When you think of your home headaches should not be the first thing that comes to mind. Headaches can, however, occur due to many triggers present in your home, whether that is chemicals and particles in the air or stress within your family. It is well documented that migraines can be prompted by certain allergies and odours as well as stress. Surprisingly, you may find that a thorough examination of your home environment alerts you to various headache and migraine triggers.
Headaches and Allergies
The tiny particles found in the air inside your home can trigger chronic headaches. You may find that you are also experiencing regular sneezing, a dripping nose, sinus problems, a burning throat and runny eyes. These symptoms are likely to be an allergic reaction due to dust, dirt or even pet hairs and microbes. In addition, for older or disabled individuals who reside in a group home, the potential for allergic reactions is even higher due to the lack of ventilation and the re-circulated air indoors. When chemicals and other dust particles are consistently re-circulated, residents may find that the trapped particles cause particularly aggressive headaches and other allergic symptoms.
During warmer months, it’s ideal to keep windows open whenever possible. An air purifier may also be helpful for reducing allergic reactions and headaches due to air contaminants, although removing the source of your headaches is the best approach. Restricting your pet’s access to rooms you frequent the most, such as the bedroom or kitchen, can help prevent headaches. Regular cleaning to reduce dust build-up is also helpful in reducing headaches triggered by dust particles.
Stress in the Home
Stress exists almost anywhere but it can be especially upsetting when it is experienced in the home. You may be anxious, angry, tired or any number of distressing emotions from relations with your partner, extended family, children or flatmates. Returning home after dealing with stress at work or school can leave you too worn out to face additional pressures or disagreements in the home, and a severe migraine or tension headache may be the end result.
Handling stress at home is ideally done at the source so if there are ways to resolve problems and improve relations between those living in your home, this is a preferable first step. Taking a time out from a difficult situation can also be helpful. Group therapy is another option where a counsellor can objectively facilitate better communications between family members. Other useful therapies that promote relaxation are imagery, affirmations and deep breathing exercises. These can all improve your mood, reduce anxiety and encourage you to develop more self-confidence in your own abilities to handle stress and challenging situations in the home.
Create a Tranquil Place
When a headache does strike, you will want to minimize the pain and get rid of the headache as soon as possible. Having a quiet, dark room where you can lie down undisturbed is important. You may wish to enhance your bedroom with the gentle sounds of a small water fountain and have comfortable pillows for your neck and head. To alert others to your headache, you may even want to place a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door for those times when you need to be alone so you can focus on easing your head pain.
Your home should be a place of comfort and joy, not headache pain. By reducing the environmental allergy triggers that are present, addressing sources of stress and maintaining a place of solitude and respite for when headaches attack, your home can be an enjoyable place once again.