Headaches & Migraines, Oh My!
You know that feeling where you think you may have been hit on the head with a hammer, but know you weren’t? You might call the pain a headache, or for more intense pains, migraines. Neither is uncommon—we’ve all gotten a headache or a migraine at some point in our lives.
Just about everyone has headaches, but not everyone suffers from migraines. A migraine isn’t just a bad headache; it is a complex condition of the nervous system. It’s often described as an intense pulsing or throbbing pain that usually occurs in one area of the head. Migraine attacks may cause severe, debilitating pain for hours to days, necessitating the need to retreat to a dark, quiet place.
A migraine headache is often accompanied by additional symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. About one-third of affected people can predict the start of a migraine because they experience sensory warning symptoms (also called “aura”). These early-warning symptoms may include flashes of light, blind spots, zig-zag lines, temporary loss of vision, or tingling in the arm or leg.
Types of Headaches
There are many different types of headaches, but the most common types are:
- Tension headaches
- Cluster headaches
- Sinus headaches
- Hormone headaches
What are the Causes?
Headaches and migraines can be cause by a number of different things. Triggers can be personal, even environmental, or they can be the result of foods: dairy, chocolate, peanut butter, certain fruits—such as avocado, banana, and citrus, onions, meats with nitrates—such as bacon and hot dogs, foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG), foods containing tyramine—an amino acid found in red wine, and foods that are fermented or pickled. Some common causes are:
- Stress related to work, friends, family or school
- Poor blood flow
- Lack of sleep
- Nasal and sinus allergies
- Food allergies
- Low blood sugar
- Genetic predisposition
- Result of illness, infection, cold or fever
- Alcohol consumption
- Overuse of medications
- Changes in the weather/environment
- Over exertion of physical activity
Pain, Pain Go Away!
So once you’ve determined you’ve got a headache or a migraine what can you do to get rid of it? Some people are affected by them more than others and may be prescribed medications to balance them. Acute treatment is when you take something to relieve the symptoms you’re experiencing, but people with regularly occurring head pains like migraines take preventative measures, meaning they take a daily dose of medication to avoid any symptoms at all.
Common medications for providing symptom relief when you’re already experiencing pains include ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, Tylenol, and caffeine to name a few. Preventative measures for individuals with frequent or hard-to-treat migraines, can benefit from medications from anti-seizure or beta blockers to calcium channel blockers or antidepressants.
Some natural remedies for headaches and migraines include:
- Lavender oil can be either inhaled or applied topically. Two to four drops for every two to three cups of boiling water are recommended when inhaling lavender oil vapors as a headache treatment.
- Peppermint is a soothing home remedy that has been shown to benefit tension headaches. This fresh-smelling oil has vaso-constricting and vaso-dilating properties, which help control blood flow in the body.
- Basil, the strong-scented herb used as a topping for pizzas and pastas, certainly tastes and smells good. Basil works as a muscle relaxant, so it is especially helpful for headaches caused by tension and tight muscles. it is important to do research into which bulk herbs and natural remedies could help with headaches.
- CBD oil short for cannabidiol occurs naturally in the hemp plant. When extracted from the plant, the results are a very powerful, non-psychoactive oil that can be used for pain relief. To see how CBD oil could relieve your headaches, check out an online store like Blessed CBD UK.
- Scalp massage! Not only does it feel great but it has been proven to alleviate migraine pains so do it yourself and massage the area in the back of the head, at the base of the skull for some relief.
- The popular 1980’s at home, natural, herbal remedy, Feverfew. Feverfew, as its name suggests is also used to treat fevers, however more studies have demonstrated feverfew’s benefit in preventing and treating migraine pain. A daily dose was proven even more effective.
- Flaxseed. Some headaches are caused by inflammation, which can be reduced by consuming omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed can help provide headache relief because it’s rich in omega-3s.
- Buckwheat. The usefulness of buckwheat as a home remedy for headaches and migraine pain comes from the flavonoid known as rutin. Flavonoids which are phytochemicals, are found in plants, and have been shown to contain antioxidant properties, which counteract damage to cells – caused by things like headaches and migraines.
Scientists still don’t know for certain what causes migraines. Migraines could involve disturbances in nerve pathways and brain chemicals that affect blood vessels near the brain’s surface. The blood vessels swell, sending pain to the brain stem, an area that processes pain information. Many find that chiropractors such as round rock chiropractor MySpine and the treatment they offer for headaches, for example spinal adjustments, really work. So remember to pay attention to what your triggers for headaches or migraines are and learn how to affectively treat them.
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