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The Headache Book - How to Live with and Overcome Headaches

Author: James Claridge

The Headache Book - How to Live with and Overcome Headaches

Book Series: Living With... Series


1. Do You Suffer from Headaches?

There are many different problems that affect our health and cause discomfort, but one that is experienced by millions of people around the world is a problem with headaches. The types of headaches that people experience range from a mild annoyance all the way to a severe, debilitating and sometimes chronic issue. In this publication, we're going to take a closer look at headaches to see how it is possible to deal with the problem, to live with it successfully and perhaps even to overcome the headaches that you are now experiencing.

Hangover 2

Of course, no headache is the same as another and the type of headaches that you are experiencing may certainly be different from what is being experienced by someone else. You may even have multiple types of headaches, each of which carries its own problems and distinct symptoms. That is why identifying the types of headaches that you are experiencing is one of the first steps that need to be taken in order to deal with the situation properly. A review of the different types of headaches will be discussed in the following chapter, and it is worth taking a look into it.

You may find that identifying your headache type is much different from what you had first considered. Many of us tend to classify our headaches improperly, and this can make it difficult for the proper treatment to be given. After all, the possible treatment options for headaches are often dependent on the type of headache that we are experiencing in the first place. After looking at the different types of headaches and identifying the ones that you are suffering from, it may be much easier for you to care for the headache properly.

If you suffer from headaches, you may suffer somewhat silently and that is not only the case when it comes to letting other people know about your problem, it comes with a degree of silence on a personal level as well. Although you may suffer from headaches on a regular basis, you may not have any idea why the problem is occurring. Just as it is important for you to determine the type of headache that you have, it is also important to determine what is behind the headache that is occurring. In understanding the specifics of your headache problem, it is much easier for you to develop a plan that will help you to deal with it successfully and perhaps even to overcome it.

One of the most common options available for treating a headache is to simply reach for a pill. Some of these medications come in over-the-counter form, including those that reduce inflammation or perhaps that block the pain signals that could be leading to the issue that we are experiencing. Depending upon the type of headache that you have and the frequency with which you suffer from them, it may also be necessary for you to take a prescription medication.

Since there are so many different options for medication when it comes to treating headaches, it is a good idea for you to understand the options and to make the determination if it is right for you. We will give a detailed overview of some of the more popular choices when it comes to over-the-counter and prescription drugs that are taken for a wide variety of headaches. You will be surprised with how some of these medications work, and with the fact that many of them carry side effects that could even be worse than the headaches that you are experiencing.

In an effort to treat headaches and to avoid the possibility of taking medication, many people will turn to natural treatments. There are a number of different options available for treating your headache through natural treatment programs, and the options that are available may differ from one type of headache to another. In addition, it is important for you to identify the type of headache that you have before a natural treatment option is considered.

Although there have been many individuals who were able to reduce their headaches and perhaps even to overcome them by using a natural treatment, there are others who have seen limited success or perhaps no improvement after using a natural treatment. We will discuss why natural treatments may be an option for you and why you may want to consider the treatment that you are using carefully. An outline of various natural treatments will also be provided so that you can try some of them to reduce your pain without a pill.

One of the options that you will likely want to consider when it comes to improving your headaches is improving your overall health. More than likely, you recognize that there is a connection between headaches and health, and in many cases, it will take some changes in your lifestyle in order to improve the pain. In Chapter 6 of this publication, we will discuss some of the options that you would want to consider for improving your health and improving your headaches. By just making a few lifestyle changes, you can often discover more about your headaches and perhaps even to recognize the triggers that are causing them to occur in the first place.

Although there are many cases in which headaches may be treated properly, there are some instances in which headaches are going to be a matter of life. Unfortunately, some people suffer from chronic headaches and there is not much that can be done in the way of a medical or natural treatment. Although you will certainly want to try to remove the headaches when they become such a serious problem, it is also important to understand how to deal with the headaches effectively. We will discuss a number of factors in Chapter 7 of this publication that may help you to live with the headaches until you are able to find an effective treatment that would allow you to overcome them permanently.

This publication is more than a guide that will assist you in finding a treatment for your head pain. It is an overall guide for dealing with headaches and for understanding what is behind the problems that you are experiencing. When you are able to truly get a feel for what is causing your headaches and to recognize that there are often treatment options that can help, it does more than give you help, it gives you hope. That is what this publication is designed to do, to give you the hope that is necessary so that you can move forward and find the treatment that you deserve.

2. Identifying Your Headache Type

As is the case with many health problems, there are going to be differences in what is experienced from one individual to another. As we discussed in the previous chapter, there are even times when you may suffer from a wide variety of headaches and no headache pain is going to be the same from one time to another. This chapter is going to focus in on the type of headaches that are commonly experienced. In reading through this material and understanding what causes the headaches, it can often give you some indication as to what you can do to overcome the headache permanently.

Tension

It is important to understand that the information provided in this publication is not intended to diagnose or to provide any treatment option that is going to be right for your particular circumstances. This publication is simply pointing out the variations that are available and the options that are often considered from both a medical and natural standpoint. If you suffer from headaches, it is always best for you to contact a professional and ask him or her for assistance in coming up with a program that is going to be right for you.

Taking a Closer Look at the Headache Types

Tension Headaches - Out of all the different types of headaches that you may experience, tension headaches are the most common. Of course, just because they are common does not necessarily mean that you are experiencing them, but it is likely that you will have a problem with tension headaches at some time in your life.

As is the case with many types of headaches, it is not fully understood why people suffer from tension headaches. It is thought that it may be contractions of muscles that occur in the back of the neck or near the base of the scalp. It may also be associated with brain chemicals and changes that could take place in the chemicals on a temporary basis. Since tension headaches may occur because of tension in the back of the neck, they are often associated with stressful situations that can lead to this type of difficulty.

Although tension headaches may differ from one individual to another, it is likely to feel like a dull ache that can occur in any part of the head, but is usually more pronounced in the back of the head and neck area. You may also experience a tension headache as a pressure or aching in the temples. Most people that have tension headaches are able to function, even as they are suffering from them, but there can also be more severe cases of tension headaches that could lead to issues such as nausea and vomiting.

Most cases of tension headache are able to be controlled with an over-the-counter pain pill, such as ibuprofen, Tylenol or aspirin. There may also be some natural treatments that can help to reduce the tension headache pain that you are experiencing. In most cases, a problem with tension headaches is temporary and it will likely pass if you are able to manage the pain successfully.

Sinus Headaches - Another common headache and one that may recur regularly in some individuals is a problem with a sinus headache. As is the case with many types of headaches, the specific symptoms that are associated with sinus headaches may differ from one headache to the next and from one individual to another. Most people experience a deep pain in the area of the sinuses, including the forehead, across the top of the nose or in the cheekbones.

Although sinus headaches can occur for any number of different problems, it is usually associated with some type of inflammation that occurs in the sinuses. When this inflammation takes place, it can cause the sinuses to become blocked and can lead to the pain that you are experiencing. The causes of sinus inflammation and the possibility for a sinus headache can be associated with any number of different difficulties, including a bacterial infection, an allergic reaction or even a tumor. If the sinuses are unable to drain effectively, pressure can build up and lead to the symptoms that you are experiencing.

Although the sinus pressure can lead to a headache and it may be the only noticeable symptom, there are also other symptoms that are likely to occur when you have a sinus headache. Since it is affecting the area of the face near the eyes, you may have swollen and watery eyes during the headache. You may also experience problems with a nasal discharge, fever or even pain that travels into the area of the ears. Some people with sinus headaches experience swelling of the face that is noticeable as well.

Many chronic types of headaches are often mislabeled as being a sinus headache. If you suffer from what may appear to be a sinus headache regularly and it is not accompanied by other symptoms of a sinus headache, it may actually be a tension headache or even a migraine. A physician will often need to make a determination as to the exact type of headache that you are experiencing, and if it is a sinus headache, there may be a treatment option that can help.

Since many sinus headaches are caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be provided to help reduce the infection. Antihistamines may also be given, either an over-the-counter form or perhaps as a prescription, and those medications are very helpful in treating a sinus headache that is associated with allergies. If your sinuses are blocked by a tumor, tests will need to be done, and your doctor may need to operate to remove the tumor.

A number of natural treatments may also be available to help with sinus headaches. Some of those treatments will be discussed in a future chapter, and they may include using a humidifier or drinking more fluids to help reduce the pressure that is in your sinuses.

Migraines - Although there are different types of headaches that you may experience, individuals who suffer from migraines typically suffer from some of the more intense regular headaches. For some individuals, migraines may come and go in the course of a few hours but for others, they could easily last for a day or perhaps even multiple days, and the effects of a migraine can be debilitating.

One of the symptoms that may be associated with a migraine headache is a severe, throbbing pain that occurs in the head. There may also be additional symptoms that you would experience as well, including sensitivity to light and sound. Many individuals who suffer from migraine headaches experience nausea and vomiting because of the intensity of the pain as well. Prior to the time that you begin to experience the symptoms associated with a migraine, visual disturbances may become obvious and these can often give you a signal that the pain is coming. In some cases, you may be able to head off the pain at its early stages and to minimize the problems.

There are a number of different treatment options for migraine headaches from a medical standpoint. One option that is sometimes considered is an anti-inflammatory drug - at times, one that is injected. Steroids may also be administered and a calcium channel blocker, such as verapamil, may be prescribed. There are also migraine headache medications that are taken at the onset of a migraine and are not specifically to reduce the pain but may make changes in the blood flow to the area that can reduce all of the symptoms. It is very important that you understand how to properly take the medications that you are prescribed to avoid additional problems, including severe side effects.

For some individuals, over-the-counter medication may help limit the suffering that you experience. These include anti-inflammatory medications, such as Aleve or Advil or they could include Tylenol, aspirin and perhaps even caffeine. These types of medications have been effective in helping some people to limit the suffering of a migraine headache.

Another consideration for migraine headaches is the possibility that lifestyle changes may be needed to reduce the problem. If you suffer from regular migraine headaches, it is important to identify the triggers that may be leading to the problem. In some cases, it could be exposure to various chemicals, including cleaning chemicals or perhaps cigarette smoke. Allergies may also be behind your migraine headache and some types of food allergies increase your risk of suffering from them. Some women suffer migraine headaches at certain times of their menstrual cycle.

As we will discuss in another chapter, identifying the triggers that are behind your migraine headaches is sometimes the first step in treating them successfully. Take the time to learn as much as possible about your specific circumstances and you might be surprised that the solution presents itself.

Cluster Headaches - Another serious type of headache for many individuals is known as a cluster headache. These types of headaches may recur frequently and at times, you can have daily episodes or perhaps even multiple episodes each day. Although the specific length and duration of the headaches may differ from one individual to another, it typically lasts for a length of time that can be anywhere from a couple weeks to several months.

There may also be some kind of pattern that is recognizable with cluster headaches, particularly when it comes to the time of year that they are experienced. It is not uncommon for people who have cluster headaches to suffer from the problem at the same time every year, and it may be during the change of seasons. If you talk to your doctor about any problem with cluster headaches, make sure that he or she is aware of any pattern that you have recognized.

Although cluster headaches can happen at any time of the day, they commonly occur shortly after an individual goes to sleep, and that person may wake up with a severe headache at that time. All of us are working on what is known as a circadian rhythm that is linked to the 24 hour time period of a single day. Your cluster headaches may be associated with your circadian rhythm.

Some people describe cluster headache as feeling as if somebody is stabbing them with an ice pick. Although they have been described as being similar to a migraine headache, most people that suffer from cluster headaches will have more severe pain. Unlike migraine headaches, cluster headaches may not give any warning as to when one can occur, and it could simply start at any time if the conditions are right.

It is not fully know what causes cluster headaches and they are relatively rare, typically affecting less than one individual in every 1000. Men are more likely to have a problem with cluster headache, and they typically begin before an individual turns 30. It is thought that cluster headaches may be associated with a nerve in the brain known as the trigeminal nerve, which is a nerve in the area of face that is associated with heat and pain. It is thought that this nerve can be activated to cause pain in the area of the eye associated with cluster headaches. Although you may be concerned over the possibility of a tumor that is leading to the problem, it is rarely ever the case.

Like migraine headaches, there may be specific triggers that cause you have a problem with cluster headaches. For many individuals, it is associated with the season and it may also be a problem if you drink excessive alcohol or smoke cigarettes. During the time that you suffer from cluster headaches, it is recommended that to not smoke or drink alcohol because it can cause the headaches to be more severe.

Rebound Headaches One other type of headache that may be experienced is known as a rebound headache, and it is associated with the use of medications that may be prescribed to treat problems with headache pain. For example, an individual may suffer from tension headaches and the may use over-the-counter medications to treat the headaches effectively. Such a treatment may be fine for an occasional treatment, but if you continue to use the same medication on a routine basis, it could result and a rebound headache.

Most rebound headaches occur as a result of medication that is taken to treat headache pain. If you take pain relievers for any other condition, it is not likely that you will suffer a problem with rebound headaches if you continue to use it. Unfortunately, the treatment for rebound headaches is to stop taking the medication and eventually, the pain will go away on its own. It can be extremely difficult because you will have a headache without the usual treatment, but it is typically effective at stopping rebound headaches permanently.

3. What Is Behind the Pain in Your Head

As we discussed a number of times in this publication, the symptoms that are associated with headache are going to vary from one individual to another and even from one headache to another, if you have multiple headaches. Although you may understand the type of headache that you have and you may even be aware of some of the treatments that are available, you may not have a full grasp of why you are experiencing the pain. In this chapter, we are going to consider some of the information as to why you may have the pain, and this understanding can help you to discern what can be done to treat it.

Brain In Hand

First of all, it's important to recognize that headaches are part of an overall developing science. Although there is some scientific understanding as to why headaches occur, there is still much that needs to be learned. As this information continues to evolve, it will become easier for additional treatments to be made available and for the proper treatment to be discerned for your particular type of headache.

The definition of headache is not confined to pain that occurs directly in the head. Although the pain is often associated with the head in some way or another, it can also radiate to other areas and you may even be suffering from more severe pain in those areas. Included in those other areas are the neck and in particular, the back of the neck. Headache pain is also very common in the area of the face.

It is interesting to note that the head itself is not necessarily an area that could experience pain on its own. There are some structures in the area of the head, however, that do experience pain and they can easily transmit that pain and make you feel as if your head is hurting. Examples of one of the structures in the area of the head that can lead to a headache are the large blood vessels. If you suffer from a vascular headache, such as a migraine, it could be that some of the pain that you are experiencing is directly from those blood vessels that could be under an immense amount of pressure.

The bone and skin in the area of the head can also easily transmit pain, and could lead to the headache that you are experiencing as well. In addition, the TMJ joint in the jaw and even your teeth could be behind the headache that you are experiencing, and the pain may be transmitted to other areas of the head that are not directly associated with those areas.

One type of headache that is very common is a tension headache, and we had a brief discussion on tension headaches in the previous chapter. Tension headaches are not a matter of head pain, but rather they are often associated with tightness or spasms that occur in the muscular tissue. The tissue in the neck, for example, may experience such tightness for a variety of reasons, including the possibility that stress could lead to the problem. Although tension headaches are sometimes an issue associated with stress, the difficulties with the muscles in the area could occur for other reasons as well.

Identifying Headache Triggers

It is also important to recognize that there may be a trigger or perhaps multiple triggers that can lead to the headaches that you are experiencing. If you are able to identify the triggers, it makes it easier for you to come up with a solution that will help to reduce the problem that you are experiencing. Triggers may be associated with any type of headache, but one type of headache that is commonly caused by a specific trigger is migraine.

If you suffer from migraine headaches, it is important to keep a diary of everything that you do in your life so that you can identify the trigger that may be leading to the headache you are suffering from. For some individuals, it is a matter of stress, and it is difficult to get rid of the stress from your life. Stimulants are also a common trigger and it may be closely associated with certain types of foods, such as coffee or chocolate. A food allergy can also lead to a migraine headache, and if you're able to identify the problem that is leading to the symptom of a headache, you can eliminate it from your diet and potentially stop the headaches altogether.

Although many triggers can be identified and treated, there may also be additional triggers that are just as real but are difficult or perhaps even impossible to treat. An example is if you are suffering from any type of nerve damage and that damage is causing problems with headaches. That type of a trigger is not one that can be treated, but there may be solutions in the form of pain relievers that can help you to live with a headache and to reduce the pain and other symptoms that you are experiencing.

In many cases, and especially when it comes to migraine headaches, there may be nothing that can be done to stop the headache from occurring once the exposure to the trigger takes place. In addition, there may be some type of triggers that are impossible to avoid, including changes in the barometric pressure or perhaps exposure to pollen. You can limit the difficulty in some ways, but once you are exposed to the trigger, the headache is likely to occur.

There are medications that can help to reduce the headache pain that you are experiencing, especially in the case of migraines. Some of those drugs are taken immediately after the migraine begins to occur, and the earlier you are able to take it, the better. Those drugs are not taken on a regular basis as a preventative measure but they are taken to help reduce the difficulty you experience once a migraine actually occurs.

Primary vs Secondary Headaches

There is also some consideration of the specific type of headache you are experiencing and in some cases, they are referred to as either primary or secondary headaches. Although these are broad categories, it is a good idea for you to identify your type of headache so that you understand it more closely.

If you suffer from a primary headache, it is a problem that is considered to be on its own. It is not associated with any other type of other medical condition, so the headache would need to be treated directly. More than likely, there is a reason why you are suffering from headache but it is not able to be identified at this time.

A secondary headache does have another cause and, although the headache may be considered to be a problem on its own, it is associated with another type of medical issue. Some of the issues that can result in a secondary headache include head injury, infections, tumors, sinus pressure and hypoglycemia.

An additional reason why you may suffer from headaches is because of the chemical balance within the body. This is something that is not fully understood but it can be seen in the fact that many women suffer from migraine headaches during certain times of their menstrual cycle. If you suffer from a chemical imbalance in the body, including neurotransmitters such as serotonin, it could lead to the pain that you are experiencing. This type of the difficulty may be hard to diagnose, but it is a possibility for many people.

Your physician can help you to further identify the reason why you are suffering from headaches and what is behind the pain that may be a problem for you. Identifying the reason why you are suffering from a headache is one of the first steps that are necessary to successfully treating the problem.

4. Is a Pill Right for You?

As you'll learn in the following few chapters, there are quite a few options available for treating headaches. Some of those options are going to be considered natural treatments, and others may simply have to do with improving your health and making the right lifestyle choices. In this chapter, we are going to discuss the possibility of treating your headache in the most common way available, taking some type of medication. It can sometimes be the most effective way for you to treat an occasional headache and at times, medication may even be able to help you with long-term and chronic headaches as well.

Pills

Although many people have an aversion to taking any type of medication, there may be times when it can be beneficial to do so. Many different types of medications treat the symptoms but are not going to treat the underlying cause of the problem that you experience. That is also the case when it comes to medication for headaches, as they tend to focus on the symptoms but do not wipe out the underlying issue that could be leading to the pain you are experiencing. That being said, taking an over-the-counter medication for the occasional headache may be just what the doctor ordered.

Over-The-Counter Medications for Headaches

Although most of us tend to pick up the first pain reliever that we see on the shelves or perhaps the least expensive, there are actually some fundamental differences between the types of medications that you are taking. That is even the case when it comes to the over the counter pain relieving medications, including the following options that you will likely find on the shelves of most drugstores and at your local supermarket.

Acetaminophen - This type of pain relief medication is commonly found under the brand name Tylenol, but it is also available in generic as well. It is classified as both an analgesic (pain reducer) and an antipyretic (fever reducer). It is not fully understood how acetaminophen works but it may be associated with a brain chemical that is responsible for inflammation. Acetaminophen may also increase the pain threshold, which can make the headache more tolerable until it overtakes the medication that you are using. Most people are able to take acetaminophen without any severe side effects, but it can cause liver damage if it is taken for a long time or if you use too much of the drug.

Aspirin - A number of different brand-name medications are based on aspirin, which is commonly used for pain relief. Bufferin and Bayer are some of the better-known brands. You can also purchase aspirin as a generic medication. Aspirin is used as both a pain medication and a fever reducer and in some cases, a low dose of aspirin is recommended for individuals with high blood pressure or with a higher risk for blood clots. It is classified as both a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and a salicylate drug. When you use aspirin, it reduces swelling and pain by affecting chemicals within the body. Some mild side effects are possible when you take aspirin, including bronchial spasms and heartburn. In rare cases, it could lead to gastrointestinal bleeding or the possibility for an anaphylaxis reaction that may be life-threatening.

Ibuprofen - This medication is commonly found in brand-name over-the-counter drugs, such as Motrin and Advil. Ibuprofen is also available as a generic medication in over-the-counter form as well. Ibuprofen is classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and it can help to reduce pain and inflammation by affecting the chemicals in the body that lead to those difficulties. It is not only taken for headaches; it can be taken for a wide variety of painful conditions, including menstrual cramps, arthritis and dental pain. Some people who use ibuprofen may suffer from gastrointestinal difficulties and in more severe cases, the side effects can include nausea, vomiting and liver damage.

Naproxen - Available both as a generic drug and as a brand-name medication (Aleve), it is a common over-the-counter drug that can be used for headache pain. Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that reduces inflammation by stopping the body from producing certain chemicals. It is a common medication that is used for a wide variety of painful conditions, including tendinitis, menstrual cramps, arthritis, joint stiffness and dental pain.

Prescription Headache Medications

Triptans - One of the more common medications that are prescribed for migraine headaches, this medication is used at the onset of a migraine to help reduce the symptoms that are experienced. Like many medications that are prescribed for migraines, it is not fully understood how it works but it may affect the blood vessels near the brain, causing them to narrow and reducing some of the vascular pain that may be associated with a migraine headache. One of the problems that can be associated with the use of triptans is the possibility for rebound headaches. They typically occur if you use medication for headaches for an extended amount of time. Other side effects can include muscle weakness, dizziness, nausea and heart rhythm disorders.

Beta Blockers - Another medication that can be prescribed for migraines, beta blockers, may reduce how many migraines you have every month. When you use beta blockers for the treatment of migraine headaches, it may have several different effects that can help to reduce the difficulty. One of those effects is that beta blockers affect the beta adrenergic receptors that could otherwise cause the arteries near the brain to dilate. It may also cause the blood vessels to dilate by reducing blood platelets. The side effects that may be associated with beta blockers include lightheadedness, dizziness, depression, low libido and it could affect your heart rate and blood pressure.

Anti-Seizure Drugs - Although these medications, such as Neurontin and Topamax, are typically prescribed for the treatment of seizures, it may also have an effect on the brain pathways that are associated with migraine headaches. Some of the side effects associated with anti-seizure drugs include sleepiness, dizziness, hair loss and confusion.

Calcium Channel Blockers - If your doctor prescribes a calcium channel blocker, such as verapamil, it is typically to reduce how many migraine headaches you experience. Calcium channel blockers do not always work immediately to reduce migraines but it may take a month or longer before you experience the benefits of using it. When you use a calcium channel blocker, it reduces the constriction of your blood vessels. It is not fully understood why calcium channel blockers can prevent migraine headaches but they have been shown to do so in a number of cases. There are many side effects associated with calcium channel blockers, including constipation, lightheadedness, erectile dysfunction and fatigue.

NSAIDs - Some of the more common over the counter medications are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and your doctor may also prescribe this type of medication for the treatment of headaches. Migraines and menstrual migraines are some of the more common types of headaches that are treated with this type of prescription medication and they may also help to prevent a problem with migraines. Heavy usage of NSAID drugs can lead to a number of side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding and indigestion.

Antidepressant Drugs - in some cases, your doctor may feel that it is appropriate to prescribe an antidepressant drug for the relief of migraine headache symptoms. Although your doctor may decide differently, tricyclic antidepressants are the most common medications that are prescribed for this reason. Some of the side effects associated with antidepressant drugs include drowsiness, nausea and heart rhythm disorders. It may also be possible that you will experience an increased amount of depression and the possibility for suicidal thoughts, and you should alert your doctor to any serious side effects that you are experiencing.

5. Natural Cures for Headaches

In the previous chapter, we discussed some of the medication that may be taken in order to reduce the symptoms of a headache. Those medications may include both prescription and over-the-counter drugs, many of which are easily available at your local drugstore or supermarket. Although it is the most common course of action to simply take a pill to reduce the head pain you are experiencing, it is not the only option that you may want to consider. Some people have an aversion to taking medication, especially if they have to take it on a regular basis. In this chapter, we will discuss the possibility of using a natural treatment that can help to reduce your headaches.

Worry Or Relief

There are a few things that need to be kept in mind before we begin discussing some of these natural treatments. First of all, natural treatments do not always work as quickly as a medication, mainly because a medication is treating the symptoms but the natural treatment is going after the cause. If you want to experience benefits from using a natural treatment, it is important to be persistent with your efforts.

In addition, the treatment that you choose should be specific to the reasons why you are suffering from a headache and the type of headache that you may have. Although many of the treatments have helped countless people to overcome their problems with headaches in a natural way, using the wrong natural treatment is not going to focus on the reason why you are suffering from headaches. Be discerning when it comes to choosing a natural treatment and then be persistent.

Ice - If you have a severe headache and you just want some relief, it may be as close as your freezer. This type of a natural treatment is not necessarily going after the cause of the headache, but it can help you to get the quick relief that you need from the pain that you are experiencing. By applying an ice bag to the area of the headache, you help to numb the area and you may also affect the blood flow, which can help in the case of a vascular headache.

Acupuncture - This is an ancient Chinese method that has been used for a wide variety of purposes from losing weight to stress relief and even for the relief of headaches. According to the basic principles of acupuncture, we all have an energy that flows through our body and if the energy is interrupted, it can lead to health problems. Acupuncture uses thin needles that are inserted in specific areas of the body to help maintain the free flow of energy and to stop any blockages. Many people have experienced relief from acupuncture treatments.

Relax - Some headaches may come on as a result of stress, and stress is certainly something that all of us experience. One thing that you can do to help reduce headaches as a result of stress is to learn relaxation techniques. There are multiple techniques available and we will discuss one of the top deep breathing techniques for relaxation in the following chapter. It is known as square breathing and it can be life-changing if you do it regularly.

Massage - Many people find that it is very beneficial to get a massage on a regular basis. A weekly massage can have great benefits, and it may not only help to reduce a problem with headaches, it can reduce many other issues, such as depression. There are many different types of massage available but acupressure is one that you would certainly want to consider.

Stretching - In some cases, the muscles in the neck and the back of the head are going to be involved in the pain that you are experiencing. This is especially true when it comes to tension headaches. At times, a simple stretch of those muscles is all that is necessary to stop the headache. Stretching on a regular basis can also help to reduce the number of headaches that you experience in some cases.

There are a number of different types of stretching exercises that can keep the muscles of the neck loose. One that you may want to try, however, is to gently stretch your neck by turning your head to the side and using your fingers on your cheek to add a slight amount of pressure. Do not overstretch the neck muscles. After gently stretching for three seconds, push back against your fingers for three seconds but do not allow your neck to move. Relax your muscles for one second and then stretch further. You would be surprised with how much further your muscles will allow you to stretch. This type of exercise should only be done three times per week.

Ginger - One natural method that can help to reduce inflammation and the pain associated with it very quickly is ginger. You can use ginger as a juice or you can brew it in a tea and in either case, it tends to work very quickly and is just as effective is taking aspirin for pain relief.

Peppermint Oil - It has long been known that the use of peppermint oil can help to reduce a problem with a mild tension headache. Not only can it help to reduce the pain that you are experiencing, the scent is going to be very relaxing as well. When you have a tension headache, you can rub a small amount of peppermint oil at the hairline near where the pain is coming from. It can help to relax the muscles that may be experiencing spasms or tension and releasing the headache pain you're experiencing.

Feverfew - Available as a supplement in most health food stores and supermarkets, this natural treatment has been shown to be very effective at eliminating headaches. It is a type of anti-inflammatory treatment that can reduce both inflammation and pain. It is possible to reduce any type of headache with feverfew but it has been especially noted to be beneficial for the prevention of migraine headaches.

These are only a few of the many options available for naturally treating headache pain. You will also appreciate the options available in the following chapter that have more to do with lifestyle choices and maintaining your overall health. When you make the right choices and naturally treat a problem such as headaches, you will find that it offers a solution where medical science may fall short.

6. Improving Your Health to Improve the Pain

Throughout the pages of this publication, we have considered many reasons why you might be experiencing headaches and some of the primary things that can be done in order to reduce your headaches. In this chapter, we are going to discuss the fact that caring for your health properly can often help to reduce the pain that you are experiencing and at times, can even reduce the number of headaches or eliminate them altogether. There are a number of factors that we will consider, including the food that you eat, the exercise you receive, the water that you drink and how to relax.

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Taking a Closer Look at Your Diet

As you probably realized by now, many of the problems that we experience with headaches is a direct result of triggers that cause the headaches to occur. One of the leaders on the list of triggers is a problem with food, and it can be very difficult to discern the type of food that is causing your difficulties. That is why it may be necessary for you to do a global reset and then to work your way back into your diet one piece at a time to determine which food is causing your problems.

Just because you are going on a cleansing diet does not mean that it needs to be overly restrictive. Yes, there are things that need to be completely removed from your diet, and in some cases you may even experience some temporary headaches as a result of withdrawal from those food products. Examples of some of the types of food that can lead to temporary headaches when you remove them from your diet include sugar, wheat and caffeine.

The basic structure of your new diet is going to be based largely on starches, fruits and vegetables. You can eat as much of you want of the following foods without restriction.

Corn

Potatoes (any type)

Rice (any type)

Legumes

Fruits

Vegetables

Nuts and Seeds (limited)

Eggs

Natural soups

Herbal tea

Vinegar

Sea salt

Natural Yogurt

Chicken

Turkey

Fish

It is also necessary to completely remove certain types of food from your diet. In doing so, you will notice an almost immediate boost in your health that includes rapid weight loss, less depression and much more energy. Eliminate the following from your diet

Anything Out Of a box or Can

Red Meat

Pork

Dairy Products

Fried Foods

Wheat, Barley and Rye

Alcohol

Shellfish

Mayonnaise

Soy

Honey

Peanuts

Coffee

This is a semi-restrictive diet but you will still have plenty of choices and there is no need for you to feel deprived when you eat this way. It is possible that you will experience an immediate reduction in your headaches as a result of eating this way, and you may never want to go back to eating the standard American diet again.

Stay on this diet for a minimum of two months and then begin adding foods back into your diet one by one. It is important not to simply shift from eating clean to eating unclean, or you will not be able to discern what is causing your headaches. Begin adding food into your diet slowly and if you experience a headache, back off from that type of food immediately. It will not take you long to discern what type of food you are able to eat safely. Believe it or not, your body will let you know.

Improving Your Health through Exercise

There are also a number of different types of exercises that can be done to help improve your health and to reduce the headaches that you are experiencing. For most of us, exercise is something that we do on occasion at best and we may avoid the necessary exercise regularly. If you begin to add it back into your life, however, you will experience an increase in your health and the possibility for a decrease in your headaches.

One of the reasons why your headaches may be reduced when you exercise is because it allows your blood to flow more freely, both while you are exercising and while you are at rest. Some of the vascular headaches that we experience, such as migraines, may be overcome through exercise because the blood vessels and blood flow are more regulated. In addition, your muscles will be stronger and more limber, so it may help to reduce problems with muscle tension and the headaches associated with it.

There are many different exercises that you can do, including anaerobic exercises (lifting weights) and aerobic exercises (running, walking, biking etc.). It is really up to you to decide which of these exercises is going to fit into your lifestyle on a regular basis. When you choose an exercise plan, it is important for you to continue to keep up with it for the long term. It is generally recommended that you exercise a minimum of 30 minutes most days of the week.

Although there are many different types of exercises that you can do, there is one that has been proven to have many benefits for the human body. In fact, in a test that was done by NASA, it was shown that it is more effective than running on the treadmill, walking or riding a bicycle. I'm talking about rebounding, a type of exercise that is not only easy, it is enjoyable.

In order for you to get started with rebounding, you are going to need a rebounder, which is a small trampoline. There are many different rebounders on the market, but going with a high-end unit will be easier on the knees and will produce greater results. When you are bouncing on the rebounder, it is not necessary for your feet to leave the mat; a gentle bounce is all that is needed to get good results.

Rebounding produces results because you are experiencing additional gravity when you are at the bottom of the bounce and a slight amount of weightlessness when you're at the top of the bounce. Not only can it produce dramatic results for you very quickly, it also has additional benefits, such as helping with your digestive system and cleaning the lymphatic system. By balancing your body, rebounding can help to reduce headaches for many individuals.

Are You Getting Enough Water?

One of the problems that many of us face and in some instances, a chronic problem since we were very young, is a difficulty with dehydration. Even though we may drink fluids throughout the day, including coffee in the morning and sugary soda in the afternoon, it is not really contributing the amount of fluid that we need in order to be hydrated properly. Hydration is a matter of drinking water, and you need to drink enough of it.

Most of us realize that we are somewhat dehydrated and our thirst mechanism may kick in throughout the day, although we tend to ignore it. When you feel thirsty, it means that you are already on your way to dehydration and it is more of a chronic issue at that point. It is best if you are able to drink enough water throughout the day and to keep yourself satisfied so that you never get thirsty.

The exact amount of water that you need may vary from one person to another and it will also depend upon your exercise level. For the most part, 3 quarts of water is all that is needed to keep most people hydrated properly. You may need to schedule a few more bathroom breaks during the day, but the almost instant boost to your health is going to be well worth the effort. If you really want to challenge, you can try drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water on a daily basis.

One way to ensure that you are getting enough water is to do a kidney flush every morning. A kidney flush is done with a quart and a half of room temperature water that is consumed within 10 minutes after waking in the morning. Admittedly, it can be a challenge to drink this much water at first but eventually, your body will become accustomed to it and will even crave it. When you do a kidney flush, it can give you about half of your allocation of water every day. In addition, most people feel lighter and more energetic during the day when they do a morning kidney flush.

If you want to improve on plain water, add some fresh squeezed lemon juice to it. Lemon juice has wonderful properties and it will help to hydrate your body even further, along with promoting a proper pH balance. When you're trying to improve headaches, lemon may be something that you want to consider.

Are You Relaxed?

One other factor to consider in your overall health is your stress level. All of us experience stress but unfortunately, some of us may have it to the point where it is chronic and can affect us on both an emotional and a physical level. If you feel as if you are never able to relax, it is time to take the initiative and to learn how to do so.

Although there are many different relaxation techniques that can be considered, deep breathing exercises are one of the most convenient and easiest to do. In this section, we are going to talk about square breathing, which is something that is taught to individuals and is even taught to first responders as a way to calm their nerves under pressure.

Square breathing takes about one minute to accomplish and it should be done while you are in a seated position, otherwise you may have a difficulty with hyperventilating. Throughout the entire square breathing process, you will be counting multiple times to 4 and you should make it a slow, consistent count. If you find that you are unable to make it to the count of four, you can decrease the count of 3 but keep it consistent throughout the exercise.

Breathe in - You will start with your lungs comfortably empty and breathe in through your nose to the count of four. Allow the breath to fill your entire lungs, engaging the diaphragm and taking in the life-giving oxygen that we all need. Imagine the oxygen traveling throughout the body and keeping every cell alive and clean.

Hold Your Breath - The second step in the process is to hold your breath to the same count of four. Most people will not have a difficulty in doing this, but if you are unaccustomed to deep breathing, you may need to reduce your count to three. Eventually, you will become accustomed to the sensation of holding your breath for that short amount of time.

Breathe out - The third part of square breathing is to breathe out gently through your mouth to the count of four. Do not force the air out of your lungs but simply allow the air to escape naturally until your lungs are comfortably empty.

Hold Your Breath - The final part of square breathing is to hold your breath without air in your lungs for the count of four. This may also be difficult for some individuals, especially if you suffer from breathing problems such as asthma or COPD. After holding your breath and leave your lungs empty for the count of four, you will repeat the process.

The four steps of the square breathing process should be completed a total of four times. It is likely to take you less than a minute to go through the square breathing process, but the benefits of doing so will be almost instantly recognized. It can help to regulate your breathing when you're under stress and it also changes the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body to one that is healthier.

If you are looking for a proven technique that can help you to relax, square breathing offers it to you. You can carry it with you everywhere you go and use it when you feel as if you are under too much pressure.

7. Living with Frequent Headaches

Although there are many different treatment options available that can help to reduce the number of your headaches, their frequency and severity of the problem, there may also be times in which nothing can be done. Unfortunately, the cause of some types of headaches is something that is irreversible and can include problems with nerve damage, injury and other difficulties. Although it is a good idea to do what you can to reduce the problem, there may be times when it is just necessary for you to live with the headaches. In this chapter, we are going to discuss how to live with headaches in the best way possible.

Headache

First of all, it is important to discuss the fact that we are talking about chronic headaches and not an occasional problem with a tension headache or sinus headache. Although any type of headache can be serious, there is a difference between living through a single headache that may have been treated with some over-the-counter medication and dealing with severe and chronic headaches that will not stop.

As we discussed previously, identify the triggers of the headache and if at all possible, avoid the trigger like the plague. This may not help to reduce all problems with the headache, but it can go a long way in helping you to avoid any headaches when possible. The last thing that you would want to do is to add a difficulty with additional headaches on top of the headaches that you already experience.

It may also be necessary for you to take preventative measures rather than reactive measures. Most people that suffer from headaches are going to take medication once the headache occurs, but in some cases, doing so would be too late. This includes migraine headaches, which can be crippling in their severity. Some medications may help to reduce a migraine if you take it at the time that it first occurs, but any type of preventative measure that you can take is going to have benefit.

At times, it may just be necessary for you to talk to others about your problem. Unfortunately, people who have not experienced these types of headaches may be less than sympathetic when it comes to the difficulties you're experiencing. For most people, a headache is a temporary problem that goes away after you take a pill, but if the headache is chronic, it can be life altering. You may be able to find a support group in your local area or perhaps an online support group where you can talk about your problems and get the support that you need. In some cases, they may be able to provide some great advice but in other cases, they are simply a sympathetic ear that will hear your problems.

It can be difficult to live with chronic headaches, but it is not impossible to do so. With the right pain management structure in place and with the support that you need, you can successfully deal with the headaches and live with them one day at a time.

8. Headache Tips

This publication has provided you with many means to control headaches and to reduce them if at all possible. In this chapter, we are going to focus on some specific tips that can help to reduce the problem even further. Many of these tips have already been suggested in other sections of the publication, but a review of those tips and having them in one specific location can give you a ready guide and reference for your benefit. You may find that applying one or more of these tips regularly can have a profound effect on your headache problem.

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Take Preventative Measures Rather than waiting for the headache to take place, it is of benefit if you take preventative measures and stop it from occurring if at all possible. Some of the preventative measures could include avoiding triggers to your headaches, eating the right foods, getting some exercise and staying hydrated.

Know Your Triggers Another important tip to keep in mind is that you should understand the potential triggers of your headaches and avoid them when possible. The triggers can be anything from a type of food that you are eating to environmental factors. If you can avoid your triggers, you can sometime avoid the headaches.

Know When to Take Medication Many of us would like to avoid taking medication but that may not always be the best choice when it comes to headaches. Long-term medication usage for the treatment of headaches can have problems but for most of us, taking an over-the-counter medication to relieve an occasional headache may be the best choice available. It is up to you, but dont discount the benefits of treating the symptoms on occasion.

Do What Works Well for you Although it may seem like rather simplistic advice, it is still advice that is very sound. If you find something that works well in reducing your headaches, such as altering your diet or perhaps avoiding being around certain chemicals, by all means, take every measure to continue doing it. Dont overlook the sound reasoning of doing something that works and continuing to do it for the long term.

Get the Necessary Support It is not necessary for you to go through headaches alone and you may find that talking about the problem is some of the best medicine that you can possibly take. There are support groups available both online and in most local areas, and you will find a sympathetic ear from somebody that understands your problem.