department of a big hospital, I mainly get tension headaches. The noise, the fast-paced environment, the ” I can’t afford to stop for 2 seconds to drink some water” all contribute to it. If you work in an office or in front of a computer, tension headaches may happen to you too.
Here are some tips, at work and after work, to help prevent and minimize your headaches AND migraines.
While at work:
- Make sure to stay hydrated! I know it’s hard, especially for nurses. But some apps like drinkwater app can help you by sending you some buzz, or a reminded to drink water (works for me!).
- Take breaks from the computer, if you spend a lot of time in front of it at work. It can give blurred vision, tiredness and difficulty to concentrate. So try to take at least a 5 minute-break from it every 30 minutes or less.
- If you’re upset about something, don’t let it get to your head…I mean seriously. Try to get rid of any negative emotions. I know: easier said than done! But as much as possible, try not to bring any bad emotions from your work at home. Compartmentalizing is key. If you need to vent, vent. If you need to go to one of your co-workers and clarify a situation, do so. Your head will thank you for that.
- Have you tried to look at patterns? What could be some of your migraine headaches causes? When are your headaches occurring? Is there a type of food you eat that increases your risk of getting a migraine?
- Compensate for the amount of water and food you should have drank/eaten (healthy!) while at work, if need be.
- Sleep! Migraines can be precipitated by a lack of sleep too, make sure you sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night, according to the Sleep Foundation.
- Temple massages: it’s almost a reflex. When all the stress of work falls down, you’re left with that dull headache. It might be a reflex for you to run your fingertips next to your temples. But it’s been proven that the friction created improves blood blow, hence reduces tension.
- Aromatherapy: a good warm bath is always welcomed when you have a headache. Use your favorite aroma to enhance your experience.
- Meditation is a method that has been proven to increase overall well-being. Since our mind and our bodies are connected, trying this method to help relieve but also preventing headache seems quite reasonable.
- Essential oils: have you tried Organic 100% Pure Frankincense Essential Oil? It is a well
renowned oil in the natural health world (Traditionnal Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic) for its anti-inflammatory properties. I know, I was skeptical too. But after seeing a patient almost bleed to death because he was taking some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds as prescribed for a root canal, I decided to visit the natural health world for pain relief. And I’ve tried this: 1-2 drops of high quality frankincense oil behind your neck and massage the area. I then wrap a warm face cloth around my head. Some also ingest it (under the tongue). I’ve done that at least 5 times in the past year. The headaches never lasted more than 30 minutes after application (I could rapidly resume my activities whereas without it, I would either have to sleep the headache through or take an Advil) for it to go away. Placebo? Is it in my head? Possibly, but it worked. And it’s natural. You decide. What worked for me may not work for you. But studies* have shown that such oil can reduce the intensity and frequency of headaches.
Perhaps you may have some migraine headaches relief tips for us. Please do share!