If you’re anything like me, chances are the heat can really get to you. Between hot humid weather in the north east, and a chronic tense back and neck, headaches pretty much go hand in hand with summer heat, and trust me, I’d rather it not.
Headaches are tricky things. For such a common ailment, it’s amazing to me that we don’t know more about the causes, how to make them go away, or stop coming on all together. I do know for me at least that there are a few main triggers: allergies, heat, and neck/back tenseness. I’ve tried just about everything out there to no avail, because, unless I want to take meds for all three triggers, there’s really nothing that will address them together. Here’s a few tips on what helps me.
- Stay hydrated. This may go without saying, but it’s just as true for us as it is for our four legged friends. Staying hydrated helps the body deal with allergens like pollen, and keeps dehydration from setting in, which is another cause for headaches in the heat.
- Stretch. Keeping my neck and back muscles loose and moving always helps. I work at a computer most of the day, so taking breaks to go for walks, hiking when I can, and just getting up to stretch always helps.
- Keep cool. Ahh, if only this were easier, but it’s an important part of the equation. A cool towel around the back of the neck can make a huge difference in keeping the body cooler in hot temps. Make sure it’s not too wet, otherwise it can inhibit sweating, making you even hotter.
- Stop squinting! Really! Not only does it give you wrinkles, it can give you headaches too. Grab a hat and/or sunglasses and let your brow and eyes relax. I bet you don’t even realize how much you squint throughout the day on bright sunny days, even when you’re sitting in the shade. Start paying attention to this, and then grab that hat or sunglasses and let your head relax.
- Speaking of hats…keep your head covered when in the sun. It may seem counterintuitive, but wearing a hat to keep your head out of the direct sunlight can be a huge help. I’ve even been known to jump in the pool with a hat on my head so that I can keep it out of the sun.
If all of the above fails, and you still wind up with a headache, the best tip I’ve ever heard was cool the head and heat the feet. It draws the excess blood flow out of the skull where it’s causing the pressure and pain of the headache, and down to the feet. Personally I love my Draper neck wrap. I leave the lavender one in the freezer so that I can throw that around my neck and the eye pillow on my head to cool down. Then with Draper socks, it helps pull the circulation around my feet. Usually in about 10 – 15 minutes I can feel the easing of the headache.
I’ve got a lot of friends that get headaches as well, and my favorite gift to them is the Draper trio of eye pillow, neck wrap, and socks. So far, everyone’s said they love theirs and feel like it’s helping.
Do you get summer headaches? What do you do to beat the heat? Share your tips and tricks and let us know what works best for you!