7 ways to stop a headache from growing

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You feel that telltale pounding in your head, don’t give in to the pain. One of these seven tips can head off a headache before it ruins your day.

1. Press pressure points

There are two pressure points known to relieve headache pain. One is on your forehead. Press a thumb between your eyes while pressing down on your hairline with your first two fingers. The other pressure point is at the base of the web of flesh where the bones of your thumb and forefinger meet. Press hard with your opposite thumb.

2. Use your nose

Whiffs of peppermint can alleviate tension headaches. Some research, however, suggests that aromatherapy may only be useful if you like that particular smell. If you despise the odor of peppermint, try sniffing a green apple, another scent that has also had some success.

3. Sip some coffee

A jolt of caffeine as you feel a migraine coming on might sidetrack the attack. Try having some strong coffee, cola or a caffeine-laden energy drink.

4. Just breathe

Learning how to relax can help combat tension, a common migraine trigger. Breathe slowly and deeply, with your eyes closed, concentrating on nothing but your breath.

5. Step away

Go for a brisk walk. Mild exercise improves circulation, which counters the constriction of blood vessels that is a common precursor to headaches.

6. Apply frozen veggies

Grab a bag of frozen peas and apply it to the base of your neck while lying in a quiet, darkened room. Ice is an effective anti-inflammatory and it numbs pain—so try it on your throbbing temples, too.

7. Put your mind to work

Close your eyes and imagine your pain as an object—a burning sun, perhaps—then picture it shrinking into the distance, or douse it with water, until it disappears. This technique, called visualization, takes practice but has been proven effective.