Some of the most common causes of headaches include musculoskeletal issues such as tight muscles, ergonomic issues from work and recreational activity, high blood pressure, food allergies, sinus pressure, dehydration, and other physical or emotional stressors. A “Headache” has symptoms just like it sounds, squeezing and pressure around the head. Often times it will gradually set in without much notice. It is not normal to have ongoing or recurrent headaches.
Also important to note that headaches can be secondary to sinus infections, dental issues, ear aches, high blood pressure and the list goes on. So making sure that you are addressing the underlying cause is critical. Very few people are born “drug deficient”, so if you are dependent upon pain pills or anti-inflammatories, eliminating the need for these is absolutely essential. If your headaches are persisting, progressing or severe you need to be examined by your physician and get a diagnostic work up.
If your headaches don’t fall into this category, the following tips are worth considering. Relax your muscles by taking calcium and magnesium orally, also using an EPSOM bath soak to help relax tight muscles can prove effective. Get a massage; chances are an ‘over-stressed’ muscle may be blocking blood flow to the brain. Topical application can be useful and many do not cause dependency and are completely natural, some of these are liniment oil and arnica ointment.
Making sure that you are drinking sufficient water is a pivotal first step. Your goal should be 64 ounces of non-chlorinated water per day. For those who are active in their lifestyle a better goal would be 96 ounces a day. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of headaches. Drinking fluids such as sodas, fruit juices, and high sugar sport and energy drinks do not increase hydration levels, they hinder them.
If you have experienced an injury prior to your onset of headaches, then consider getting evaluated from an orthopedic perspective to make sure that there is not a mechanical issue that needs to be addressed. There is great success when using massage therapy or manipulative therapy from a highly skilled professional.
Food allergies also contribute to many headaches, getting a simple food sensitivity test that can be conducted at home. These types of reactions, often called “hidden food allergens” can take up to 72 hours to trigger a response, so the immediate association of cause and effect is hard to identify.
Dental issues can give rise to tension in the jaw joint, which can be referred to as Temporomandibular Joint or TMJ. The TMJ joint has the strongest muscle in the human body surrounding this joint, and it is responsible for opening and closing your jaw. Stress has a great impact on our muscles. When stress triggers tension in this area, you can clench or grind your teeth. Many times this happens while you are sleeping. Over time this tension can block blood and oxygen to the brain and other parts of the head, causing headaches and teeth grinding. Imagine the force of the strongest muscle in your body clenching your teeth together all night long. In order to reverse this you must release this tension to allow blood to rejuvenate the area.
Sugar can be a culprit in causing headaches, even long lasting headaches. If someone has a high-sugar or high-carbohydrate diet they are constantly operating with high and low blood sugar levels. Your body is releasing hormones in order to balance and process the blood sugar. In doing so, causes your blood vessels (in your head) to open and close, and this can cause a headache.
If you are a big caffeine consumer, you may also choice to lower your intake and see if your headaches begin to give way to pain free days.
Headaches made worse from stress can benefit from the use of L-theanine that can help keep the body more relaxed.
Also since you should be trying to sleep 7-8 hours a night, a quality pillow that offers your neck vertebrae the support they need is essential. The Nano-Sphere pillow was specifically designed to align the spine and facilitate blood and oxygen flow, which helps to increase microcirculation to the brain. This seems to help people go to sleep and have a deeper, more restful sleep. As anyone that has suffered from a sleepless night or awoken tired will attest, quality sleep is priceless.
Another issue is related to stress. Stress has numerous deleterious effects including promoting inflammation, increasing susceptibility to illness, and contributing to fatigue and lack of mental focus. Addressing stress is critical if you are serious about creating a strong health foundation for longevity, wellness, and improved quality of life. A successful first step in stress management would be to evaluate your sources of stress using an online assessment tool such as the Stress Solution Tool (SST) to discover hidden and unrealized areas of stress that may be robbing your health and quality of life.
Headaches can be affected by stress to the body through computer use. Prior to the advent of computers, and online games and communications, our parents told us to have good posture. Now due to poor posture and extended hours on the computer, we are starting to see degeneration of the spine at age 29. This degeneration is silent until 100,000’s of cells have been damaged. Having a proactive approach to healthy posture can prevent symptoms including injury to bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles. When your musculoskeletal system is healthy and strong it can protect you against unwanted side effects like headaches.
It has also been recommended by leading medical experts that everyone can benefit from taking a high-quality and complete daily multi-vitamin. Few people actually eat a sufficiently healthy and broad diet to ensure the adequate intake of nutrients for all the biochemical processes necessary to not just sustain the human body but to help it truly thrive.
At one point or another we have all had a headache. If you have persisting and intense headaches it would behoove you to seek medical expertise. For the majority of us, a headache can be caused by a number of reasons, muscular tension, dehydration, dental issues, poor posture, and high blood pressure. Depending on the reason for your headaches, you may want to incorporate a daily supplement, ergonomic pillow, or the online Stress Solution Tool.
- May 2013