How to Relieve Headaches Naturally
Migraine headaches are a source of pain for millions of Americans. They also cause billions of dollars in lost productivity. While many of us cope with headaches by popping a pain reliever, there are also natural methods that can provide chronic headache treatment and heal pain, including massage therapy and chiropractic adjustments.
Massage as a Treatment for Chronic Pain
Not only can massage therapy be beneficial in treating neck and back pain, it has often been found effective when it comes to treatment for chronic pain, such as migraines. Using massage techniques to trigger active trigger points can help reduce the pain associated with chronic migraine headaches.
Massage has been found effective when it comes to reducing many of the symptoms associated with headaches, such as:
Massage can increase blood flow and circulation, which also helps to reduce pain. In addition, it can help loosen chronically tight muscles at the base of the skull, which can in turn help relieve tension headaches. Massage treatments help decrease levels of cortisol – a stress hormone – and also increases endorphins and promotes relaxation and improved sleep, which in turn should lead to fewer headaches.
Treating Migraine Headaches with a Chiropractic Adjustment
Every patient is different, but studies have found that a full chiropractic adjustment, including spinal manipulative therapy, can be very effective for treating tension headaches.
One chronic headache treatment involves manipulation of the upper two cervical vertebrae, combined with adjustments to the junction between the cervical and thoracic spine. This has been shown to relieve symptoms of both tension and migraine headaches.
Chiropractic care has also been found to provide relief for even the most severe headaches when spinal subluxations (spinal joints that are out of alignment, don’t move well and irritate the nerves) and jaw problems are corrected.
The results aren’t temporary, either. Patients often continue to experience reduced headache symptoms for weeks after their last chiropractic adjustment.
Tips for Preventing Headaches
Sometimes the source of migraines is an environmental factor, such as stress or diet. You can minimize your chances of developing a headache by:
- Reducing stress. Try to make time in your day to relax. If you can, take a break and go for a 10-minute walk or call a friend when you are feeling particularly stressed out.
- Monitoring your diet. There are certain foods that may make you more susceptible to headaches, such as:
- Hot dogs and other processed meats containing sodium nitrite.
- Foods containing MSG, such as soy sauce and meat tenderizers.
- Foods that are high in the amino acid tyramine, such as ripened cheeses (cheddar, brie), chocolate and pickled or fermented foods.
- Reducing your alcohol intake. Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol triggers headaches in many people. Try to limit yourself to no more than one or two drinks per day.
- Adjusting your sleep schedule. Sleeping too little, or even too much, can lead to headaches.
- Drink fluids. Drinking a minimum of 64 ounces of water, seltzer or herbal tea can also help minimize your chances of suffering from headaches.
If you are experiencing migraine headaches, give Dr. Cait a call to schedule an appointment. She is experienced at creating a plan for proving a chronic headache treatment, as well as a treatment for chronic pain such as back and neck pain.