Methods of Treatment
Although arthritis can lead to unrelenting headaches, there a couple ways one can alleviate these headaches and prevent them from happening. These methods include: mixing up your methods of pain relief, practicing meditation, and living a healthy lifestyle.
Pain medication may be a necessity for an arthritic sufferer, but mixing up your methods of pain relief can help prevent the phenomenon of rebound headaches.
There are a variety of alternatives to pain relief besides medication for arthritis:
- Lidocaine and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) gels
- Lidocaine and NSAID patches
- TENS units
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) medication
Most over-the-counter pain-relieving medications are safe and typically tolerated well, but they should be only part of the pain-relieving regimen. Again, having a meaningful conversation with your primary care physician can help you discover other pain-relieving medication and modalities so you don’t need to solely rely on the over-the-counter medications.
Meditation is also a great way to reduce your stress caused by living with arthritis. Meditation and other relaxation therapies can be a great way of breaking the cycle of focusing on your pain.
A theory supported by a recent study on meditation explains that by activating and reinforcing certain areas of the brain used in pain processing, meditation can reduce pain intensity in patients. Studies conducted within the past 10 years have shown that meditation may be able to change the four areas of the brain involved in pain processing or emotional and behavioral regulation.
Meditation also increases activity in the pain and emotion regulating areas of the brain and can help control emotional reactions to pain. It is thought meditation can decrease pain by simply lowering your stress level.
Lastly, meditation can help to reduce stress by simply pushing out the worrisome thoughts and ideas that consume most people during the week. Even a 10-minute meditation break can greatly relax a person and potentially prevent a stress headache from coming on.
Headaches are a complex symptom that manifests due to a number of triggers. However, research has shown that living a healthy lifestyle can prevent the frequency and duration of headaches.
A healthy lifestyle involves eating healthy, sleeping adequately, and having a regular exercise program. Cutting out processed foods and eating more fruits, nuts and vegetables can help reduce your weight, give you more energy, and greatly reduce your headaches.
Improper sleep by itself can cause headaches and a consistent pattern of seven to eight hours of sleep a night can help to prevent headaches.
Lastly, a consistent exercise program can improve your circulation, increase the “feel-good” hormones known as endorphins, and relax you by using up anxious energy. All these benefits of exercise can reduce the likelihood of getting an arthritis headache.