The Chiropractors at Oshawa South Chiropractic see a lot of headache patients, and the advice they've given has helped many of them experience less frequent headaches. Keep reading for some of their favorite tips.
See your Chiropractor. The nervous system is at the root of all types of headaches. The structures of the neck and especially where the neck meets the skull affect the brainstem, blood flow to the brain, balance, dizziness, sinuses, vision, and of course tension headaches and migraines. If the neck is out of alignment from past trauma, chronic postures, stress, or lifestyle habits, then these structures must be realigned in order to have proper health and improve or correct headache symptoms.
Improve your posture. Improving your posture can make all the difference in the world when it comes to headaches. Many of us spend our days working in an office or sitting down at a computer with little to no movement, and many of us are guilty of poor posture. We slouch, slump, and hunch forward, which strains our muscles and creates nasty headaches. Your maximized living doctor will give you personnel recommendations on how to correct postural faults and may recommend ergonomics and assistive devices like “wobble” cushions to help.
Drink water. Lack of water affects the supply of blood and oxygen and thus causes a headache. Drinking a cool glass of water can cure a dehydration headache within minutes. Stay hydrated daily by drinking plenty of fresh filtered water.
Take magnesium. Headache researchers say that migraine sufferers should keep this essential mineral in their medicine chests. Turns out, migraineurs (the term docs use to describe folks who get these head-splitters) have low levels of magnesium in their brains during attacks and may also have a general magnesium deficiency. In fact, two placebo-controlled clinical studies have shown that taking magnesium supplements can prevent the headaches. Experts recommend taking 400 milligrams a day of chelated magnesium, magnesium oxide, or slow-release magnesium. Note: Magnesium may cause diarrhea in some people. Magnesium is also high in foods like pumpkin seeds, mackerel, dried figs, and dark chocolate.
Get more vitamin B2. In one study, 59 percent of participants slashed migraine frequency by half after taking 400 milligrams of this vitamin (known as riboflavin) daily for three months. For the volunteers who took a placebo, just 15 percent of them reported fewer migraine events. Almonds, sesame seeds, certain fish, and some hard cheeses are high in this vitamin.
Take my advice and just take a high quality multivitamin and extra vitamin D. The aforementioned magnesium and B2 deficiencies as well as many other vitamins and minerals will be found in a good quality multivitamin. Follow a healthy living eating plan, take your multi and vitamin D, and you will insure that you and your family are getting optimal nutrition.
Use Ice. The cold from ice helps reduce inflammation that contributes to headaches. Applying an ice pack to the back of your neck can give you relief from a migraine headache. You can also place a washcloth dipped in ice-cold water over your head for five minutes. Repeat the process several times.
Massage helps. Seek a Registered Massage Therapist for the best results. Doing some light massage can distract you from the pain, as well as improving circulation and relieving tension. For a basic massage, gently press your fingers over your temples, and move them in slow circles. Do a scalp massage. Hop in the shower and treat yourself to a long scalp massage as you shampoo your hair.
Find two tennis or racquet balls and put them in a sock. Lie on a flat surface and place the two balls just below the base of your skull, on the occipital bone, and relax. You may feel sinus pressure or minimal discomfort at first but it will go away. This is especially helpful for sinus headaches.
Have someone else massage your neck and back if possible. The simple touch of someone else who cares about you can relieve a lot of tension instantly. Have them focus on the occipital region as well.
Gently massaging the bridge of your nose can help relieve sinus and migraine headaches.
Firmly massage the acupressure point on each hand where the thumb and index finger bones meet (second metacarpal bone). Its best if somebody does this for you, so both hands can be massaged simultaneously, but if that’s not possible, massage one hand for five minutes, and then massage the other hand.
Apply this oil to your hairline; it creates a cooling sensation that relaxes the muscles in your head and neck. You can find this oil in health stores for $6.
you can buy fresh ginger at your local grocery store. Crush up an inch of ginger root and add it to boiling water. This homemade tea reduces inflammation in about the same amount of time as it would take an aspirin to work.
The active ingredient in this cream is cayenne pepper. Apply a small amount to the inside of your nostril that’s on the side of your head where you are experiencing pain. The cream works to block nerve pain signals. This effective remedy can be purchased for about $11 in a health food store.
In clinical trials, this supplement from the sunflower family has been shown to be effective for treating migraines. It reduces inflammation, which takes pressure off the nerves and helps to prevent migraines entirely. It costs around $12 and comes in capsule form.
An herb called butterbur has proved itself so effective for migraine relief that physicians who specialize in treating migraines often recommend it. At least three studies have been conducted on Petadolex, an over-the-counter butterbur extract, and in each study, the herb has significantly reduced migraine attacks when compared to a placebo. Recommended dosage is 75 milligrams twice a day for one month, then 50 milligrams twice a day
See your dentist. If you have jaw misalignment, tooth decay, abscesses, or post-extraction infection, these can be a source of headaches.
See your optician. If you need glasses but it has gone undiagnosed, your eyestrain could be causing unnecessary headaches.
Keep a record of your headaches. This will help you to identify patterns that bring about headaches, such as after a particularly stressful period at work, after communication problems, after eating certain foods, starting your period, etc. and will be a way that you can start learning to head off a headache before it even begins to develop.
See a doctor very quickly if you experience any of the following:
A headache that feels worse than any you’ve ever experienced before. Headaches that change in their pattern (for example they’re usually mild and suddenly they’re severe). A headache feels unfamiliar or abrupt. A headache that worsens over days and doesn’t stop. A headache with neck pain and a fever (it might be meningitis). Epileptic fits, convulsions, vomiting, inability to tolerate bright light, rashes, weakness in any part of your body, or your personality changes.
Acupressure is derived from the ancient Chinese healing method of acupuncture. Pressure points are clusters of nerves located at various points on the body, which help regulate blood circulation. Stimulating the pressure points by massaging them will help relax the tight muscles and increase blood circulation, thus relieving the headache. See a registered acupuncturist for further information or treatment.
Locate your temples. They’re on either side of your head about 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) behind your eyes. Place your thumbs on your temples and simultaneously massage them by gently rotating your thumbs in a counter-clockwise direction.
Place your thumbs at the back of your neck, on the base of your skull on the two sides of your spinal column. Tilt your head back a bit and press your thumbs in while pushing slightly upward.
Find the meaty part on the back of your hand. It is just above the webbing between the thumb and the index finger. Using your other thumb, squeeze the muscle by pressing down hard.
Using your index fingers, gently massage the inside ends of your eyebrows just above the bridge of your nose.
Place your index finger between your big toe and your second toe. Move your finger up about 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) to where the bones of your toes meet the inside of your foot. Press that point straight down.
Rebound headaches much like overuse of nasal decongestants can lead to a perpetually stuffy nose, rebound headaches are chronic headaches caused by medication overuse. How often is too often? Regularly taking any pain reliever like acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) more than twice a week, or taking triptans (migraine drugs) for more than 10 days a month, can put you at risk for rebound headaches in just a few months.
Go nuts. Instead of popping a pill when you get a headache, toss back some almonds. For everyday tension-type headaches, almonds can be a natural remedy and a healthier alternative to other medicine. It acts as a pain reliever because it contains something called salicin, which is also an agent in popular over the counter killers. Try eating a handful or two of these wholesome nuts when you feel the ache start to set in.
Note: People who suffer from migraines may find that almonds are a trigger food.
Avoiding Certain Foods. Some foods can cause headaches and migraines. Limit foods rich in sodium (salt), saturated fats, cholesterol, Trans fats, and added sugars. Foods like milk, butter, cheese, cream, meat products, red wine, caffeine, and chocolate are known headache triggers. You should also try to avoid foods with nitrites and sulfites in them. These dilate capillaries in the brain and increase blood flow which causes pain.
Avoid MSG. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is added to food to enhance its flavor. It is derived from an amino acid, called glutamic acid, which occurs naturally in various foods. Many people who suffer headaches find that foods containing MSG triggers migraines or other types of headaches, possibly due to the fact that it excites our neurons. Make sure you read food labels to check if the product has MSG, the FDA is requires companies to list it, however it can also be hidden as a component of other ingredients. Watch for some of these words, which can give away “hidden” MSG, and be extra cautious around Chinese food, processed meats, canned vegies, gravy/soup/dip mixes, and soy-based items.-Gelatin-Yeast extract-Anything “hydrolyzed”-Textured protein.
We hope you implement some of these tips and find success in the fight against headaches! As always, please feel free to comment and share on Facebook.