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Posted on 05-04-2016
A Natural Route to Headache Relief
Headaches can strike at any time, often without warning. The throbbing pain can dull concentration, lower productivity, and make your day all around miserable. The common approach to fighting headaches through a pill usually provides temporary relief only and can adversely impact your health in the long term. Understanding the nuances about different headaches, identifying triggers, and improving your lifestyle can help you tackle headaches head on.
There are different kinds of headaches that may be brought on by numerous causes. For example, sinus headaches are usuallya resultof inflammation and pressure within the sinuses. Common causes are colds, allergies, or infections. Tension headaches are characterized by a mild to moderate pain. If you feel like a tight band is around your head, you probably have a tension headache. Finally, the most severe headaches are migraines. Migraines can be intensely painful and are often accompanied by light, sound, and touch sensitivity. One of the biggest triggers of both tension headaches and migraines is actually stress.
Medications like aspirin and ibuprofen are usually the first thing most people reach for tosubdue a headache. These over-the-counter drugs are classified as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). While they are powerful and effective, overuse can lead to nasty side effects, like irritation of the stomach lining andulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, and decreased kidney function. Too much acetaminophen, a common ingredient in brands like Tylenol®, can lead to liver damage. That is why natural, alternative approaches to headache treatment are gaining ground.
Depending on the type and cause of your pain, there are many different natural approaches you can take to combat headaches.Sinus headaches can usually be alleviated by drinking water and staying hydrated, humidifying the air, and applying warm compresses on the face. These measures will help the sinuses to drain and relieve pressure. Some people use neti pots to clear the sinuses. This form of nasal irrigation has been around for centuries. A neti pot usually has a spout that allows you to pour a simple salt water solution into one nostril and out through the other. It can be very effective against sinus headaches.
Preventing headaches naturally can be as simple as reducing stress. Stress can deplete magnesium levels in the body, and magnesium deficiency can leave you more susceptible to headaches, particularly migraines.Although taking magnesium supplements can help, it is more beneficial to lower stress levels and moderate your physical response to stress. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and meditation are some lifestyle approaches to beat stress and keep headaches at bay. Yoga has also been proven to be helpful for headaches but it must be done on a regular basis for optimum results.
To further deter headaches, you must also consider your surroundings. Avoid exposure to harsh chemicals and fumes common in household cleaners and even personal care products and toiletries (like perfumes, body creams, and hairsprays). The nervous system is very sensitive, and will react when volatile molecules are inhaled.Taking the necessary steps to purify the environment and reduce stress can be an extremely effective strategy for those who are regularly plagued by headaches.
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-Dr. Ryan Curda
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