If you've had a headache, you should know that it can make even the simplest of tasks monumental. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 2 out of 3 children will have headaches by 15, and over 9 out of 10 adults experience headaches sometime in their lives.
It's the most common form of pain, and the primary reason people have unexpected doctor visits and missed workdays. Although headaches are something that numerous individuals are affected by, it shouldn't be part of everyday life. Many opt to pop a pill and hope the pain goes away, but this only alleviates your discomfort temporarily, doing more harm than good.
Fortunately, you can relieve headaches in many ways, from getting chiropractic treatment to making changes in your lifestyle.
Causes and Symptoms of Headaches
Headaches are a common ailment that many people deal with daily. The degree of pain or period varies, with episodic headaches lasting for a couple of hours, while chronic headaches last for several weeks. Although headaches tend to pop out of nowhere in most cases, several culprits trigger them.
A person usually gets headaches when their nociceptors or nerve endings in their brains react to triggers, which typically includes medication, stress, food, smell, anxiety, depression, noises, and lack of sleep, causing the aching, throbbing sensation in our heads. Another common cause of headaches is that your spinal bones in your neck aren't supporting your head correctly. This condition is called subluxation, and it happens when one or more of your spinal bones become misaligned due to bad posture. Subluxations can irritate the nerve structure, interfering with the flow of nerve energy throughout your body.
Symptoms of headaches include a dull aching sensation in your head, muscle aches, pressure in the side, front, top of your head, chronic fatigue, difficulty concentrating, sensitivity to light or noise, and dizziness.
Although headaches can be problematic, you don't always need to see your physician when you experience one, but if you're experiencing other symptoms such as nausea or vomiting alongside it, seek medical attention immediately.
Types of Headaches
Depending on your condition, physicians usually diagnose you with a certain kind of headache, with the common ones including migraines, cluster, and tension headaches. Although most people experience one of these headaches in their lifetime, sometimes they can overlap, with migraine sufferers experiencing tension headaches, and so on.
The most common recurrent headaches that individuals experience are migraines, tension, and cluster headaches. Let's dive into each one.
Although many individuals identify migraine as a sole condition, migraines are a type of headache. The symptoms for migraines include nausea, temporary loss of vision, and sensitivity to elements such as bright lights and loud sounds. Migraine usually presents warning signs, unlike other types of headaches, helping individuals minimize symptoms. The typical warning sign that migraine sufferers experience is visual symptoms that allows a person to see bright flashing lights around them.
Migraines can last between a few hours to a couple of days, causing a 'throbbing' or 'pounding' feeling. However, because of its warning sign, you can easily prevent migraines, and it's one of the best measures you can do to keep them from coming back. You can decrease your chances of getting recurrent migraines by managing stress levels, anxiety and cutting off trigger-inducing foods or drinks like sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
Tension headaches are what most people suffer from, impacting over 70% of sufferers. The symptoms for tension headaches include dull aching pain on both sides of the head, pressure behind the eyes, tenderness on the scalp or neck. Unfortunately, unlike migraines, tension headaches don't provide 'warning signs' and usually occur out of nowhere. Several things can cause tension headaches, including anxiety, fatigue, stress, dehydration, hunger, and the most common one being, improper posture. Other unusual causes include obesity, lack of sleep, and chronic diseases.
These causes are why most office workers who sit on their chairs all day regularly suffer from tension headaches. It usually starts slowly and gradually worse, lasting anywhere between several minutes or days. Although you can't tell when you may experience tension headaches because of the lack of warning signs, you can always prevent them from happening in the first place. You can avoid these by making it a habit to incorporate proper posture when working or taking a break now and then.
Cluster headaches are the worst and painful among all the primary headaches and can typically happen in intervals throughout the day or several weeks. It's called 'cluster' because sufferers often experience pain once to four times a day. These are deliberate headaches that you can feel on the sides of your head or behind your eyes. The most common triggers for cluster headaches are excessive consumption of alcohol or smoking tobacco. These headaches usually happen between spring and fall, leading to many people mistaking them for seasonal allergies. Fortunately, cluster headaches occur less often and are shorter than migraines or tension headaches.
Proper treatment for cluster headaches includes non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation and oxygen therapy. This treatment option is where you breathe in pure oxygen through a mask, reducing blood flow to the brain, offering temporary relief.
Does Medication Help?
The traditional option for headaches includes classic pill-popping, making it the norm for most people. But do they help people long-term? According to a research study, individuals who took drugs daily had a lower quality of life than sufferers who didn't consume medicine regularly. This finding shows the pills aren't solving the actual dilemma that people with headaches, but instead, it only masks their discomfort temporarily.
How to Relieve Headaches Naturally
Treating headaches depends on the type you have, frequency, and how long you have had it. It's best to work with healthcare professionals to pinpoint triggers and make an appropriate treatment plan for your condition.
However, if you're not too keen on visiting your doctor's office for a headache, here are different ways you can relieve headaches naturally.
Eating whole foods to provide your body with the proper nutrients helps steady your blood sugar, which allows you to feel more focused, giving you a sharper and healthier mind. Foods rich in mineral magnesium are also great to add to your diet, especially if you frequently suffer from migraines, including leafy green vegetables, seeds, or nuts.
Processed food and beverages with copious amounts of sugar or other sweeteners can lead to a sugar crash that contributes to all kinds of headaches. Besides that, high-sugar foods feed yeast in your digestive system, leading to neurotoxin production, triggering headaches, and other medical conditions. It can be challenging to eliminate sugar from your diet, so it's best to minimize your intake.
According to the NHI, cardiovascular exercises have proved to help relieve headaches, especially migraine pain. Another form of workout, yoga, can also help decrease headaches' frequency and degree of pain. It's best to find a routine that works best for you, allowing you to alleviate your headaches while staying fit, looking, and feeling good.
Address Food Sensitivities
Headache-triggering foods can include dairy, gluten, or sugar, which are proven to reduce migraine-attack frequency if you eliminate them from your diet. However, pinpointing the exact foods you should avoid usually involves trial and error, making it complicated. Writing down what you eat in a food journal can help, but chiropractors or nutritionists can help develop a personalized eating plan to treat your condition.
Practice Proper Sleeping Habits
Poor sleeping habits often lead to migraines, that's because when you don't get enough sleep, your body creates certain kinds of proteins that stimulate your nervous system, resulting in chronic pain. Conversely, individuals that frequently experience headaches have trouble sleeping, leading to a vicious cycle. Consult with chiropractors to help you find out what's disturbing your sleep levels to help you eliminate that problem and get quality and consistent sleep.
Visit a Chiropractor
Although you many perceive chiropractic treatment to relieve back and neck pain, you can also visit your chiropractor to relieve headaches. These professionals can assess, accurately diagnose, and manage headaches.
How a Chiropractor Helps with Headaches
A chiropractor can provide a gentle, non-invasive, and natural therapy, known as chiropractic treatment or adjustment. These professionals help reduce joint restrictions and correct spinal misalignments, reduce inflammation, and improve your central nervous system and joints' function. When you improve joint mobility and nervous system functionality, this leads to better spinal health, allowing your body to manage pain caused by migraines or tension headaches better.
Professional and licensed chiropractors from DeBole Chiropractic incorporate targeted spinal decompression methodology where they help correct spinal misalignments, improving overall spinal function, reducing stress on your spine and nervous system, helping relieve headaches. Besides alleviating headaches, DeBole Chiropractic also offers regular and pregnancy chiropractic care and helps patients who had an auto accident injury get back on track.
DeBole Chiropractic strives to provide excellent and quality healthcare to relieve all your pain and enhance your overall well-being by providing expert chiropractic care and tips on proper posture, relaxation, food, and exercises.
Strive for better health and lifestyle with DeBole Chiropractic. To know more about DeBole Chiropractic, their services, chiropractors, and treatment options, you can check them out at debolechiro.com.