Headaches are a part of life for far too many people. Headaches may keep us from doing our jobs or doing them effectively. They may hinder our relationships as our emotional fuse shortens with this discomfort. They may also slow us down from being active and reaching other health goals.
So WHY do people get headaches, and what can we do about them when we want to live a vibrant, natural life?
(There are many more possible causes and triggers, but let’s focus on these six.)
Common Causes & Triggers of Headaches
- Chemical – You may have heard someone say that when they are around cigarette smoke, they get an immediate headache. Triggers can also be other pollutants in the air, harsh cleaners, alcohol or various foods, like gluten, may affect certain individuals.
- Stress – When your nervous system is in a sympathetic state of stress for an extended period, a headache may be the result. This may be due to the added stress hormones, heightened alertness, tightened muscles, and elevated heart and respiration rates.
- Mold – This can be a sneaky culprit. Check any rooms or spaces that are damp, such as under sinks. Read more about this here: https://www.mold-advisor.com/headaches.html
- Dehydration – Water is life! When there’s an imbalance of fluid and electrolytes, a headache may be one indicator of dehydration. Don’t brush it off! Water is necessary for every system in the body, from the discs between your vertebrae to your brain. When you’re dehydrated, the brain may temporarily shrink, causing a headache. If you wonder if this is the cause, other symptoms may include a dry mouth, fatigue, and nausea.
- Allergies & Sinus Issues – Whether it’s from pollen or dust, allergies are a reaction to an irritant, causing inflammation as the body tries to remove that irritant. Similarly, a sinus infection prompts the body to send more nutrients and create mucus to clear out a pathogen. Both of these often create pressure in the sinuses, causing radiating pain and headaches.
- Trauma – A fall or bump to the head or neck may result in a headache as the body warns you to slow down and be more careful as it heals. It’s important to be checked for concussions by a medical professional (more on this below.)
Natural Headache Relief
Pain is always a warning, like a flashing “check engine” light. So while we very much want to get relief, it’s more important to track down the source of the dysfunction that the body is signaling.
There are some natural things you can start on your own to reduce headache triggers:
- Switching out chemical cleaners in your home for less harsh, more natural options. It may be helpful to look at your diet and choose less inflammatory, more natural and organic options.
- Start a meditation or gratitude practice to help reduce stress and bring more peace to your life. A plan for daily movement, such as walking, yoga or weight training can also be a great stress reliever.
- Change the air filter in your home. A dehumidifier or air purifier may also be helpful. If you have mold issues, advice from a mold remediation professional is recommended.
- Find a favorite water bottle. Some cool ones hold a gallon, with marks to remind you to sip throughout the day. Certain fruits and vegetables, like watermelon and cucumbers, can be very hydrating as well. Colonics can also be a natural way of removing toxins and rehydrating via the gut.
- There are many wonderful natural products such as homeopathics and essential oils to provide relief from seasonal allergies, from eye drops to nasal washes and throat sprays. It may be helpful to avoid foods known for inducing mucus production, such as dairy and wheat. You may also consider getting an allergy scan so you have a better idea of what to avoid and how to support your body.
- In the case of a headache after any kind of trauma, we’ll say again – go get checked by a medical professional! You may want to also have your spine examined by a chiropractor to see if the trauma caused any misalignments. These can be overlooked and can quietly cause issues farther down the road.
So where does chiropractic fit in with all these various causes?
Chiropractic doesn’t treat any conditions, nor does it add anything to the body or take anything away. This is what makes it a wonderful part of a natural lifestyle.
Put simply, when I check the spine, I am looking for any areas where the bones are misaligned and putting pressure on the nerves. This pressure can lead to blocked messages between the brain and the body. This is usually what causes the signal of pain or other symptoms to “call for help”. Then I specifically adjust and restore movement to those joints, reallowing the brain and body to communicate properly.
We live and respond to life through our nervous system. It responds in either a stressed, “fight or flight” state, or a calm parasympathetic “rest & digest” state. Many times, headaches speak to the body’s inability to adapt to its internal or external environment.
Chiropractic is about bringing the body back into harmony and balance with itself. When your nervous system can function at its full potential, you can express life fully!
Here’s to life!
You may also enjoy reading This Simple Checklist To Thrive in 2021 (or any other year!)