7 Tips to Stop Headache when Quitting Smoking

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

Quitting smoking can be tormenting, especially when you have to deal with persistent headaches on top of nicotine cravings. Even though these are normal, they can really stress you out and tempt you to light up once again. Fortunately, you can stop smoking today without having to struggle with debilitating headache. Here are some tips for you:

1)   Try not to stop abruptly

African-American-Woman-Feels-S-44442757 If the nicotine levels in your body are too high, you may experience severe withdrawal symptoms once you quit. Consider cutting back slowly in your cigarette consumption,if you are a heavy smoker. For instance, you may cut your cigarette use by 25 percent each week. This is less likely to bring you headache. Also, other symptoms of withdrawal will be more tolerable.

2)    Drink plenty of water. Water is a simple yet very effective remedy for headache. Making sure your body is hydrated will help reduce the severity of your headache. While caffeine can provide pain relief, too much of it can lead to dehydration, which in turn, aggravates your headache.

3)    Sweat. Make regular exercise a part of your smoking cessation plan. Physical activity triggers your brain to release endorphins, the natural painkillers in your body. These hormones also have the ability to improve your mood and sense of well-being, helping you deal with nicotine cravings and all other psychological effects of quitting smoking. If your headache is too severe, gentle forms of exercise are recommended, such as yoga, Pilates, tai chi, and walking.


4)    Consider taking prescription medication. There are quit smoking drugs available upon prescription. They work by blocking the nicotine receptors in your brain, helping you ward off smoking urges which can make your headache worse.

5)    Be careful with alcohol. Alcohol, particularly red wine and red liquor, can trigger headache or aggravate your condition when you are already suffering from it. What’s more, alcoholic drinks can intensify your cigarette cravings. Fruit juice like lemonade would be more appropriate.

6)    Get enough sleep. When quitting smoking, make sure you are getting 7-8 hours of nighttime sleep. Your body needs it to overcome stress, which worsens withdrawal symptoms. Rest is also critical to preventing or combating nicotine-induced headache.


DID YOU KNOW?
Water is a simple yet very effective remedy for headache. Making sure your body is hydrated will help reduce the severity of your headache.


7)    Take time off. Have a break from your usual work and take a vacation if possible. You need a lot of fresh air and quiet time to deal with the challenges of quitting smoking. Learn some relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation. They are effective in alleviating headache.

Headache which comes with smoking cessation may be hard to deal with, especially during your first days and weeks. But as the levels of nicotine in your body go down, you will experience a significant improvement in your overall health and well-being. Headaches are temporary. There’s a bigger reward waiting for you once you have successfully quit. So simply follow the tips given here to make quitting easier for you. Good luck on your quit smoking journey. You can surely win it!


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