Nothing can ruin your day like a headache. We’ve all had them, some of us more than others. Some are mild, dull annoyances, while others can be migraine quality, forcing us to hide in a dark room, sometimes even throwing up, or losing an entire day or work. I often hear people say, “I’ve just learned to live with it.” Or, “I’ve tried EVERYTHING!” The truth is headaches are not normal, and they shouldn’t be something you just have to live with. Here are 5 simple and effective things you can do right now to help.
1) Drink more water! For more on the importance of water, check out this article
Dehydration is probably the most common cause of headaches. The blood vessels around the brain, mainly the veins, are incredibly sensitive. They are called the Dural Sinuses, and they don’t work like the regular veins you see in your arms. When we aren’t drinking enough water they aren’t as full, and this drop in pressure can cause a headache. So many things can dehydrate us: eating salty or sweet food, sweating too much without rehydrating, certain medications, drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, even sports drinks can cause dehydration since they have such high levels of electrolytes. Remember, next time you get a headache drink two big glasses of water ASAP.
2) Pressure Points: Rub any tender points at the base of skull. Massage can be helpful for relaxing tight muscles that can cause head and neck tension, but there are more specific, more effective points for relief. Feel from the bump behind your ears all the way to the bump in the center of the back of your head. If you feel any sensitive spots, push with firm pressure and rub them for about 30 seconds. Keep doing this, each time a little higher or lower on the head anywhere you find a sensitive spot.
3) Essential Oils: Peppermint, Lavender, Eucalyptus and Rosemary are four of the best oils for headaches. Peppermint: rub a few drops of peppermint oil on the temples and back of neck for a tension headache. This one is also good for focus and concentration Lavender: can be used just like Peppermint oil for tension headaches. It can also be added to a warm bath, or a few drops can be put into a spray bottle of water and used on the face and neck. Eucalyptus: pretty similar to the last two, but also a great expectorant and can be rubbed on the chest to relieve pressure. Rosemary: is also good for tension headaches, but is really effective if the headache is from low blood sugar. With any essential oil you should use a carrier oil. This is a regular food grade oil, like Coconut or grape seed. Put some in your hand or a small dish and then add the Essential Oil to it. Essential oils are very strong and some can cause skin irritation. Remember, a little bit goes a long way.
4) Get Adjusted!: When the bones in the neck move out of alignment a headache can quickly follow. The pressure from on the nerves that come out between the bones creates irritation, and these nerves go to the entire face and head. There’s actually a word for it: Cervicogenic. These links below have a bunch of research studies about headaches and getting adjusted.
You’ll find over 30 studies on everything from the common headache, to migraines, to post-concussive, even pediatric headaches and how chiropractic care can help.
5) Chemical Origin: Many headaches are caused by a build-up of toxins in the body or certain chemical toxins, sometimes even a food additive. Many people have headaches from MSG, Nitrates/Nitrites, Gluten (wheat), food preservatives/dyes, even plain old sugar. Keeping a food journal can help you identify the types of foods/additives that you react to. Cleansing can help if it is due to a build-up of toxins.
While medication has its place, over-medicating can often create worse effects than the original issue. Over 125,000 people a year die from NSAIDS (Ibuprofen, Naproxen, etc). Opiods have created an epidemic of addiction, and many people who start with pills wind up switching to a much cheaper form, heroin, when they can’t get the scripts refilled anymore. There are much better choices out there to get to the root cause of the headache and not just mask the symptom.
So please, if you or somoeone you know suffers from migraines or headaches, give us a call, shoot us a message, or pop in for a free consult. We’ll getcha’ feelin good in no time!