Headaches are something that many of us are familiar with, they can be a mild annoyance or completely debilitating.
Those of us unlucky enough to suffer from migraines can experience discomfort so severe that the only answer is bed and a darkened room. Often with conditions like these it can be difficult to know what to do to aid recovery.
At Total Health West Berkshire our team of therapists have come together to bring you our own take on how to help your headaches and migraines. We hope you may find something here that you have not thought of before:
Nutrition and Migraines
One aspect of migraines and headaches that is often overlooked is nutrition. Flick from Ridgeway Nutrition has the following advice:
‘Triggers such as low blood sugar, dehydration, allergy, stress, tension or a combination of these can cause a headache or migraine. Whilst nutrition won’t cure them here are few things you can try to to help prevent one.
1) Eat little and often and drink plenty of fluids (including herbal teas). Fluid wise try to aim for 2 litres a day. Do not go too long without eating something. Remember though not too much fluid as this can be dangerous.
2) Avoid sugar and the following stimulants :- Alcohol, tea, coffee and chocolate
3) Try and have a daily multivitamin
4) Make sure you have foods that are a good source of vitamin C and B3 (niacin).
Emotion and Migraines
Once you have dealt with the nutritional side you may want to look at a psychological or emotional trigger. Counsellor Nicci Alder suggests that ‘there may be anxiety, stress and emotions around the onset of a migraine or headache. If you notice that your migraines or headaches arise around times of high emotion or stress then counselling can offer a gentle and safe place to explore your process as well as offer self- help tools to mange the symptoms in the short term whilst building a long term strategy.’
Physical, structural and Migraines
That covers the emotional and nutritional aspects. Now to the physical and structural aspects.
On this point many of our therapists agree. Osteopath Mel Harrison, Chiropractor Rosie Piercy, NKT therapist Ben Federick and Bowen therapist Sarah Court all state the importance of good function of your neck, jaw and upper back in helping to resolve headaches. The most common cause they all see for headaches is too much time sitting with a poor posture. This causes tightness in the neck, upper back and chest muscles and restrictions in the joints of the spine in those areas as well. Ben Fedrick has written an interesting post that goes into more details of this.
Sarah Court has some brilliant self help stretches to help relieve the stress in your jaw and upper back that can be viewed on her website here. Let us also not forget about massage, Monika Bauregger suggests that ‘Deep tissue massage can support relief of migraine symptoms particularly if the tension is in the shoulder, neck, back of the head and temples.’
One thing patients often ask is ‘when do we seek help for our migraines and headaches?’
Rosie Piercy from Total Chiropractic says ‘people can come and see us at any point for their headaches and migraines, however if you are suffering with severe headaches and migraines or have had them for a long time then it may be worth visiting your G.P first so that they can make sure that there is nothing more serious underlying your headaches or migraine.’
And finally let us not forget the feet. Reflexlogist Leonie Remington talks about a few reflex points that can be worked on and although it is best to have an assessment by a reflexologist to see exactly which points need to be worked on there are some you can try for yourself which she shows you how to do in a fantastic video you can find here.
So to summarise. Headaches and migraines are complex, there is rarely a one step solution to solve them. It may be worth considering each of the areas we have covered in this blog; nutritional, emotional and physical as a way of helping your headaches and migraines.
Every month we will be talking about a different condition and recruiting our therapists for their expert advice, to make sure you do not miss one out join our newsletter by entering your email address on our homepage and we look forward to keeping you informed.