Health
0

Break Free from the Bondage of Headaches

If you suffer from headaches, you are not alone.  45 million Americans are suffering with you.  Because so many experience headaches, many think it’s normal—but it’s not.   It is not natural to have headaches daily, or even three to four times a week.  Nor is it typical to take headache medication on a daily basis just to prevent or minimize the intensity of your pain.  Standard headache sufferers experience headaches two to three times per year, each lasting about three to four hours.  If you endure headaches more frequently than this, something is wrong.Man felt severe pain on the body

The most common type of headache is a tension headache.  This type of headache is not caused by a disease or serious pathology, but is due to trauma or poor posture that causes your upper vertebra and muscles to compress or irritate a nerve that starts at the base of your skull and goes right above your eye.

Knowing that the majority of headaches stem from these things means that there are actions you can take to limit the tension and decrease the time you spend suffering.  Muscle tension headaches can often be avoided by maintaining proper posture and neck movements while performing your normal activities.

What Can You Do?

  • If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer or sewing machine, take a break and stretch every thirty to sixty minutes. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.
  • Avoid slouching.
  • Avoid reading with your neck bent forward.
  • Keep your computer monitor at eye level.
  • Find ways to reduce your stress – like exercise. Even a brisk 15-minute walk at lunch time or in the evening can help.

* Be sure to rest.  A 15- to 20-minute power nap can do wonders.  Do some deep breathing and meditation.

  • Avoid teeth clenching. With the exception of chewing and swallowing, the upper teeth should never touch the lowers. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull – leading to TMJ irritation and a tension headache. If you find yourself clenching your teeth or grinding them at night, put warm moist heat on your jaw and gently massage the muscles.

* Seek proper treatment to get the underlying problem fixed rather than masking the symptoms with medication.  A study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches, and those who received chiropractic treatment experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit after four weeks when compared to those who received only medication.

What we eat and drink can also contribute to headaches.  Here are a few tips to improve your diet and nutrition:

  • Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. At that point you are already dehydrated.
  • Avoid caffeine. Foods such as chocolate, coffee, sodas and cocoa contain high levels of the stimulant.
  • Avoid foods with a high salt or sugar content. These foods may cause migraines, resulting in sensitivity to light, noise or abrupt movements.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. These drinks can dehydrate you and cause headache pain.
  • Other headache sufferers may want to avoid not only caffeine, but also high-protein foods, dairy products, red meat and salty foods.

The next time you are suffering from a pounding, throbbing headache, don’t simply grit your teeth and carry on or pop a pill and hope the pain goes away.  Instead, remember what may be causing your pain and show your body how much you care about it.  If you take some simple actions to treat your body well and fix the underlying cause of your headaches, soon your recurring pain will be a thing of the past.

Share:
  • googleplus
  • linkedin
  • tumblr
  • rss
  • pinterest
  • mail

Written by Dr. Brent N. Wall, Chiropractic Physician

Dr. Wall has been practicing chiropractic for ten years. He received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from BYU, and then went on to graduate cum laude from Western States Chiropractic College in Oregon. After graduating, he returned home to open a practice in Spanish Fork. His greatest desire is to help inspire change within his patients and empower them to make healthy choices so they can start living life without limitation. He enjoys cycling, triathlons, and being with his family.

EMAIL
Facebook
TWITTER
Instagram