How is it possible address headaches without using a prescription, an over the counter pain reliever, or even an herbal pill and yet keep it simple? The first step to looking beyond prescriptions is to look at the contributing factors of the headache. Some people will often use a headache diary to help them sort out these issues. However, some very common factors that lead to headache include:
Stress. Stress by far is the most obvious contributing factor to headache, but taking a moment to find solutions to combat your stress may not be as obvious.
Ways to Simple Ways to Reduce Stress:
1) Reduce Stress through Breath – Breath is very intimately connected to our mood states. Just by practicing a simple breath exercise, you can train your brain to reduce you stress level immediately. Pick a time every day and practice this exercise for just 1 minute. If you can keep with it for 45 days you’ll begin to see its effects and then when in a stressful situation comes, one breath is all it takes.
2) Reduce Stress through a Moving Meditation Exercise. Yoga and Tai Chi are some of my favorites. Look for a class that has a teacher is focused on calming movement and breath rather than just exercise. You’ll likely see results faster than on your own. If going to a class is just not possible, try a walking meditation. Just take a walk for 10 min, but try to clear your mind of any thoughts while you walk. Focus on your breath or one word. Your mind will likely wander, but be gentle to yourself and come back to your practice.
Dietary Factors. In the realm of diet, food additives seem to be the biggest triggers. Make sure to take a look at the labels of the foods that you are eating to see if there are a lot of added preservatives and consider asking about the use of MSG at various restaurants. Skipping meals has also been found to be a trigger as well.
Improve your Diet through Small Steps. For headache sufferers, this mean just making sure you eat small meals throughout the day without skipping. It may also mean keeping healthy snacks handy in your purse or desk drawer so that you are not reaching for something quick stocked full of preservatives. For others, it might be exploring a gluten-free diet. Whatever you try be gentle with yourself, change sometimes comes slowly.
Muscle and Joint Problems. Often when it comes to tension and migraine headaches, the involvement of the neck is often over looked. It may be worth getting an evaluation of you neck muscles and joints by a physician or physical therapist to see if there are any issues stemming from your muscle system.
Rejuvenate Muscles, Joints and Nerves through Acupuncture. In the medical community, acupuncture has the highest levels of studies behind its effectiveness both in helping with an acute migraine and with preventing them from occurring. Despite what most have experienced in Western Medicine, the needles are for the most part pain free. Very thin, sterile disposable needles that are small and hardly noticeable during a treatment.
The good news for headache and migraine suffers is that there are a lot of holistic options available to help and just a few are listed here. Consulting a local Integrative Physician is a great way to understand what options are best for you.
Dr. Sharyl Truty is an Integrative Medicine Physician, owner of Balanced Physician Care in Ponte Vedra, FL, and a Positive Focus board member. You can find more information about her or join her email list by visiting her website, or call her office: 904-930-4774.