One of the the symptoms that you are bound to develop if you have an anxiety disorder are headaches. The headaches themselves are as varied as all the other symptoms. In other words, you can have different types of headaches of varying severity and frequency. The most common is called a tension headache.
This kind of headache typically makes you feel like you have a metal band around your head. The pain is mild to moderate and it bugs you because it feels like something is touching your head from the outside. These can occur frequently and are stress related, and of course your high stress levels are related to your anxiety – a very uncool cycle. And what’s worse is that the pain is just the start, many times these types of headaches are accompanied by other symptoms, like fatigue and trouble concentrating. The muscles in your scalp can also join in and feel numb – the numbness maybe on one or both sides of your head.
There are other types of headaches, such as sinus and migraine headaches, but generally the tension headache is the primary culprit causing your head pains. Speaking of pains, you may sometimes experience sharp jabbing pains on different sides of your head, including the temples. The base of your skull and neck may also get sore and feel strained.
That’s the thing about anxiety, it does strange things to your body – and since anxiety effects the muscles and your head is covered with them, you will get these types of headaches. What can you do to stop or prevent a headache? The official line is to take medication. The medications range from antidepressants to muscle relaxants. As you all know I do not endorse this method of coping, but it is an option. You can also try various types of headache elimination programs that may be of help.
Instead of doping myself, I take two Advil (or any over the counter pain killer) and wait. It really is that simple. In the most extreme circumstances I will take my two pain pills and lie down for a little while. If you are at work then this is obviously not an option. If at all possible slow your pace and just focus on the fact that this headache will not last. You may have to put up with the headache for a few hours at most, but generally they subside on their own and you will be able to continue working as you let the headache pass.
In addition to trying to relieve the pain. Try to do what you can to prevent these headaches. Make sure your eating right and that you are getting at least eight hours of sleep. Although sleep is something you may not be getting a lot of right now, you have to try and sleep well in order to maintain good health. Your brain needs to rejuvenate at night because if it doesn’t you will become even more fatigued than you already are and become susceptible to tension headaches.
These headaches may also startle you and cause anxiety and fear. You might wonder – why is my head numb? Why do I feel like there is a huge rubber band around my head? You start jumping to conclusions and assume that it is something more serious and you begin the what if game. This leads to a torrent of hypothetical situations that scare the hell out of you. Don’t play that game and instead focus on what you know to be the cause – stress and anxiety. Do not introduce fear because you’ll wind up having an anxiety/panic attack. These headaches are not dangerous and will not harm you. When they come be patient and relax. Try the best you can to not tense up and escalate your head pain. You’ll have to ride it out and look forward to fewer headaches in the future as you take steps to reduce the stress and anxiety in your life.