Headaches While Traveling – Causes and Management
Travelling is an exciting occasion for most of us. Come summers, you want to fly out to a beachy destination or take a road trip to a villa nestled in greenery. However, all is hunky-dory until a headache creeps in. When that happens, all the fun and excitement go out of the window and is replaced with an irritability that can make your trip go kaput.
There are many reasons why you may suffer from a headache while traveling. Some of the reasons are:
Motion sickness: Motion sickness is a common condition, characterized by the disturbance of the balance system, which includes but is not limited to, the inner ear. In layman terms, it is a conflict among your senses – your eyes see one thing, your muscles feel another and your inner ears sense something else. These mixed signals make you feel dizzy and bring out a headache. You can experience motion sickness whether you’re traveling by car, flight, train or boat.
Heat: Humidity and changes in weather can both be triggers for headaches. Another common reason for a heat-induced headache can be the glare of the sun. One main cause for a heat headache is actually dehydration. Your body needs more fluids to function as the temperatures outside increase. You sweat by way of the body cooling down and, in this process, you lose vital electrolytes like water and sodium. If you don’t hydrate yourself regularly during the summers, you can suffer from dehydration which can trigger a headache.
Airplane travel – Most people experience a headache while flying. This is mostly due to the imbalance between the cabin air pressure and those in the frontal sinuses. Other reasons could include lack of sleep, stress and holding the neck and head stiff while sitting through the duration of the flight.
High altitudes – A headache can also be a symptom of altitude sickness. Headache at altitudes has had an incidence of 25-62% through many related studies and can occur commonly over 8,500 feet above sea level. This occurs due to the low levels of oxygen. The body may not get enough to nourish all your tissues, a condition called hypoxia.
Therefore, the next time you travel, it is advisable to keep the following tips in mind.
Let in fresh air – If you are travelling by car, it is advisable to open a window to let fresh air in and remove the source of odors that could be inducing a headache.
Sit next to the driver’s seat – Sitting in the front passenger seat can help you focus on a fixed point in a distance, say the horizon, and can resolve the mismatch between your balance system detecting motion and you being still.
Sit comfortably – When flying, adjust your seat or use a neck pillow for comfort.
Stretch – While in a car, request to take breaks so that you can get some fresh air and stretch your legs and neck. In a flight, stand up and move whenever possible. You can also perform in-car or in-flight exercises at your seat – stretch and flex your toes, roll your shoulders and twist your torso time to time to ensure reduced stiffness.
Take breaks – While on a road trip keep in mind to take frequent breaks if you feel a headache coming on. If you’re hiking to higher altitudes, take a break to acclimatize yourself to the environment.
It is also important to sleep well before you set out to travel, keep yourself hydrated and nourish yourself with a light diet to prevent headaches while travelling. You can also keep a headache relief roll-on with you during your travels for quick and lasting relief. One such natural headache reliever is the Zandu Roll On. It is a quick-action ayurvedic solution containing power-packed essential oils of eucalyptus, gaultheria, capsaicin, etc. making it a smart and cool way to treat headaches, anytime, anywhere. It is pocket-sized, non-sticky and non-greasy and infused with a pleasant menthol aroma. Make it a part of your travel essentials kit and get relief from headaches instantly. However, if your headache persists during travelling, you should consult a doctor for further course of action.