Identifying And Easing Anxiety
It’s possible to become so fixated on the physical effects from your anxious state that you don’t even realize you were anxious to begin with, says Dr. Barsky. So, how do you know if anxiety is causing your symptoms? And if it is, how can you feel better? Dr. Barsky offers some tips to help you interrupt this cycle.
Stop and assess. “The first step is to pause for a second and observe what’s going on with your body,” says Dr. Barsky. Think about what you are experiencing and whether it relates to a feeling of emotional upset or a reaction to something alarming or stressful. If your symptoms followed a stressful event or period of time, it’s possible these emotions triggered your symptoms. Also, be alert to signs that you are tensing your muscles, which can also indicate a stress reaction.
Relax your body or work it. To relieve stress, try some deep breathing or relaxation exercises. There are numerous online resources and smartphone apps that can help guide you through relaxation techniques. Physical activity can also help you relieve tension. Try to squeeze in a daily walk or a run.
Reassure yourself. If you believe your symptoms are being caused by anxiety, reassure yourself that what you are experiencing is not harmful or fatal. “They’re not serious, and they don’t signal an impending medical disaster,” says Dr. Barsky. The symptoms will pass when the anxiety eases.
Does It Matter Which Side The Piercing Is On
In theory, yes it does matter what side the piercing is on. Get the piercing on the side of your head where your anxiety-related pain tends to cluster.
If youre not trying to treat anxiety-related migraines, it doesnt make a difference which side of your head you get the piercing on. Assuming that the anecdotal evidence holds, the piercing may help easy other anxiety symptoms regardless of which side its on.
If you dont experience migraines from anxiety, this wouldnt really matter.
Treatment For Anxiety Headaches
The first thing to do, if you haven’t already, is talk to your doctor. Theyâll likely ask about your symptoms and health history. Try to give as much detail about your symptoms as you can.
Your doctor may suggest:
Medicine. Some drugs for anxiety, such as anxiolytics, tricyclic antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors , can also treat headaches. If they don’t work for you, you may need more than one drug.
You’ll have regular checkups to see how well the medicine works for you and to make sure your headaches don’t get any worse.
Therapy. You might also get different types of therapy to help with anxiety issues. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be particularly effective for people with anxiety and migraines. It helps you become more aware of your thoughts and behaviors so you can change them to lessen your worry and anxiety. You can often see results within a few months.
Muscle relaxants.Tizanidine may help prevent some tension headaches.
Certain non-medication treatments may help, too.
Heating pads. Putting them on your shoulders and neck may help ease tension and keep the headache away.
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Anxiety During A Migraine Attack
During an attack, there often is palpable anxiety, worry, and fear. Thoughts racing, you may find yourself fretting over any number of Migraine-related woes.
How long will it last this time? When will my medication kick in? How many days will I be bedridden and out of commission? Will I be able to get the housework done this week? Am I letting down my spouse?
And those are just the immediate worries. We often catastrophize, as Dawn Buse explains here.
During an attack, you may also experience anxiety wondering about the future.
Will I ever be healthy enough to maintain a full-time job? Will I graduate on time? Will I be healthy enough to care for a child someday? Will I ever be free from taking daily medication? Will I ever be fully healed?
Managing Tension Headaches At Home
A tension headache is pain or discomfort in your head, scalp, or neck. Tension headache is a common type of headache. It can occur at any age, but it is most common in teens and adults.
A tension headache occurs when neck and scalp muscles become tense, or contract. The muscle contractions can be a response to stress, depression, a head injury, or anxiety.
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Is Your Headache Caused By Eye Strain
To tell if your headache is caused by eye strain or not, remove the triggers that are straining your eyes. If your headache dissipates once the triggers that cause eye strain are removed, your headache was likely caused by eye strain. If you have systematically removed factors that cause eye strain and you still experience severe headaches, its time to see a doctor.
You should see your doctor about your headaches if they:
- Occur frequently or regularly.
How Can You Treat Stress Headachesand When Should You See A Doctor
Depending on the severity and length of your stress headache, it can go away on its own by simply taking a break from whatever activity is causing you stress, Dr. Wexler says. Lying down, meditating, or doing some light yoga are all great options.
However, if the pain is really bothersome, most stress headaches can be treated with over-the-counter analgesics like ibuprofen or naproxen, Dr. Broner saysbut be wary of the frequency with which youre taking medications. If you find that you’re taking more than once a week on a regular basis, that’s a sign that you’re getting increased headache frequency and you should speak to your doctor about what’s causing your headaches, Dr. Broner says.
Dr. Wexler also recommends that if headaches arent the norm for you, especially if youre over the age of 50, you should consider speaking to a neurologist or headache specialist, since this could signal that something else more serious is going on. Some other warning signs to pay attention to, according to Dr. Wexler, include: headaches that consistently get worse or more frequent over time, accompanied by any neurological conditions such as double vision, numbness, tingling, paralysis, loss of vision, or accompanied by a fever.
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Can I Treat A Tension
Absolutely. While medication may be helpful, its not a substitute for coping with stressors that may cause your headaches.
Other tension-type headache treatment options include:
- Home remedies, like placing a hot or cold compress where it hurts, may help you feel better.
- Counseling can help you identify whats causing your headaches and learn useful coping methods.
- Relaxation training includes deep breathing exercises and listening to soothing music. These methods can relax your muscles and relieve pain.
- Biofeedback uses sensors connected to your body to monitor and then counteract your bodys physical functions. It teaches you ways to manage stress by identifying and then reducing muscle tension. Biofeedback may relieve or prevent headaches.
When To Call The Doctor
- You are experiencing “the worst headache of your life.”
- You have speech, vision, or movement problems or loss of balance, especially if you have not had these symptoms with a headache before.
- A headache starts suddenly.
Schedule an appointment or call your provider if:
- Your headache pattern or pain changes.
- Treatments that once worked no longer help.
- You have side effects from your medicine.
- You are pregnant or could become pregnant. Some medicines should not be taken during pregnancy.
- You need to take pain medicines more than 3 days a week.
- Your headaches are more severe when lying down.
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Are Headaches From Vaping Really A Big Problem
Vaping is the common activity of exhaling and inhaling vapor produced through a device. If you have not heard of vape yet, you might know what e-cigarettes are. Around 4 million people around the world are indulged in vaping. This is because, it is now regarded a alternative for smoking cigarettes. Just like any other smoking addiction, vaping has side effects as well which include headaches, dehydration, anxiety and hair loss from extreme nicotine use, to name a few.
Even though vaping and nicotine addiction are not deemed as serious as other addictions, it can still cause a lot of problem to the host. While full-time resident facilities might not be necessary for nicotine addiction, an outpatient treatment program is a must if you find yourself addicted to nicotine.
Here we explore if headaches from vaping are really that much of a problem:
Techniques For Calming Down
Here are some of the techniques clinicians teach anxious children, adapted from CBT and mindfulness training:
Deep breathing: Drawing in air by expanding the belly, sometimes called belly breathing, helps kids relax by slowing breathing, and reducing the heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormones. It can also help relax tense stomach muscles.Mindfulness exercises: Techniques such as focusing on whats around them, what they see and hear, can help pull children away from the anxiety and ground them in the moment.Coping statements: Children are taught to talk back to their worries, Ms. Greenspan explains. They can say, Im feeling scared and I can handle it. Or something along the lines of, Im bigger than my anxiety.Coping ahead: Children are taught that when you have to do something that makes you nervous, it helps to anticipate that you might have some discomfort, and plan what you can do to counteract it, knowing that if you can push through it, it will get easier.Acceptance: This involves acknowledging the discomfort without fighting it. Instead of trying to push the feeling away and get rid of it, Dr. Domingues explains, we ask you to hold onto it and tolerate it and get through it.
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Treating The Cause: Diary
It may help to keep a diary if you have frequent headaches. Note when, where, and how bad each headache is, and how long each headache lasts. Also note anything that may have caused it. A pattern may emerge and you may find a trigger to avoid. For example, hunger, eye strain, bad posture, stress, anger, etc.
Some doctors suggest reviewing your diet. The list of foods which can be triggers in some people includes caffeinated drinks, chocolate, cheese and alcohol. Other doctors suggest focusing on a healthy balanced diet, with a good mixture of slow-release energy foods and a low intake of refined sugars.
How Can Stress Cause Headaches
Everyday stress can bring on headaches in a variety of ways. Thats because stress causes us to change our behavior without even realizing it.iv
You may still experience the occasional tension headache, but practicing the above techniques should help reduce their frequency and severity. Looking for a quick and effective way to get rid of a stress headache? Try an over-the-counter headache relief medication like Excedrin.You may still experience the occasional tension headache, but practicing the above techniques should help reduce their frequency and severity. Looking for a quick and effective way to get rid of a stress headache? Try an over-the-counter headache relief medication like Excedrin.
And while relaxation therapies and simply cutting down on the stress in your life can help to reduce the occurrence of tension headaches, chronic tension headaches may be indicative of a more serious issue. Consult a doctor to discuss and learn more about your headaches.
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The Prevention Of Tension Headaches
Tension headaches can take a heavy toll on your life. In addition to causing pain, they can also cause you to miss days of work, or impair your ability to function at work. Or they may cause you to be irritable with friends and family. If any of these things are happening to you, then you want to be sure to take one or more of the many available steps you can take to prevent tension headaches.
- Exercise – this will relieve stress.
- Learn to Detect When You Are Pushing Yourself – much of the stress and tension that we experience in life comes from pushing ourselves too hard. Learn do detect when you are pushing yourself, and then learn to gently stop yourself pushing yourself. And dont judge yourself when you find yourself pushing yourself. Just let it go.
- Biofeedback Training – biofeedback training will teach you how to stop making the muscular responses to stress that cause your headaches.
- Psychotherapy – go into therapy to find out why you are feeling stressed and/or anxious. Once you find out why you are feeling stressed, you can take measures to reduce your stress.
- Meditation – meditation will help you see why you are feeling stressed and learn to let it all go.
- Mindfulness Training – mindfulness training will do the same.
- Create a Life That is an Expression of Your True Self and Your Deepest Values – this is the best way to stop stress and anxiety. Be yourself. Believe in and love what you do.
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Simple Strategies Can Reduce The Headaches Upset Stomach And Shortness Of Breath That May Be Triggered By Emotional Stress
You’ve had headaches on and off, or possibly nausea, or muscle pain. It could be emotions, rather than a physical illness, driving your symptoms.
Blame your autonomic nervous system. This is a system in your body that you don’t consciously control, but that regulates things like your heart rate, breathing, urination, and sexual function. It’s also the system that reacts when you are under a physical threat. The autonomic nervous system produces your fight-or-flight response, which is designed to help you defend yourself or run away from danger.
When you are under stress or anxious, this system kicks into action, and physical symptoms can appear headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, shakiness, or stomach pain. “Doctors see it all the time patients with real pain or other symptoms, but nothing is physically wrong with them,” says Dr. Arthur Barsky, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
In today’s world, with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic toll, many people may be noticing new physical symptoms without realizing what’s causing them. “This is a terribly stressful time,” says Dr. Barsky. “There is stress about what our lives are like, the ominous threat of getting the virus and getting sick. It’s already clear that the pandemic is heightening anxiety and sense of stress.”
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