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6 Natural Ways to Avoid Seasonal Headaches


With so much to do for the holidays, there’s no time to be sidelined by a bad headache. Luckily, you don’t have to suffer: We’ve got some just-in-time good news, with six study-proven strategies help you enjoy the holidays pain-free!  

Tame Tension With Post-Meal Rubs

Just keeping your jaw muscles relaxed — so they don’t pinch pain nerves — will instantly cut your risk of tension headaches by 55 percent, British researchers report. And it’s easy! Twice a day, say, after breakfast and lunch, massage the spots along your cheekbones and jawline with firm, circular motions, starting at your ear and working toward the center of your face.

Banish Migraines With a Warm Soak

Treat yourself to a 20-minute relaxing soak at the end of each go-go-go day, and your risk of a holiday migraine will drop by 75 percent. According to Johns Hopkins University researchers, the blissful sensation of being immersed in warm water boosts your brain’s release of pain-preventing hormones, such as serotonin and oxytocin.

Stop Sinus Pressure With a Warm Compress

Your risk of a sinus headache triples when you’re fighting a cold or a flu virus — and germs are everywhere this time of year! When you feel congestion coming on, try this: Three times daily, warm your cheeks and forehead for 60 seconds with a warm, wet washcloth. Jordan Josephson, M.D., author of Sinus Relief Now ($12.41, Amazon), explains that damp heat quickly opens and drains sinuses, reducing pain-triggering congestion in as little as 15 minutes.

Halt Morning Pain With Magnesium

Taking 400 milligrams of magnesium daily during the holidays — ideally, at bedtime— will cut your risk of am headaches by as much as 78 percent, say Duke University scientists. Explains neurologist John Chen, M.D., magnesium deepens sleep, relaxes tense muscles and calms pain nerves — three keys to preventing early morning pain flares. Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.

Drink a Cup of Java 

Believe it or not, sipping a mug of coffee can shut down a tension headache in 30 minutes — and pairing it with migraine meds boosts the meds effectiveness by 40 percent!

Bundle Up! 

As it turns out, grandma was right — research proves that putting on a coat, even when you’re just dashing outside to get the mail, is always a good idea. Staying warm keeps shoulder and neck muscles relaxed, cutting your risk of winter headaches by as much as 33 percent. 

This story originally appeared in our print magazine. 

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