What do you do when you suffer from a pounding headache? Do you grind your teeth and carry on? Lie down? Pop a pill and hope the pain goes away?
1. What is a headache?
Headaches are a common health problem. Nine out of ten people suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea.
2. What trigger a headache?
In order to understand headaches, you first need to find out what is causing your pain. Headaches can have many causes or “triggers.” These may include foods, environmental stimuli (noises, lights, stress, etc.) and/or behaviors (insomnia, excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, etc.).
About 5 percent of all headaches are warning signals caused by a serious physical problems. Whereas the other 95 percent of headaches are primary headaches, such as tension, migraine, or cluster headaches. These types of headaches are not caused by another disease. The headache itself is the primary concern.
The greatest majority of primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck. People today bend over computers, engage in more sedentary activities than they used to, and more hours are spent in one fixed position or posture. This can increase joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back and scalp, causing your head to ache.
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3. What can you do?
We suggests the following:
If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing or reading, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.
Low-impact exercise may help to relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. However, if you are prone to dull throbbing headaches, then avoid heavy exercise and engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobics.
To avoid teeth clenching, the upper teeth should never touch the lowers except when swallowing. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull – leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headaches.
Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches.
There is also evidence that you should also avoid the following food “triggers”:
- Caffeine: Foods such as chocolate, coffee, sodas and cocoa contain high levels of the stimulant.
- Sugar and Salt: Avoid foods with a high salt or sugar content. These foods may cause migraines, resulting in sensitivity to light, noise, or abrupt movements.
- Alcohol: Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. These drinks can dehydrate you and cause headache pain.
In certain cases, headache sufferers may want to avoid not only caffeine, but also high-protein foods, dairy products and red meat.
4. How can Chiropractic care help those with headaches?
Chiropractic care can be a great way to manage and relieve headaches. Chiropractic care provides patients a safe, non-invasive alternative to take a step closer to their health goals. Our doctors at ACC will perform a consultation, examination, and if necessary, refer you out for diagnostic imaging such as X-ray or MRI. Based on the findings of our chiropractic exam and consultation, your doctor of chiropractic will elect a suitable type of treatment for your specific conditions.
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Not only do our chiropractors deliver chiropractic care, but we also provide nutritional advice, dietary supplements as well as recommendations for posture, ergonomics, and exercises.
At ACC, we can help you break from intense or chronic pain, and asset you towards living with less pain and more freedom!