Natural Solutions for Headaches! Part 1

In my chiropractic and acupuncture in Golden, CO, I see a lot of patients complaining of headaches. There are many different reasons that headaches occur in the body. I always appreciate when patients come in with x-rays of the neck, and/or MRI’s of the neck and brain. These studies help to rule out major problems in those areas. However the most common outcome is that the patient is told that the study is normal and they will just have to take medications for the pain. Not true! There are many natural treatments that can help or eliminate headaches, and that includes tension or stress headaches, neck headaches as well as migraine and sinus headaches. Today I would give you some insight into how chiropractic and acupuncture can help, and then some tips as well for self help.

Chiropractic and Headaches

Headaches can certainly be a “pain” for those who suffer from them. Whether tension, migraine or sinus headaches I have seen many patients over the years that have these frequent headaches, either daily or weekly, and it certainly interferes with quality of life.

The good news is that chiropractic treatment for headaches can be very effective. Mis-alignments in the spine can restrict the motion of the neck, and can cause nerve irritation to the nerves that provide the pain sensation to the head, neck and face. Typically the mis-alignments will be in the upper part of the neck right under the skull, and many patients will have pain and tenderness in those areas. Chiropractic treatment helps to realign the spine, and can reduce muscle tightness and nerve irritation. It can be much more effective than taking medications, since long term use of medications can interfere with the body’s natural pain control mechanism. This can result in a “rebound” headache and continues the cycle of pain.

Acupuncture and Headaches

Acupuncture is another very effective treatment for headaches. Acupuncture allows endorphins (pain killing hormones, like opiates) to be released. The needling also can release spasms or tightness in the muscles in the neck and at the base of the skull.

The other benefit of acupuncture is that it treats your internal energies. Balancing your meridians or channels of energy is important in Chinese Medicine. For example, the Liver allows your Chi, or energy, to flow freely through the body, and when this energy is obstructed or restricted then symptoms such as headaches can occur.  I have had very good results with helping patients with migraine headaches with a combination of acupuncture and chiropractic, and they are very grateful to be off their headache medications!  This treatment can also help with those nasty sinus headaches, as acupuncture can help drain and clear the sinuses.

Here are some tips you can use at home for headache care:

  • Use and ice pack over the back of your neck and base of your skull if it is tight or sore
  • An ice pack or cooling mask can be used over your eyes or forehead for pain in those areas as well
  • Acupressure can help; locate the point in the web between your thumb and first finger, and then press and hold. This activates and acupuncture point that is used to treat headaches. You can also rub the points in your forehead about an inch above the center of your eyebrow, these may be tender but this can help relieve the tension in these points and entire forehead.

Look for Part 2 coming up, with more about headaches from allergies, sinuses and food related headaches…………..

Natural Stress Relief, Now!

Ways to Relieve Stress Naturally

 Do you have stress in your life? Who doesn’t to some degree? Did you know that chronic low grade stress can cause health problems and even hormone imbalances? And the crazy thing is that chronic stress can lead to insomnia, and then you have the added stress of not being able to sleep. This is just one example of how stress can affect us.

The adrenal glands are small glands on top of the kidney that regulate hormones for a “fight or flight” response to a big stress or event in life. But in our busy world these days most people are under low grade continuous stress, which causes health problems because that is not the way our adrenal glands were designed to work. They were designed to respond to the “big” event or stress and then not have to work so hard. Since we are all under some kind of chronic stress today I would like to give you some tips on how to reduce stress in your life on a daily basis.

 Stress reduction tips:

  • Meditation is a wonderful way to quiet the mind, and to just be present in the moment for a little while. Meditation is not hard, but takes practice. Just sit and breathe and be present, even for a few minutes a day. Of course the longer you sit the better it gets!
  • Can’t meditate sitting? Yes, I have heard that one a lot, so another way of practicing is walking meditation. You get the benefit of exercise, as well as quieting your mind and being present in the moment and space you are in. No thinking about grocery lists or things to do on this walk, just be present and breathe!
  • As a woman I feel I must be excellent at multi-tasking, since I do it all the time. But am I really good at it or is it just a big distraction? A new idea is to do one thing at a time! See if it works for you in reducing stress or anxiety in your day.
  • Self care can mean different things to different people. Incorporate things into your day that you enjoy and make you feel good. I love taking a hot bath at the end of a day of being on my feet. But sometimes I think I’m too busy. But am always glad when I slow down to do this!
  • Herbs and supplements can really help with physical relaxation. Magnesium and calcium are time tested methods relaxing muscles (without drugs). Passionflower, valerian and chamomile are great for relaxation and better sleep. In my practice my patients really like Myocalm and Myocalm P.M. for natural muscle relaxation and sleep. I also really like RelaxMax, which is a powder supplement containing amino acids to support healthy brain chemistry and magnesium for the muscles.
  • Acupuncture and chiropractic treatments are also great for stress relief. By balancing your energy and realigning your spine this helps to relax muscles and improve well being.

Know your hormone levels! I offer blood testing and saliva testing that can test for hormones, thyroid and adrenal levels for women and men. Why do you need to know this? Chronic stress can mean that your hormones are out of balance, and I can offer natural solutions to help you.