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Headaches—What to Do When They Don’t Go Away

Headaches are one of the most frequent disorders of the nervous system, affecting approximately 47% of the adult population within a given year, according to the World Health Organization. The big problem is that only a small number of people are appropriately diagnosed by a healthcare provider. Let’s take a brief glimpse of common causes of headaches.

Identifying the Cause:

With all health conditions, it is absolutely essential to identify the cause/trigger of a symptom within your body. This is where visiting with your personal healthcare provider is essential. A guiding rule for conditions such as headaches is called the 3 P’s.  If a symptom Persists (does not go away), Progresses (gets worse) or is Pronounced (dramatic in presentation), then it is of paramount importance not to ignore symptoms.

Common Causes:

  • Sinusitis/sinus headache
  • Tension headache (neck, jaw, etc.)
  • Hormonal headaches (PMS, male and female hormone imbalances)
  • Musculoskeletal (muscle and structural)
  • Neurological (nerve)
  • Vascular (blood vessel)
  • High blood pressure
  • Other causes to be determined by doctor and diagnostic imaging (CT Scan or MRI/MRA)

Must Know Facts:

  • Pain in the head is one of the most common pain locations within the body
  • Headaches can be broken into 3 categories
    • Primary: The most common type (ex. tension, migraine, cluster headaches)
    • Secondary: (symptom of an injury or an underlying illness)
    • Cranial neuralgias, facial pain and other headaches

Urgent/Emergent:

If you have a sudden onset of a headache, a fever or stiff neck, experience changes in the way you are behaving, feel weak or nauseated, seeking immediate care is vitally important.

Possible Solutions:

Assuming that the headaches are not severe or do not fall within the 3 P’s that are described above, the following approaches can help:

  • Increase hydration to 2 liters per day
  • Watch your posture when driving and using the computer or mobile phones
  • Increase mineral intake including magnesium and fresh vegetables
  • Make sure you are having 2 to 3 bowel movements per day
  • Loosen tight muscles with a massage

Always address the underlying cause of the problem; remember a headache is a symptom

Keeping Your Brain in Top Shape with Nutrition

Protecting our brain is understandably a top concern and priority for many health-conscious individuals. There is nothing more fear provoking than a life where you don’t know who or where you are. A case in point: Alzheimer’s disease affects more people each year than diabetes.

Here are six dietary tips to incorporate into your health and wellness program, in order to keep your brain in top form:

  • Keeping your body fueled with sufficient protein, fat and carbohydrates is essential. All are critical for optimal functioning of the human brain and frame. Have protein with every meal and eat five to seven servings of fresh fruits, veggies and good fats.
  • Focus on essential fatty acids including omega-3 (both EPA and DHA), such as those found in fish. Low DHA has been linked to concentration challenges and potentially even higher risk of memory loss.
  • Iodine, found in seaweed, is very important for brain development and IQ; so making sure that iodine is part of your diet is vitally important.
  • Lycopene found in tomatoes help protect the brain against free radical damage.
  • B vitamins, particularly B12, B6 and folic acid can help support brain chemistry and also protect against accumulation of elevated homocysteine levels. Getting a blood test for homocysteine is always recommended.  B12 deficiency alone can lead to lower mental clarity.
  • Stay hydrated. A dehydrated brain does not function as well as a well-hydrated body.

These simple approaches can help when added to a lifestyle of stress control, adequate sleep and keeping your mind constantly active. Avoiding processed foods is essential as well. Remember to eat like your ancestors of the last few hundred years: lots of fresh foods and little dried or processed foods.

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Health Tips On the Go!

Improve Posture

  • 1.Avoid slouching. Be aware of your posture as you walk, sit, and drive, keep shoulders squared and head pulled back and up.

  • 2.Imagine a thread pulling the top of your head toward the ceiling. Visualization can help improve your sense of position.

  • 3.If your job requires you to sit for long periods, take frequent breaks to stand, stretch and shake it out.

  • 4.Maintain a strong core to help support proper posture. Add core-training exercises to your daily routine.

  • 5.A firm mattress and ergonomic pillow help achieve proper back support while you sleep, so you'll stand straighter in the a.m.

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