Solving Headaches

Say Goodbye to Headaches! What gives you a headache? I’m sure any number of factors come to mind. Stress is the most common answer and leads to “tension headaches.” And what about the familiar stuffy sting of sinus pain? Then there are those awful migraines, the angriest of the headaches, accompanied by a whole host of symptoms including nausea or vomiting, stomach pain, and/or sensitivity to bright lights, loud noise and strong odours. Sometimes smells can even trigger a migraine!

Did you know there are 150 different types of headaches?

Getting a headache is always a good sign that something is off in your body. They can be triggered by a wide variety of factors that are usually fairly easy to identify once you tune into your body and familiarize yourself with what it needs.

Top Headache Triggers

Dehydration

Research shows that water-deprivation headaches are among the most common types of headaches people experience. Just think, how often do you fall short of the daily recommended eight glasses of water? Staying hydrated not only help limit headaches, but it also improves concentration and significantly decreases irritability.

Stress

Chances are, at some point in your life, you’ve experienced a headache in response to stress or tension. You’re barely treading water, with too much to do and not enough hours in the day. Your baby just won’t stop screaming, but you need to get the grocery shopping done. Your boss is in a foul mood — again. Your head begins to pound. Stress is a fact of life. It can be hard to avoid a tension headache, but taking a mindful approach to life and prioritizing peace and wholeness, whether through yoga, meditation or gratitude journaling, can help us to manage stress better when those tense moments do show up.  

Headaches

Food Intolerances

We all know how alcohol can trigger a headache – especially when combined with dehydration, resulting in the ever-dreaded hangover.  But have you ever been drinking diet pop and suddenly felt headache-y afterward? You’re not the only one, and it’s not a coincidence. Aspartame and caffeine can act as dietary triggers that lead to headaches. Other food intolerances known for influencing headaches include Monosodium glutamate a.k.a. MSG, nitrates found in processed meats, tyramine — a natural chemical that’s also found in processed meats, as well as aged cheese; pickles and olives; snow peas, fava and broad beans; and nuts.  

Bread and pastries, cultured dairy products and yes, even chocolate, have also been known to cause headaches at times. As usual, moderation is the key, as well as taking note of what you were eating before a headache occurred so you can identify your own unique sensitivities.

Hormones

Oh, those hormones sure have a way of impacting all areas of our bodies, don’t they? So, is it any wonder that they could be to blame for headaches, too? Truth is, elevated estrogen levels can have an impact on the frequency and severity of headaches in both women and men. Because of naturally heightened estrogen levels, women are 3X more likely to experience a migraine than men! If you experience headaches or migraines on a regular basis, it is worth speaking to your healthcare practitioner about getting your hormone levels tested. Getting back into balance won’t only help your headaches, it can also change your life in a lot of other positive ways.

Natural Ways to Treat Your Headaches

Essential oils – A wide variety of essential oils can have a calming effect on headaches and also help to soothe migraines. Some good options include lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus oils.

Herbs – Butterbur and feverfew are two herbal remedies that have long been used to help treat headache pain; however, like with most herbal supplements, it is important to consult the guidance of a healthcare professional to ensure you are taking them safely and effectively.

Yoga – Yoga is proven to be one of the most effective forms of self-care to help reduce headaches. In fact, one study actually demonstrated a significant reduction in migraine headache frequency when yoga was practiced regularly over a period of just three months.

Visit your Chiropractor – Sometimes the root of your issue starts with getting your body re-aligned – literally. Headaches can be caused by misalignment in your spine and overall musculo-skeletal structure, and enlisting the help of a professional can be life changing. Encouraging results have been seen in a variety of studies, suggesting that a visit to your Chiropractor can help to reduce migraines. Participants in these studies have rated the results between good to excellent (compared to the results when using no treatment, mobilization, and ice).

Acupuncture – If you suffer from frequent headaches and want to avoid popping pills on a regular basis, you might wish to consider acupuncture. One study showed that after 3 to 4 months of treatment, patients receiving acupuncture had higher response rates and fewer headaches, with results that were possibly more effective than prophylactic drug treatment – and with fewer adverse side effects.

Headaches are unfortunately common, but they don’t have to be. If you feel like you’re dealing with more than your fair share and are having trouble pinpointing the issue, please do not hesitate to contact us at (519) 954-7950 or info@HealthSourceIMC.com and we will work to identify your triggers and solutions together.

The Team at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23832131
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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3099267/