Are you tired of dealing with headaches. The aching, throbbing, searing pain that you battle on an all to regular basis. Are your headaches affecting your mood, your production at work, or the relationships in your life? If so than this is the post for you. Here are 5 simple things you can do to decrease your or possibly even eliminate your headaches with a bonus tip at the end.
1: Drink more water.
One of the first and most noticeable signs of dehydration is a headache. Many of us simply do not drink enough water and are constantly dehydrated. Headaches maybe your body’s way of telling you to drink more water. The old adage was to drink 8 glasses of water a day. In this school of thought someone weighing 100 lbs and someone weighing 300 lbs would drink their 8 glasses of water and be good to go right? As you probably guessed that doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. A better way to gauge your proper body weight is by simply taking your body weight and dividing it by 2. The resulting number is how many ounces of water you should drink a day. So with our individuals above the 100 lb person should drink 50 ounces of water, while the 300 pound person should drink 150 ounces of water to stay properly hydrated.
Both quality and quantity of sleep are important. I recommend 7-9 hours of sleep a night for the majority of my adult patients. Sleeping on your back with a pillow under your legs, or on your side with a pillow between your legs is preferred. Sleeping on your stomach or tossing and turning all night have caused many headaches, so I always coach my patients on sleeping posture. It is also important to sleep in a dark, cool room and cover any sources of light including your alarm clock or cell phone. Blackening shades can also be helpful for windows.
3: Reduce Stress
Either reduce stress in your life, or increase your capacity to handle it. Stress is one of the most common contributors to headaches of all varieties. Ways to reduce the effects of stress on your body include walking, taking up an activity to get your mind of your day to day grind, taking a 15 minute break, talking to a friend or loved one that you can trust, watching a movie to have a mental escape, or listening to peaceful music. Building up your body’s resources so that it can handle stress is a great way to reduce your risk for getting headaches. So increasing your exercise level is usually advised in people with headaches. (this is not the case for someone recovering from a concussion)
4. Eat protein and healthy whole fruits and vegetables to keep your blood sugar stable!
When I am talking to a patient with headaches, the second discussion after water intake is blood sugar. Are you eating protein with every meal? Getting enough protein per week as well as protein throughout your day is critical to keep your blood sugar level and to help heal headaches of any kind. Vegetables and fruits and whole food is best for your body. Eating a snack or meal every 2 to 3 hours also helps keep your blood sugar stable. Low blood sugar is one of the most common triggers for headaches in the mid afternoon.
5. Avoid triggers
Headaches can have many triggers from a co-workers cologne or perfume to alcohol or caffeine. If you notice someone in your life is wearing a fragrance that triggers your headaches politely explain to them the position it puts you in and ask them to avoid it. Chances are you are not the only one who is affected by the fragrance. Alcohol triggers headaches in many people and not just the day after a heavy night of drinking. Part of the reason is the dehydration factor again as alcohol will cause you to become dehydrated. Many people still are very sensitive to some of the toxins in alcohol especially in certain wines it’s best to avoid these when possible and if you are drinking drink water as well. Lastly Caffeine, when addicted to caffeine many people with withdrawal symptoms will experience headaches so it is important that we decrease our caffeine dosage slowly. Of coarse if you are just the cold turkey type you can go that route but expect it to be unpleasant for a couple weeks. If you can get through that your caffeine related headaches should dissipate.
BONUS. See your local Chiropractor.
As we have discussed previously chiropractic care can be an incredible effective way to treat headaches. Pressure and tension on nerves in the upper part of the neck will cause you to experience headaches. Chiropractors are specially trained to search for the tension and pressure in the upper part of the neck and relieve it with adjustments, manual therapy, and in some cases physiotherapy.