Once you give up your daily cigarettes, you significantly reduce your risk of smoking-related diseases such as cancer, heart attack, stroke and emphysema. According to the National Cancer Institute, you'll reap the benefits of not smoking very soon after you stop. However, the first few days or weeks after kicking the habit will leave you battling several withdrawal symptoms. For example, as your body begins to get more oxygen, you're likely to experience dizziness and headaches.
Wean yourself off cigarettes gradually. After months or years of smoking, nicotine builds up in your system. When you no longer sustain the level of nicotine, your body goes into withdrawal leading to symptoms such as headaches.
Practice breathing exercises, recommends QuitSmokingSupport.com. You'll feel more relaxed and experience fewer headaches. Inhale slowly and deeply, hold for five seconds and exhale slowly while counting to seven.
Stay well-hydrated as dehydration also causes headaches or exacerbates headaches caused by withdrawal. Drink lots of water, herbal teas and freshly squeezed juices to stay well-hydrated. Reduce the amount of dehydrating beverages you drink such as coffee or other caffeinated beverages.
Exercise at low intensity—for instance, go for a walk or swim, or practice yoga. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, exercises help control headache pain and reduce the number of headaches you experience. Exercise is also an effective way to combat stress, which may increase initially after you quit smoking.
Take warm baths, which are relaxing and relieve stress. Add a relaxing essential oil such as lavender. Or, try hot or cold showers, which some people find useful for relieving headaches, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Things You'll Need
Lavender essential oil
Nicotine replacement therapy
Speak to your doctor about a smoking cessation program. Although cold turkey is the leading way quit smoking successfully, nicotine replacement therapies, or NRTs, can help reduce withdrawal symptoms. However, it will take longer for the nicotine to leave your system.
Gaining weight after smoking is a common concern. However, you shouldn’t try dieting or skipping meals because it will increase your risk of getting headaches. A better approach to prevent headaches and curb cravings is to eat small meals frequently throughout the day.
In rare cases, NRTs can be addictive. Speak to your doctor if you notice you’re becoming dependent on any of these smoking cessation methods.
Is This an Emergency?
- National Cancer Institute: Quitting Tobacco: Short-term and Long-term Health Benefits
- QuitSmokingSupport.com: Common Withdrawal Symptoms after You Quit Smoking
- Alberta Health Services: What to Expect When Quitting Smoking
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Tension Headache
- National Cancer Institute: Handling Stress ... Without Smoking
- Daily Mail: I Gave Up Smoking Ten Years Ago - But I'm Still Addicted to Nicotine