Headaches when Quitting Smoking

Headaches in smoking withdrawal, though not necessarily present, can be bothersome and last a few days. You may be surprised by some of the causes and remedies.

Smokers who strongly associated coffee with smoking may find themselves changing their coffee habit upon quitting smoking. Instead of drinking four, six or more coffees per day, they may decide to cut down when they quit, because of the strong association they made between smoking and drinking coffee. Others may decide that to quit smoking they have to cut out coffee altogether. Without realizing it, they thus may also initiate caffeine withdrawal. Headaches do accompany caffeine withdrawal for a few days.

Some people may decrease coffee but without realizing it, they increase their soft drink intake. Many soft drinks contain caffeine. Examine and evaluate your caffeine intake, as the results may surprise you. If you end up ingesting more caffeine, you may be initiating restlessness and insomnia. Many people do this and complain of insomnia, of waking during the night, something that didn’t happen when they were smoking.

A certain amount of stress accompanies smoking cessation. Quitting is a major life change after all, and the urges to light up, by themselves will bring about stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety can induce headaches.

A change in diet can also come about during this time without realizing it. Quitters may reward themselves by eating foods that gratify. Bulky foods can cause constipation, and constipation can cause headaches.

What can be done?
The usual headache pills bought over the counter are fine. However, taking analgesic (pain-relieving) headache medication should be combined with the following actions:

# Deep breathing:
Deep breathing brings more oxygen to your system and may help your headache. Place both hands on the upper abdomen and breathe in deeply through your nose, making sure your upper cage rises and your upper body straightens up. Hold it for a count of five and then exhale though your mouth. Do this often throughout the day. It will add oxygen to your system and may really help. A walk outdoors in the fresh air will get more oxygen to your brain. Many people relate that a walk in the evening really makes a difference.

# Relaxation techniques:
Along with deep breathing, try taking a warm relaxing bath. Pamper yourself, and create a relaxing atmosphere with lead-free candles and music if it helps to relax you. This will help reduce the stress factor causing the headache. Trying some meditation techniques will add positive impact to reduction of stress. Some people play with marbles or Chinese balls to help reduce the stress from ‘restless fingers’ that no longer have a cigarette to handle.

# Attention to Digestive changes:
It’s most important to drink lots and lots of water! Water helps to clean out those cigarette toxins from the body, and we now know that cigarettes add some 4000 toxins, including formaldehyde and arsenic and other scary things. Rinse them out of your system with water; it helps to clear the digestive tract. Quitting smoking means that nicotine is not longer being introduced into your body. Nicotine stimulated the system, including the metabolism. Therefore by cutting out nicotine, the metabolism will slow down. Quitters will feel the difference, and quitters aged forty-five and up may find some noticeable changes in their digestive system. They may feel more sluggish and constipated, and thus more headachy. Fiber should be increased in the diet. An oat bran cereal will add a lot of fiber and help to reduce constipation. Some people sprinkle some bran flakes into the sauces they make. You can add some in stir-fries without anyone noticing it. By reducing cheeses and bulk-causing foods, this will help a great deal as will fat reduction in the diet.

Many people notice a change in their digestion around the age of forty-five. Pay attention to your body. If cheese is a problem, pay attention to that and cut down the amount you eat.

If you’re not the breakfast type, and some people are not, why not try an evening snack of bran cereal, or if you don’t like bran cereal by itself, you can add it to a bowl of your favorite type. You can slip oat bran flakes into your favorite recipes and meals too. Eat fruit every single day. An apple in the morning and in the evening will add fiber to your diet, not to mention all kinds of good nutrients. We have to pay attention deliberately and consciously to increasing fiber, and increasing grains, vegetables and fruit in the diet.

Negative self-talk and rationalization can bring us back to smoking once again. Having come this far, it’s vital to really keep taking positive measures and doing really positive actions. We can so easily listen to negative self-talk. Success involves positives and striving to eliminate negatives.

Above all, don’t think that this will last. The initial headache should pass in a few days and be greatly diminished if you follow the above tips.

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