How To Deal With Headaches
More than 45 million Americans suffer headaches, from common tension headaches to splitting migraines. It is not normal – and even harmful – to have headache after headache. The best way to deal with headaches is to try and avoid them in the first place. You can do this by keeping your body in a balanced and non-toxic state – one in which headaches are less likely to occur.
Identify and avoid the triggers. Major headache triggers include chemicals in food and beverages and even toxins in the body and air, dehydration, lack of exercise, as well as stress and loss of sleep.
Take inventory of your body. Start by looking at your diet. Common culprits include cheeses, pickles, chocolate, dairy products, alcohol (especially red wine), processed meats, onions, nuts, raisins and products that contain MSG and aspartame. Try eliminating suspected food triggers one by one from your diet for two to three weeks, and monitor what happens with your headaches.
Drink plenty of water. When we become dehydrated, the digestive system, lungs, liver and kidneys can no longer do their jobs as effectively, and this can lead to a headache. Water cleanses the colon, flushes the liver and kidneys and empties the bowels. You should drink two quarts of water daily.
Break stress patterns. Stress is a biggy and the leading cause of headaches. Find whatever stress releases work for you – it could be walking, stretching, biking, meditation, yoga, tai chi, or whatever. Taking a multiple B vitamin, at least twice daily, also helps fight the stress reflex. For many people a magnesium supplement may be useful as well. Massage, acupuncture and deep breathing can help as well. In addition to stress relief, deep breathing ensures a continuous flow of fresh oxygen into the body.
Get enough sleep. Your body uses serotonin to regulate sleep, and changes in serotonin levels can cause headaches. To prevent headaches, it’s essential to establish deep and constant sleep patterns. Avoid caffeine six hours before bed, as well as overly stimulating activities such as intense exercise. Stop working at the computer at least an hour or more before bed. Establish a regular, soothing routine, such as a warm bath.
If you have a tendency to snore, it may be a sign of sleep apnea, which prevents the body from calming down and relaxing during sleep. You will not get the proper rest and it can also lead to heart problems. If you snore excessively, talk to your doctor about a sleep test to determine whether you have apnea or not.
Engage in regular exercise. Exercise reduces stress, releases endorphins, improves blood flow, and works through muscle tension. Engaging in simple, regular activity such as brisk walks and simple stretches will go a long way toward preventing headaches, as well as improving overall health.
Headaches can spell trouble. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:
An abrupt, severe headache, a headache accompanied with fever, convulsions, confusion or loss of consciousness, headache following a blow to the head or associated with pain in the eye or ear, persistent headaches, recurring headaches in children.