Headache pain and migraine are the fourth leading cause of workplace disability, and your workday headache could have its roots outside the workplace as well as within. Workday headaches start with what you did the night before, even before coming to work. Maybe you didn’t drink enough water or get enough sleep. Then you skip breakfast, encounter strong perfume in the elevator, run full tilt into your stressful workplace, and work too hard, for too long in front of a computer screen all potential headache triggers. Most of the time, you can prevent headaches with some simple changes in your lifestyle or environment. If your headaches don’t respond to these changes, however, you could be making a fairly common mistake, writing off a migraine as just a headache. Migraines can be prevented with prescription medications, so it’s worth your while to take your achy head to the doctor and explain your symptoms. But for ordinary on the job headaches, these remedies may bring welcome relief.
Dr. suggests taking two naproxen tablets to stop headache pain as soon as it starts. If naproxen is hard on your stomach, try another over the counter headache remedy, such as ibuprofen. Make sure you don’t overdo it, however. You can’t just guzzle pain medication. If over the counter meds don’t work or you’re taking them several times a week, talk to your doctor about finding the source of your headaches.
Dehydration is one of the most common headache triggers, points out Singh. If you wake up thirsty and then go to work and don’t drink water often enough, you are almost guaranteed headache pain by the end of the day. You want to sip water through the day, but also drink plenty of water at home, the night before. To avoid a headache, your goal is to not wake up thirsty because that is a sign that you are already dehydrated.
Create a headache free zone by dimming lights or banishing glare. Shades and blinds may help cut out light from outside. If you can’t create some shade or change the orientation of your chair, Glasses with polarizing lenses or a specialized computer screen to prevent headache. Also, evaluate your chair and posture as potential headache triggers: Are you sitting up straight and supported, with your computer screen at eye level? Don’t strain your head up or down to see the screen.
Stress, stress, and more stress it’s so commonplace at home and on the job that you’d almost be surprised not to have it. But stress does contribute to headache pain. Your headache may be exacerbated by the tense muscles in your neck and shoulders and even poor quality sleep. Learning and practicing deep breathing techniques and simple desk exercises such as neck and shoulder rotations could ease the physical burden headache pain of stress.
Sitting all day at your workstation can be headache inducing, but these headaches might also be a reflection of a sedentary lifestyle. Get 25 minutes of physical activity five times a week, recommends Singh. You can break this up throughout the workday if you need to: Get up and walk around, take the stairs, or park a little farther from the office. Being active during your free time can also help prevent this type of headache.
Eating is off limits in many workplaces, and mid morning or mid day hunger can drop your blood sugar a headache trigger. Avoid arriving on the job hungry, especially if you can’t snack. Be sure to eat breakfast every day, says Singh. Don’t stuff yourself, but aim for a good variety of foods a little fruit, whole grain bread, and a protein should do the trick to prevent hunger related headaches.
Your colleague celebrates her style with a signature scent that triggers your headache pain almost instantly. This situation requires some delicacy. Check to see if there is a company policy regarding scents, like perfume.