Say Goodbye to Those Awful Headaches with these Tips
Nobody likes to be in pain. Headaches are one of the most common disorder of the nervous system and according to the WHO, at least half of the adult population has experienced a headache at least once in the past year. Ouch.
Headaches can be brought on by a list of different factors, including food sensitivities, lack of sleep, dehydration (or perhaps being hung over...), stress and muscle tension. They can be a result of either muscular trigger point aggravation and/or vasospasms occurring in the blood vessels of your brain (scary sounding, I know). If you suffer from headaches on the regular, it's important to work with a qualified healthcare professional who is experienced and knowledgable in understandings how to give you pain relief and prevent your headaches from recurring. Trust me, it is possible to be headache free.
Here's what you can do to help lessen that annoying head pain.
Identify Food Sensitivities
Many headache and migraine sufferers find that foods that contain tyrosine can aggravate them. These foods include cured meats, cheeses and picked foods. Basically anything that's been preserved and would be on a charcuterie board (sorry...). Try a trial elimination of these foods for a couple weeks and see if that helps. You can slowly add these foods back into your diet one at a time to really pin-point if the tyrosine, or specific foods are the issue.
Red wines can also be an aggravator for some, especially red wine that has been oaked. The chemical constituents that are infused into the wine from the oak can cause vasopasms in your brain, leading to headaches and migraines. MSG is also another factor that is worth looking into. MSG is classically known to be in Chinese food, as well as an additive in packaged/processed sauces and seasonings. Make sure to read the ingredients of food labels to see if the products you're consuming contain MSG and are perhaps aggravating you.
While on the topic of diet, make sure you're well hydrated. I find so many people (teens especially) are dehydrated, which can lead to headaches. Make sure you're drinking at least 2L/day of pure water and replacing every cup of caffeine with another cup of water. And on the topic of caffeine, keep it to 2 cups maximum daily - too much caffeine can not only cause dehydration but also cause those fun vasospasms in the blood vessels.
Ever noticed that laying in a dark, quiet room can lessen your head pain? Giving your senses a break can help your sensory neurons chill out and lessen head pain. Adding a cold compress over your eyes can also help shunt blood away from the achy areas, providing a bit of relief. I like using an essential oil formula called "White Flower" balm instead of a cold compress to help with this, mainly for its efficiency than anything else. No one with a severe headache is going to want to fumble around with a cold compress. My own personal experience speaks to this! This formula is an essential oil blend that feels cold when applied to the skin. The cold sensation helps to lessen the pain by inhibiting substance P smooth muscle contractions (among a few other proposed mechanisms), helping to calm down vasospasms. I find I can get about 20 minutes to head pain relief with one application of this balm and simply reapply it as needed until I'ma able to get the pain to go away completely.
When all else fails...
Get an IV. They're the fastest way to rehydrate a dehydrated person. We can also add magnesium to the IV bag, which can help reduce pain and induce muscle relaxation far quicker than taking oral magnesium can. I find oral magnesium is great from a preventative measure but when dealing with an acute headache, IV magnesium is far superior. Adding a bit of procaine to the IV bag can help induce relaxation by activating glycine receptors in your brain too.
On the topic of procaine, it's a great numbing agent and can provide relief when administered into the sinuses. The procaine will help numb the nerves that are involved in pain transmission in the face. But don't go putting procaine up your nose on your own - this is something that a qualified healthcare professional trained in the use of procaine for pain management can help you with.
There are supplements on the market that have valid research backing them up for reducing the frequency and severity of headaches and migraines. These definitely need to be prescribed on an individualized basis and after other factors like diet and lifestyle changes have been taken into account.
The moral of the story: there is hope out there. You don't always have to suffer with head pain.