Chronic or frequent headaches are among the commonest problems plaguing students working long and hard for their Board exams. The reasons can be many. Some are related to overwork, stress and anxiety related to the exams, others to physiological triggers such as skipping or erratic meals, too much caffeine, sudden change in sleep patterns or incorrect posture.
In some cases, headaches are caused by eye strain, viral cold or sinus infection, so these should be ruled out if you develop a sudden headache.
There are a number of things that you can do to help avoid it.
1. The best way to prevent headache is to learn what triggers it and then try to avoid those things. Take a note of all such activities, which tend to increase your headache.
2. Take a break from activities that provoke headaches, such as using the computer for a long time.
3. Try to focus on far away objects intermittently for approximately 30 seconds.
4. If you wear spectacles, it is best to get your spectacles checked. If you don’t wear specs, get your vision checked at least once.
5. A simple head massage often helps. Apply simple ‘pain balms’ over maximum areas of pain and massage it gently if pain is bothersome.
6. Use pillow in such a manner that your neck muscles are supported at the back while lying down or sitting in bed.
7. Take painkillers for headache only if required. Paracetamol tablet has least side effects; aspirin in limited quantity (not more than 2-3 tab daily) may be safe but needs to be taken after a meal. Taking aspirin frequently may give you acidity and abdominal upset.
8. If neck muscles are stiff, gentle exercises of neck (looking left, right, up and down for a few second intermittently) may help. Avoid any neck movement, which causes undue pain.
9. Intervals between meals should not be long, so take healthy snacks (fruits, almonds) inbetween meals to avoid low blood sugar which can give headache.
10. If still headache persists, get your blood pressure and sinuses checked.