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Thursday, 7 March 2013

How can I get rid of a headache, staying healthy

I’m sure the last thing you feel like doing if you have a headache is put on your trainers, get your coat and venture out for a brisk walk for 20 or 30 minutes.

If you’re like most people, you reach out for the packet of Paracetamol, Ibuprofen of Advil to get rid of that annoying headache. Going out for a walk is the last thing on your mind.

Medicine not the only way

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) which offers subsidised and even free medication to UK residents spent £61m (GBP) in 2011 on Paracetamol and £20m (GBP) on prescriptions for Ibuprofen.

The huge volume in sales of Paracetamol and Ibuprofen alone is testimony to their effectiveness at getting rid of headaches. But, these tablets can wreak havoc on your liver if not taken with care, which is one of the reasons shops in the UK restrict the amount you can purchase.

A much cheaper alternative, and can be as effective as off the shelf medication is going out for a brisk walk.

A Walk

Why a walk? One reason is that staying at home or in your office can trigger or compound your headaches. Dust mites, air fresheners and other chemical compounds in the air can contribute to your headaches, but dissipated in the atmosphere outside.

Walking can clear your head, especially where stress is a contributing factor. A brisk walk outside gets the blood flowing to your brain, providing it with more nourishment than it would get if you just sat in your armchair or went for a lie down.

The blood provides the oxygen and glucose and helps remove the carbon dioxide and urea, effectively cleaning your brain. You also get a burst of super neurotransmitters more commonly known as endorphins. These endorphins help give you that, ‘I’m on top of the world feeling’ or, ‘I’m in control feeling’.

So, the next time you feel like reaching for that packet of Paracetamol, Ibuprofen or Advil, ask what would my brain prefer? More chemicals from tablets, or a healthy dose of a supply of oxygen and glucose?