But next time head pain strikes why not try some of Michelle O'Connor's more fun solutions, including heaving sex, eating cherries and trying massage oil.
HAVE SEX: It can lead to “partial or complete relief” of head pain, according to neurologists from Germany. It is thought that sex triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, which can reduce, or even eliminate, a headache.
USE A BOOK AS A PILLOW: Tension headaches often originate in the small muscles connecting the neck and the back of the head. Positioning the knobbly part of the back of your head against the edge of a book and tucking your chin down towards your chest can stretch these small tight muscles and ease head pain.
GET YOUR EAR PIERCED: There is anecdotal evidence that “daith” piercing – piercing of the innermost cartilage fold of the ear – can be effective for regular sufferers. The idea is to try to replicate the pressure point used in acupuncture to relieve headaches. But try acupuncture first. An acupuncturist can even place a stud on the pressure point on your daith to wear for a few weeks to gauge the effect.
MAXIMISE YOUR MAGNESIUM: Up to 50 per cent of migraine sufferers have low levels of magnesium, according to researchers in New York. This vital mineral helps to relax nerves and muscles and is found in whole grains, nuts and seeds and dark green leafy vegetables. Alternatively, consider a supplement like Magnesium Oil Original Spray (£12.20, Holland & Barrett).
GO NUTS: Apparently, unpeeled almonds contain a natural anti-inflammatory agent called salicin which is converted to salicylic acid when eaten – and is very similar in chemical make-up to aspirin.
TRY LAVENDER OIL: Claire Kelly, an aromatherapist at Indigo Herbs, advises: “Massage it into the temples and back of the neck to relieve migraine headaches and ease feelings of nausea and anxiety. You could also add a few drops to boiling water and inhale the vapours, or add it to bath water.”
EAT CHERRIES: They’re rich in compounds called anthocyanins that block inflammation and inhibit pain enzymes.
QUIT CHEWING GUM: When a group of subjects who suffered headaches were told to stop chewing gum, 86 per cent showed improvement in the reduction of headaches.
FORGET THE HIGH PONYTAIL: Plaits, chignons, tight-fitting hats and Alice bands can all also cause headaches if the hair is pulled back tight, straining the connective tissue in the scalp.
APPLY ACUPRESSURE: With a firm, circular motion, massage the web of skin between the base of your thumb and your forefinger. Continue massaging for several minutes, then switch hands and repeat until the pain subsides.
GLUG WATER: Patients suffering from mild to severe headaches felt better when they upped their water intake to 1.5 litres a day, according to studies.
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