Normally this blog focuses on best business practices. On occasion I encounter a topic that has wide-ranging appeal. Such is the case with this one: how to alleviate headaches. I wanted to share this information in hopes it could help you.
Nearly half of the world’s adult population has an active headache disorder at any one time, according to a report by Matthew S. Robbins, M.D. and Richard Lipton, M.D. of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
Tension-type headaches are the most prevalent. Approximately 42% of American men in their 40s and nearly 47% of women at that age report regular headaches.
While headaches can indicate serious health issues (such as a stroke), mild headaches can be alleviated through lifestyle changes and with natural remedies.
Dr. Hamilton Dowden, of Pure Family Chiropractic in New Berlin, Wisconsin, offers these five suggestions.
1. Stay properly hydrated
“Many people do not realize it, but dehydration is a real problem,” Dowden says, “and one of the most common symptoms of dehydration is headaches.”
Dehydration can be the root cause for headaches, and it can exacerbate other issues. The result is more frequent and more intense headaches than one would experience if properly hydrated.
Dowden recommends drinking half your body weight in fluid ounces each day. If you weigh 200 lbs., you should consume 100 fl. oz. of water daily – more if you also regularly drink coffee, soda, or other caffeinated, sugary beverages.
2. Take supplements of magnesium and B vitamins
Studies suggest that many who suffer from headaches (especially migraines) are deficient in magnesium, Dowden says. A magnesium supplement is a safe, drug-free way to help alleviate headaches. B vitamins are important for many neurological functions. Americans tend to be deficient in the B vitamins, he says. Talk with your health care provider before starting any supplement.
3. Stretch frequently
Muscle tension in the neck and skull is another very common cause for headaches. “As our lives continue to become more sedentary and we spend more time bent over looking at computers, phones, and tablets,” Dowden says, “the muscles in our necks and upper backs are worked harder and harder.” Severe tightness and tension occur, leading to tension headaches.
Stretching the neck, shoulders, and upper back can help alleviate this tension and relieve headaches. Incidentally, stretching is also highly recommended for desk workers. Take a break every 60 minutes or so and do some light stretching.
4. Try essential oils
Although essential oils are not fully studied or understood, Dowden says many people swear by them as a relief for headaches. Peppermint oil and lavender oil are two of the most common used. Essential oils have little to no side effects and might work for you.
5. Undergo chiropractic adjustments
As a chiropractor, Dowden naturally encourages chiropractic care. But the techniques are rooted in sound physiology.
Misaligned spinal bones, known as subluxations, can cause stress and tension on your muscles and nerves. “When subluxations occur in the neck,” he explains, “the nerves that go to your brain and skull can be irritated, causing a number of different types of headaches.”
Chiropractic adjustments help relieve tension and stress on your nervous system, allowing your nerves and muscles to relax. Even better, chiropractic care is drug-free and surgery-free.
Consider any of these natural methods if you experience chronic headaches. Relief is easier than you think.
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