When Stress = Headaches, Hop on Your Yoga Mat

When Stress = Headaches| Hop on Your Yoga Mat

When you’re suffering from a dull| tension headache| try these yoga poses before reaching for medication. They’re a series of forward bends and reclining poses that will soothe your head and release tension from your neck. They’ll also improve circulation| slow down your breath| and calm your mind.

| Standing Forward Bend

Begin with your feet together and fold forward| coming into a Standing Forward Bend. Use your abdominal muscles to draw your torso closer to your thighs. Shake your head gently from side to side to relieve tension in your neck. Hold for at least five breaths.

| Downward Facing Dog

Slowly walk your feet back coming into Downward Facing Dog. Lengthen through your spine and relax your head between your shoulders. Close your eyes and allow blood to circulate to your head. Stay for at least five breaths| breathing deeply.

| Child’s Pose

Lower your knees and shins to the floor and fold your torso forward coming into Child’s Pose. You can keep your knees together or separate them to increase the stretch in your lower back and hips. Either extend your arms out in front of you| or rest them beside your legs. Close your eyes and hold this stretch for five breaths or longer.

| Head to Knee

Sit up and extend your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee and place the sole of your foot against your left inner thigh. Then fold over your left leg| coming into Head to Knee Pose. Stay for as long as you want and then do the other side.

| Butterfly

Bend you knees and bring your feet together. Using your hands| open your feet up like a book and use your elbows to press your knees toward the floor. Lengthen your spine| drawing your belly button in| holding Butterfly. Relax your shoulders and gaze either in front of you or toward your feet| staying for five breaths.

| Half Wheel

Lower onto your back. Bend your knees and place your heels as close as you can toward your bum. Interlace your hands underneath you and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Lift your hips off the ground| coming into Half Wheel| also known as Bridge. If your ankles are close enough| you can hold onto them instead. Stay here for at least five breaths| feeling an opening in the shoulders and the front of the body.

| Legs Up the Wall

Stand up and walk over to a wall. Place a pillow or folded blanket against the wall| sit down on it| lift your legs up and come into Legs Up the Wall. Allow the wall to support the weight of your legs. Stay here for as long as you want| just keep breathing.

| Corpse Pose

Move away from the wall| lie on your mat and extend your legs and arms. Release every muscle in your body| coming into Savasana| Corpse Pose. You can massage your head and neck a little and then place a soothing eye pillow over your eyes. Relax the muscles in your face and shoulders| and just follow your breath. Stay here for several minutes| and when you’re ready| sit up slowly.

What’s the Deal With Alcohol and Ibuprofen?

If you wake up with a headache after a night of overindulging, sometimes figuring out what painkiller to take can make the headache even worse. Taking acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) can lead to liver damage, but take note: you’re also not supposed to drink while taking ibuprofen.

Ibuprofen drugs (like Advil) are part of the anti-inflammatory drug family known as NSAIDs, which can cause tears in the stomach lining if taken on an empty belly. Add alcohol to the mix, and the potential danger is heightened. If you take ibuprofen when drinking more than the recommended amount for women (about two to three drinks), you increase your risk of stomach irritation and bleeding. This is especially true for people who are prone to ulcers.

But wait! Taking Tylenol when you’re hungover isn’t such a good idea either, and aspirin has its downsides too. Acetaminophen can lead to liver damage if you take it in large doses for more than a couple of days. Heavy drinkers who take acetaminophen and don’t eat enough can overtax their livers. According to researchers at Harvard Medical School:

If you drink a lot of alcohol ¡ª say, on a Saturday night ¡ª and take a normal dose of acetaminophen to deal with the hangover in the morning, you probably are not going to have liver problems. . . . The trouble starts when regular heavy drinkers take a lot of acetaminophen over a period of time ¡ª several days, at least, and maybe longer. (In this context, heavy drinkers are defined as people who regularly have three or more drinks a day.) A drinking habit and a poor diet often go hand in hand. Multiple high doses of acetaminophen are more dangerous for drinkers partly because their glutathione levels tend to be low because they don’t eat well.

It may sound like popping a few Tylenols after a night or two of heavy drinking can’t hurt, but the risks associated with taking Tylenol after recreational drinking are somewhat blurry. A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory group found in a review of its database and a large liver failure study that the median dose that led to liver failure was between 5,000 and 7,000 milligrams of acetaminophen per day ¡ª scarily close to the current daily limit of 4,000 milligrams (eight extra-strength Tylenol). The FDA group recommended lowering the daily limit to 3,250 milligrams (or 10 regular-strength Tylenol pills a day) to help prevent accidental overdose.

So what’s a hungover, headache-plagued gal to do ¡ª besides not drinking so much in the first place? Since the jury is still out on the exact effects of combining Advil or Tylenol with booze, it’s probably best just to tough it out. While a recent study in rats found that coffee and aspirin are the best remedies for relieving hangover symptoms, it didn’t look at possible alcohol interactions ¡ª and it is known that taking aspirin with alcohol can increase your risk of stomach bleeding. If you’re looking to remedy a hangover, your best bet is to go natural with options like this fresh-pressed hangover juice or a yoga sequence to relieve your symptoms. Even better, help prevent a hangover the next time with these tips.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO

What’s the Deal With Alcohol and Ibuprofen?

If you wake up with a headache after a night of overindulging| sometimes figuring out what painkiller to take can make the headache even worse. Taking acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) can lead to liver damage| but take note: you’re also not supposed to drink while taking ibuprofen.

Ibuprofen drugs (like Advil) are part of the anti-inflammatory drug family known as NSAIDs| which can cause tears in the stomach lining if taken on an empty belly. Add alcohol to the mix| and the potential danger is heightened. If you take ibuprofen when drinking more than the recommended amount for women (about two to three drinks)| you increase your risk of stomach irritation and bleeding. This is especially true for people who are prone to ulcers.

But wait! Taking Tylenol when you’re hungover isn’t such a good idea either| and aspirin has its downsides too. Acetaminophen can lead to liver damage if you take it in large doses for more than a couple of days. Heavy drinkers who take acetaminophen and don’t eat enough can overtax their livers. According to researchers at Harvard Medical School:

If you drink a lot of alcohol say| on a Saturday night and take a normal dose of acetaminophen to deal with the hangover in the morning| you probably are not going to have liver problems. . . . The trouble starts when regular heavy drinkers take a lot of acetaminophen over a period of time several days| at least| and maybe longer. (In this context| heavy drinkers are defined as people who regularly have three or more drinks a day.) A drinking habit and a poor diet often go hand in hand. Multiple high doses of acetaminophen are more dangerous for drinkers partly because their glutathione levels tend to be low because they don’t eat well.

It may sound like popping a few Tylenols after a night or two of heavy drinking can’t hurt| but the risks associated with taking Tylenol after recreational drinking are somewhat blurry. A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory group found in a review of its database and a large liver failure study that the median dose that led to liver failure was between 5|000 and 7|000 milligrams of acetaminophen per day scarily close to the current daily limit of 4|000 milligrams (eight extra-strength Tylenol). The FDA group recommended lowering the daily limit to 3|250 milligrams (or 10 regular-strength Tylenol pills a day) to help prevent accidental overdose.

So what’s a hungover| headache-plagued gal to do besides not drinking so much in the first place? Since the jury is still out on the exact effects of combining Advil or Tylenol with booze| it’s probably best just to tough it out. While a recent study in rats found that coffee and aspirin are the best remedies for relieving hangover symptoms| it didn’t look at possible alcohol interactions and it is known that taking aspirin with alcohol can increase your risk of stomach bleeding. If you’re looking to remedy a hangover| your best bet is to go natural with options like this fresh-pressed hangover juice or a yoga sequence to relieve your symptoms. Even better| help prevent a hangover the next time with these tips.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO

What to Eat When a Headache Hits

When dealing with an aching head, it’s become so easy to pop some pills. If you’re trying to steer clear of pain relievers, some of the best help can come from the produce aisle.

    Potato: After a night out, you may think that a plate of greasy fries is the way to go; forget the french fries and go for a baked potato instead. Foods high in potassium have proven to help alleviate bad headaches, and a baked potato with its skin offers up to a whopping 600 mg.Bananas: The dynamic duo of potassium and magnesium come to the rescue in one tasty piece of fruit. Magnesium’s calming effects are a huge help when trying to alleviate an achy head.Watermelon: A lot of the time when dealing with a headache, chances are you may be dehydrated. A water-rich fruit like watermelon can give you a huge boost and also serves as a solid source of potassium and magnesium!Pineapple: Fresh pineapple can also help soothe your headache woes. The natural enzyme bromelain has been linked for centuries as a form of natural pain relief. It also boasts anti-inflammatory properties that can help get your head right as well.Cucumber: In the same vein as watermelon, cucumber can help cut dehydration out of the picture. Composed of 95 percent water, the highly hydrating cucumber is a perfect option for a fresh, headache-fighting snack.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Grace Hitchcock

What to Eat When a Headache Hits

When dealing with an aching head| it’s become so easy to pop some pills. If you’re trying to steer clear of pain relievers| some of the best help can come from the produce aisle.

    Potato: After a night out| you may think that a plate of greasy fries is the way to go; forget the french fries and go for a baked potato instead. Foods high in potassium have proven to help alleviate bad headaches| and a baked potato with its skin offers up to a whopping 600 mg.Bananas: The dynamic duo of potassium and magnesium come to the rescue in one tasty piece of fruit. Magnesium’s calming effects are a huge help when trying to alleviate an achy head.Watermelon: A lot of the time when dealing with a headache| chances are you may be dehydrated. A water-rich fruit like watermelon can give you a huge boost and also serves as a solid source of potassium and magnesium!Pineapple: Fresh pineapple can also help soothe your headache woes. The natural enzyme bromelain has been linked for centuries as a form of natural pain relief. It also boasts anti-inflammatory properties that can help get your head right as well.Cucumber: In the same vein as watermelon| cucumber can help cut dehydration out of the picture. Composed of 95 percent water| the highly hydrating cucumber is a perfect option for a fresh| headache-fighting snack.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Grace Hitchcock