Migraine Headaches: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

A migraine headache is recognizable by intense pulsing or throbbing in an area of ​​the head often accompanied by sensitivity to sound or light, nausea, and vomiting. Sufferers can be in pain for hours or even days and may be forced to lie down in a dark, quiet location. Understanding what causes these painful headaches, how to prevent them, and how to treat a migraine before it worsens can improve the lifestyle.

Causes and Symptoms of Migraine Headaches

Researchers have not pinpointed definitive causes of these headings but genetic predisposition and factors related to the environment seem to play roles. Brain chemical imbalances and changes within the brainstem and how it interacts with the major pain pathway called the trigeminal nerve may also be causes. Female hormonal changes, certain foods or drinks, stress, sensory stimuli such as bright lights, medicines, and weather changes can trigger a migraine.

The headache often progresses through several stages, each with different symptoms. One to two days before after, the individual may experience irritability, depression, hyperactivity, a stiff neck, excess yawning, constipation, or cravings for certain foods. Just before or during a headache, a disturbance called an aura may occur. Although this is usually visual, it may instead be a verbal, sensory, or motor disturbance.

This is followed by throbbing or pulsing pain on one or both sides of the head, blurred vision, lightheadedness, sensory sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting. Each headache typically lies for between four and 72 hours. After experiencing a migraine, the individual usually feels drained of energy. If symptoms include a headache that is severe and abrupt or accompanied by double vision, numbness, difficulty speaking, or a stiff neck, immediate medical attention is recommended.

Prevention and Treatment of Migraine Headaches

Aerobic exercise on a regular basis is one way to reduce tension that may lead to this type of headache. If an odor or food is a known trigger, avoidance is a good preventive measure. A daily routine that includes consistent meal times and regular patterns of sleep may be helpful. Controlling stress is also recommended and can be done through meditation, yoga, or simply enjoying some quiet time.

Although medication is a common treatment, many people prefer to avoid it. Alternative treatments include spinal manipulation therapy provided by a chiropractor. Results of clinical trials include a substantial reduction of attacks and headache intensity. Some studies indicate that chiropractic treatment may be as effective as medications for migraine prevention.

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Best Herbal Remedies For Headache

Headache is probably the most common condition people experience. It is approximated that 50 million people look for medical consideration for headache every single year in the United States alone also over $ 500,000,000 is paid annually on headache drugs. You can find herbal remedies for headaches that assists you without having chemical based medicines.

Top 5 Herbals Remedies For Headache


Ginger is the best herbal remedy to get the relief from headache. It helps in reducing the inflammation of the blood vessels in the head. You can take the ginger with a cup of tea. When you make the tea add some amount of ginger to it. This gives you good results. Also you can add the ginger to the food.


Cinnamon is the other good herbal for doing the treatment of headache and specifically the headache which occurs by cold. To use this herbal, primarily take some sticks of cinnamon and grind them and do not forget to add small amount of water, so you can make the paste of it. Then apply that paste on the head, after some time you get the relief from pain. Along with this you can also take the powder of cinnamon by mixing the honey in it. Intake this mixture with boiled water.


Mullein is a kind of plant and also an herb. Its root and flowers are used as an herb to cure the head pain. You can take this herbal in the form of powder. To make the powder firstly take the roots and flowers, and then after cleaning of then put them in the sunlight till they do not become dry. Then grind them and take a teaspoon of twice a day with water to remove the effects of headache.

Peppermint Oil

Due to the calming and smoothing properties, peppermint oil has proved itself as one of the best remedy to get rid of head pain. During the headache apply the oil on the head and massage it. Oil helps to open and close the blood vessels which promote the blood flow. Along with this, you can also apply the paste of crushed peppermint leaves to cure the pain.


If you are suffering from the headache, then the use of the rosemary is the best option. The rosmarinic acid present in rosemary acid has the anti-inflammatory properties which can provide relief in much headache. Along with this you can also take the tea which contains the mixture of 1 teaspoon of both rosemary and sage. Drink this tea 2 or 3 times a day. Also you can make the tea by only taking one of them if any one between rosemary and sage is not present. Within some hours you feel the relaxation.

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Researchers Identify New Theory on Migraines

Migraines are the most common neurological disorder in the developed world According to a 2013 study in the journal Headache, 16.6% of adults report having migraines or severe headaches. They also found that headache was the 5th leading cause of emergency room visits in the US. Because it is so common, many people underestimate how disabling a certain headache can be. Many of the patients I see with headaches talk about how it can cause them to take dozens of sick days at work and how it affects their relationship with friends and family.

Historically, chiropractors with a focus on correcting the upper cervical spine have seen a great amount of success in helping head patients, but little research has been done that explains why. Last year, a group of Canadian doctors set out to understand why the upper neck is such a problem for headache sufferers. The initial results have started to change our understanding of headaches and other neurological disorders.

The researchers studied a small sample of people with chronic migraine headaches. They studied these patients using magnetic resonance angiography. Each patient had a neurologist verify their diagnosis and were sent for a study that measured blood flow going in and out of the head. Each patient was evaluated for a structural shift in the top bone of the spine called the atlas. The authors noted that those with a displacement of the Atlas had sluggish blood flow out of the skull which caused old blood and cerebral spinal fluid to back up into the head. When these patients received a correction of the atlas, 90% reported improvement in headache symptoms in conjuction with an improvement venous blood flow leaving the head.

Why does a venous back up cause headaches? Venous blood is full of metabolic waste and deoxygenated blood. When you couple that with the increased pressure pushing back into the head, you have a recipe for major problems. Although there is more pressure going back into the head, the skull will not allow pressure to rise because it is a solid, immovable object. The end result is the extra venous pressure will lead to softer tissues in the head to shrink or degenerate; namely, brain tissue.

Two years ago, I had a young lady referred to my office by a neurologist in Jacksonville's Mayo Clinic. She was 18 years old at the time and had been suffering with DAILY migraines after a fall from a horse when she was 5. She had forced her into being home schooled, with the possibility of going away to college a virtual fantasy. Our testing revealed that her atlas was the culprit, and within a few weeks of gentle corrections she was headache-free and the opportunity to go to a school in California was now a reality.

On the surface, it seems hard to believe that such a small thing could cause such a major problem. After all, it's just a small bone, shifted a small amount, blocking a small amount of fluid. Just remember that it just takes a small bit of cholesterol to form a small clot, and tiny microrganisms can wreak some major havoc. The one thing we should all remember is that we're talking about the health of the brain and spinal cord, and small changes can affect the brain in big ways.

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Helpful Tips to Prevent Migraines

If you suffer from migraines, you know how debilitating these headaches can be. When migraines strike, you can be down for the count as you suffer from a throbbing pain that can last anywhere from four hours to three days. Nausea, vomiting, and a sensitivity to light are common side effects as well. Most often, any form of activity will only worsen your condition. Rather than accept migraines in your life, take preventive measures to stave off the next round. While you may not always be able to avoid migraines, it's possible to have less severe attacks that do not happen as often by taking steps to prevent them.

Keep a Headache Journal

Start keeping track of when your migraines take place. Note the time of day, anything that happened before the attack, and pay attention to your diet as well. Consider your amount of sleep on the day of a migraine and any medications that were taken. After you've kept your journal consistently, look for triggers that may cause your headaches. It could be due to dehydration, low blood sugar, allergies to certain foods, lack of sleep, hormone changes, weather changes, or stress.

Be Aware: You Could Be Prone to Migraines

Women tend to be affected by migraines more often than men. They also strike victims from the ages of 10 to 40 the most. Knowing that you are at risk can help you to be proactive.

Pay Attention to Early Warning Signs

Pay attention to early signs of an approaching migraine in examples of avoiding a full-blown attack. If you feel a stiff neck, see an aura, have problems with dizziness, find communicating to be a problem, or light begins to bother you, listen to your body and take a break.

Make a Plan to Address Migraines

Based on your journal, try different foods, avoid caffeine, cut back on alcohol, and get adequate rest. Relaxation techniques and dark glasses may be helpful as well. Exercise and supplements are also beneficial. Pay attention to weather conditions and hormone changes as well.

Migraines can also be addressed using alternative methods such as acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation and physiotherapy. Prevention of migraines may include medical devices such as biofeedback and neurostimulators. The use of medication is only beneficial at the beginning. When used more frequently, patients may suffer from medication overuse in which headaches may become more frequent and more painful.

A visit to a local physician or specialist is the best approach when dealing with migraine attacks.

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More Home Remedies For Migraines

Following a regular sleeping schedule is one of the most recommended home remedies for migraines. A sleeping schedule, when followed appropriately, brings more relaxation and will in turn help in relieving the symptoms of migraines. It works best to have a fixed time for going to bed and for waking if this can be brought into regular practice. Oversleeping has to be avoided as this can also be detrimental.

De-stressing the body is one of the most beneficial home remedies with migraine pain as stress is considered one of the causes that will trigger the onset of this condition. Certain techniques such as meditation, yoga and progressive muscle relaxation will be beneficial for the body and mind. Other methods such as listening to music, gardening, reading, taking a hot shower, taking a walk, sitting in a silent place, can also help to give the body and mind ample time to relax and revitalize.

When in the mid of a migraine, resting in a dark, quiet room can help to curve the pain from progressing. Applying ice compresses to the back of the neck is one of the best home remedies for migraines.

According to surveys, most migraine sufferers tend to have a dearth of magnesium in their bodies. Magnesium is known as a muscle relaxant and including foods rich in magnesium in the diet can also be beneficial as one of the home remedies for migraines. Several foods that are rich in magnesium are black beans, raw broccoli, halibut, oysters, spinach, rock fish, whole wheat bread.

As previously mentioned, certain foods can induct migraines in certain people. These are chocolate, cow's milk, egg, orange, cheese, tomato, rye, wheat. Alcohol and caffeine are known to trigger migraines in most susceptible people.

Other home remedies for migraine relief include the juice of ripe grapes, foods rich in niacin, vitamin B essential for normal function of the nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract). A mix of carrot juice with spinach or a mix of beet and cucumber juices. Applying the paste of fresh lemon crust to the forehead usually helps in soothing migraine pain. Using fresh crushed cage leaves as a compress on the forehead serves the same purpose.

There have to date been no medical advances which are currently available to cure migraines. However, following the beneficial, natural and safe home remedies for migraines as listed above, you have a very good chance of lessening the intensity and frequency of your headaches.

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Alleviate Neck Pain and Start Living Again

Heed the warning signs: if headaches are making you irritable and your lack of energy has you feeling left out while friends and family whirl past you like energizer bunnies, neck pain might be the problem. Perhaps drudging through another day at the office seems nothing short of dreadful thanks to that crick in your neck. The pain can leave your spirits (and energy levels) completely sapped.

Luckily, you can significantly improve your stamina and increase energy levels by committing to these simple daily neck exercises that are proven to increase neck mobility while reducing pain. And since these exercises take no more than 5 minutes per day to perform, they're easy to squeeze into even the busiest of schedules.

Getting Started to Neck Pain Relief

Make sure that you pick out a comfy, flat-backed chair on which you will perform all of your exercises. Sit up straight in your chair, keep your head aligned with your body, and plant your feet on the floor. Pain should not be a part of the equation. If you feel any discomfort, discontinue the exercises immediately and do not resume until you have bought the advice of a professional chiropractor.

1) Neck rotations – Keeping your head level, gradually turn your head to the right as far as you comfortably can, looking over your right shoulder, and hold for 10 seconds. Then slowly turn your head to the left, looking over your left shoulder, and hold for another 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

2) Neck tilts – Tilt your head to the right, bringing your right ear as close to your shoulder as possible, and hold for 10 seconds. Do the same on the other side, tilting your head to the left, again holding for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

3) Neck flexion and extension – This is simply bending your head forward and back. Beginning in a neutral position, gradually bend your head forward, letting it hang with your chin close to your chest, and hold for 10 seconds. Then slowly bring your head up and back so that you are looking at the ceiling. Repeat 5 times.

4) Half circles – Start by tilting your head toward your right shoulder as far as possible, then slowly swing it to the left in a fluid half-circle, moving your head forward and down until your chin is close to your chest, continuing until your head is tilted to the left with your left ear above your left shoulder. Then repeat the movement in the other direction.

5) Levator scapulae stretch – Tilting your head to the right over your shoulder, turn and drop your head slowly so that your nose is pointed toward your elbow, and hold for 10 seconds. You should feel the stretch in the muscle connecting the back of the left lower neck to your shoulder blade. Repeat on the other side.

Feeling Alive Again

After a little time and practice, you should begin to notice improved range of motion of the neck and a greater ability to perform daily activities. As you begin to hold yourself a little taller, others will take note of your new-found confidence as you enjoy a restored sense of pain-free vitality.

Neck pain can be draining, and it's often downright othersome. If you're experiencing headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, and irritability, identifying the source of the pain is the best way to eliminate the associated symptoms.

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A Solution For Migraines Through Chiropractic Care

Many people suffer from migraines until they are introduced to chiropractic care. The definition of a migraine is in incapacitating condition caused by a throbbing headache, which lasts from several hours to several days.

The World Health Organization estimates that 10% of the world's adult population suffers from migraine headaches. In the United States alone at least 3 million people suffer from chronic migraines. Startlingly over 90% of migraine sufferers miss work or can not attend social activities during an attack.

An alarming fact from the Greenwich Connecticut Hospital stroke program was recently noted. Migraine headaches increase the risk for stroke in females by 25 to 50%. The study indicates that increased stroke risk may be linked to vascular spasms that occurs during a migraine. These spasms constricts the blood vessels and limit oxygen delivered to the brain.

What's to be done to help those who have migraines and have had no relief from traditional sources? Many people do not know that the main cause of their headaches is a misalignment or improper movement of the upper bones of the spell. These bones are called vertebrae and the top of the spine is called the cervical area. The nerves that exit openings between the upper cervical vertebrae have a large influence on the regulation of the muscles surrounding the cranial blood vessels. If these muscles act improperly by causing excessive spasm or dilation of the blood vessels it can lead to what actually causes a migraine headache.

Chiropractic treatment aims to locate and correct improper movement and misalignments of the upper cervical vertebrae. Chiropractors are trained to diagnose this condition. They do this by helping or feeling the muscles in the upper neck for tightness or spasm. They also check to see if there is normal movement of the upper bones of the neck by moving the area through what would have considered proper ranges of motion to detect abnormalities. At times x-rays of the upper spine are taken to check the area for improper alignment and movement.

If the doctor of chiropractic finds a problem in the upper part of the neck treatment can be administrated. Chiropractors typically correct the problem by means of a spinal adjustment which is also sometimes called spinal manipulation. This can be done by hand or with an instrument.

Chiropractic adjustments and manipulations are considered to be one of the safest interventions possible for those who suffer from migraine headaches. Many studies show that chiropractic care is much safer and more effective than taking medications for this problem.

For those suffering from years of debilitating migraine headaches the remedy may be looking at what is actually causing the problem and turning to an alternative such as chiropractic treatment.

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The Causes Of Migraines

It is estimated that just over one billion people worldwide suffer from migraines and the condition affects the female population far more than the male population. Migraines are very detrimental in the lives of all those who suffer from them. Even with the advanced levels of medical technology today, migraines still have not been studied, diagnosed, or treated in a satisfactory manner. Moreover, people pay no heed to headaches which could easily be a migraine, often ignoring the pain and assuming that it is just a temporary headache that will eventually take care of itself.

What is a Migraine?

A migraine is a severe headache that is significantly related to vascular headaches which will often start on one side of the head and then spread and increase to other parts of the head .. A person suffering from a migraine will often experience nausea, vomiting and have a strong sensitivity to light and sound. It is also quite common for the
hands and feet of the victim to turn cold and sweaty. In general, the ache will rise gradually to an intense level of pain, before settling to a certain level.

The pain is caused by 'vasodilation', which is when the expansion of blood vessels and chemicals released from the nerve fibers which curl around them, combine.

The temporal artery which is located outside the skull and under the skin of the fore-head expands itself during the migraine attack. It is this expansion of the temporal artery which stresses and stretches the nerves around it, forcing them to release certain chemicals. It is these chemicals which cause the pain and inflammation and may also cause the artery to expand further, which again amplifies the pain.

Causes of Migraines

There are many factors that can cause migraine headaches and a 'migraine trigger' is the main reason which will pilot a headache in a person who is to whiche trigger that may be. Most people affected by migraines are generally unable to identify the reasons for a migraine, but there are many triggers that may lead to migraines – such as excessive stress, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, poor quality sleep, skipping meals, flickering or bright lights, eating chocolates and caffeine consumption. There is often a time gap which can vary from a few hours to a couple of days between exposure to a trigger and the actual migraine attack.

Skipping breakfast or lunch: If you are fasting or dieting by skipping breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you are increasing your chances of getting a migraine. Fasting will cause a release of stress-related hormones and will also lower blood sugar levels .. People who suffer from migraines should avoid fasting and skipping meals.

Exposure of Eyes to Bright Light: A migraine attack can also be brought on if one presents their eyes to a very bright light or some other high-intensity visual stimuli. Bright lights not only affect migraine patients but also affect non migraine sufferers. Direct exposure to sunlight, vehicle headlights or watching television for too long can also precipitate migraine headaches.

Caffeine Consumption: Caffeine is present in many products that we consume daily like coffee, chocolates, tea, cola, and OTC analgesics. Caffeine can actually be good for health if consumed in low quantities, but if consumed in excess, it can cause insomnia, headaches, anxiety and irritability.

Sleep: Migraine headaches can also be caused by sleep deprivation or if one is sleeping more than necessary. Poor quality of sleep, which includes waking up at short intervals through the night can also cause migraines. Well-planned sleeping routines have been proven to decrease the frequency of headaches. Quality sleep can also help to reduce the duration of a migraine.

Hormones in Women: With the female population, hormonal changes may also induce migraines for many women. The sufferer may experience what is known as a 'menstrual migraine' which is a headache that occurs before, during or immediately after a period.

As there is no medical cure for migraines, it is highly advised by doctors to keep away from all migraine triggers.

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Cranial Sacral Therapy, a Gentle Non-Invasive Healing Modality

We all have cranial fluid that travels from the cranium (brain) down the spinal column to the sacrum and then back again in a specific natural rhythm. When there are blockages in the body's energy system, tight fascia, injure to the tissues of the body (soft tissue / bone), birth trauma or any other type of dysfunction that affects the body, the cranial fluid is inhibited. When the natural, normal flow of cranial fluid is compromised and does not flow properly additional dysfunctions occurs. Headaches, migraines, MS, autism, organ functions, tight fascia, concussions and many other body and spirit functions are improved with Cranial Sacral Therapy.

The client lies on his or her back on a massage table while the therapist gently and with light touch therapy encures the tissues into their proper placement. For instance, birth trauma can squeeze the cranial bones and compress the bones of the head in an unhealthy compression. As the child grows he or she may may experience headaches due to compressed bones that were once squeezed too tight while passing through the birth canal. This tightness could possibly affect the upper spinal column resulting in a tight neck tissues leading to a restriction of blood and oxygen flow. Unexplained headaches may and often do result.

As the client lies on his or her back the Cranial Sacral Therapist gently and with light touch decompresses the cranial bones while placing a light traction on the individual cranial bones one or two at a time. The minority and gentle movement of these bones slowly and methodically moves into their proper alignment. This alleviates pressure with the neighboring bones of the skull. The creation of the extra space between the sutures of the head allows not only proper cranial sacral fluid flow but oxygen and blood as well. Headaches diminish if not totally disappear but the brain is able to have the space to function without restrictions and compressions.

This same process is used on all other parts of the body with the same effects. For instance, when using cranial sacral therapy on the shoulder the fascia tissue is loosened and misalignment is corrected. Trigger Point Therapy also works well with the shoulder for releasing knots. The end result is more range of motion, eliminated or reduced pain, more energy and improved quality of life. This technique can also be used to alleviate low back pain.

The pelvis is built in two halves, right and left, connected by cartilage. Each side can be tilted forward or backward. One side can be tilted while the other side remains in its proper position. This distortion places a strain on the fascia which pulls on the corresponding muscles which creates low back pain. When one of these groups of muscles is overstretched it puts a strain on the opposing group of muscles which are working so hard to correct the situation. This creates low back pain.

Low back pain is alleviated by the therapeutic massage and Trigger Point Therapy to release knots. Once the fascia tissue is loosened up the therapist can use Cranial Sacral Therapy to re-adjust the pelvis in its proper position. The therapist can also use a technique known as 'unwinding' which will loosen stuck fascia to help ensure that the pelvis stays in its proper place once readjusted.

It usually takes a day or two for the body to adjust to the physical changes. Be sure to be careful and move about methodically while the body is stabilizing itself to the new changes. One may temporarily feel unstable during this stabilization period. Be sure to drink plenty of water as toxins are released and need to be flushed out to avoid settling in other areas causing one to feel sick.

You can visit my website for additional tips at http://www.VickiAriattiMangum.com .

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Headaches: Common But Not Normal

Headaches and Chiropractic
Researches at Duke University found that chiropractic adjustments resolved in almost immediate improvement in patients with tension headaches. These patients suffer significantly fewer side effects and had longer-lasting relief than a commonly prescribed medication. In addition, a 1995 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics showed that chiropractic patients had sustained the therapeutic benefit four weeks after they had stopped chiropractic care in comparison to patients who received medication.

The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that in one study, 22% of those who received chiropractic care reported more than 90% reduction of migraine attacks. Also, 49% reported a significant reduction of the intensity of each migraine. In another study, one group was randomly assigned to receive spinal manipulation, a daily medication, or a combination of both. Spinal manipulation worked as well as the medication in reducing migraines and had fewer side effects. Other studies show that chiropractic care worked as well as medication in preventing tension and migraine headaches.

Types of Headaches
• Tension Headaches are the most common type of headache. A tension headache is caused by muscle tightness of the neck, face and scalp. This type of headache is usually mild, steady and described as band-like around the head. Episodes are associated with fatigues, stress, depression and muscle spasms of the neck and upper back.

• Sinus Headaches affect the area above the eyes (frontal sinuses) or below the eyes (maxillary sinuses). They often occur after an upper respiratory infection which blocks the sinuses which causes pain and tenderness. Symptoms are often worse when bending forward or laying down. This type of headache is often confused with a tension head or migraine.

• Migraine Headaches are recurring attacks that patients describe as a pulsing pain often on one side of the head or behind their eye. Migraine episodes can last from hours to days, cause nausea or sensitivity to light and sound. Triggers range from certain foods to anxiety to hormonal changes. They are more common in women, and are often preceded by flashing lights or zigzag lines in vision. Migraines used to be considered vascular in nature, but recent research shows that they are neurological in origin, related to a wave of nerve cell activity that sweeps across the brain.

• Cluster Headaches typically occurs on one side of the head or around the eyes. A cluster headache typically does not last very long and is more common in men. As the name implies, they occur in a series or a group. Common symptoms are teasing of the eyes, nasal congestion, flushed face and a constricted pupil on the side of the headache.

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The Difference Between Headaches and Migraines

Headaches and migraines can vary greatly in severity, and each can create debilitating problems for the sufferer. Although it is not uncommon for people to refer to a severe headache as a migraine, a migraine presents with much different symptoms than does a run of the mill headache. The major differences between headaches and migraines are the causes, symptoms experienced, and the different ways that they are treated.

A headache is simply a pain located in any area of ​​the head or upper neck. More often than not, the pain experienced during a headache is not very severe and does not interrupt one's daily routine.

There can be a few warning signs that a headache is coming on, including; a tingling sensation or pain in the area of ​​the eye (s), tingling of the scalp, neck pain, and a throbbing without pain in the head.

Headaches can be caused by a variety of factors, and symptoms can vary greatly from one person to another. Following is a list of some common headache causing factors:

  • Stress
  • Tension
  • Hunger
  • Alcohol
  • Dehydration
  • Erratic sleep patterns
  • Preservatives and other food additives

Although these may be some of the common causes of headaches, illness and medications can also be a contributing factor.

Migraine headaches are much different than everyday headaches, and they can come on suddenly and seemingly without any reason at all. They have been described as an intense pulsating or throbbing sensation in one particular area of ​​the head that comes and goes with repeat episodes, or attacks. They can be accompanied by an extreme sensitivity to light and nausea and / or vomiting, and each episode can last up to several hours or even several days. Migraine attacks can be so debilitating that the sufferer may only gain relief by finding a dark, quiet place in which to lie down and rest. Other common migraine symptoms include:

  • Neck Pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Pain in the temples
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Seeing flashes of light or auras
  • Tingling sensations in the extremities

The exact causes of migraine headaches are still not very well understood, but it is believed that genetic and environmental factors may play a significant role. Regardless of the exact mechanism of migraines, there do seem to be some common migraine triggers, including:

  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Smoking
  • Allergies
  • Bright lights
  • Certain smells
  • Skipping meals
  • Menstrual cycles
  • Physical exertion
  • Environmental changes
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Bright lights and sun glare
  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Certain foods and / or food additives
  • Medication (such as oral contraceptives)

There are many treatments and drugs available to headache and migraine sufferers, but some of the most effective are to be found among the list of natural remedies for headaches, including:

  • Acupuncture
  • Scalp massage
  • Regular exercise
  • Dietary regulation
  • Proper sleeping position
  • Regulation of sleep schedule
  • Reading under sufficient lighting
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Chinese herbal formulas and teas
  • Abstinence from unhealthy lifestyle habits
  • Acupressure & Tui na Chinese medical massage

If you are experiencing frequent headaches, migraines, or any other chronic and / or severe pain, please contact your local acupuncturist.

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Acupressure Technique for Headache and Migraines

One of the most common complaints that I see in my Acupuncture practice is chronic head or migraine. Although acupuncture is (in my opinion) the best treatment for headaches, acupressure also has a great effect and can be done at home. The pattern difference for these types of headings may involve any number of organ systems but almost always the Gallbladder meridian is affected.

The Gallbladder meridian begins near the outer edge of the eye traveling upward toward the back of the head. As it travels down through the occipital region it finds its way through the top of the shoulders at the peak of the trapezius muscles. This is the area midway between the base of the neck and the top part of the shoulder joint and is usually tight in people with chronic heads (and it tends to get even tighter when stressed). From the shoulder the Gallbladder channel then travels down the side of the body, through the gluteal region, the lateral aspect of both legs, and ends at the fourth toe.

In Chinese Medicine the Liver and Gallbladder play important roles in headache and migraine. These are “paired” organs and problems in one may affect problems in another. Because of this, treating one also treats the other. The Liver channel also affects the top of the head and can be the cause of pain behind the eyes as well. Because (together) these two channels affect the front, sides, and back of the head they can be very effective in treating headache and migraine.

There is a very simple acupressure technique that can be used to reduce or eliminate a headache that you can have a partner do for you at home:

1. Begin by sitting on a chair with no back or a very low profiled back. You may also sit on a coffee table or on the floor.

2. Have your partner stand behind you (about 2-3 inches from touching their chest to your back).

3. Your partner will place their thumbs on the highest point of the trapezius muscle (again, this will be roughly midway between the base of the neck and the shoulder joint).

4. Once their thumbs are in place, have your partner push straight towards the floor with a moderate amount of pressure. It is very important to communicate back and forth. Tell your partner if there is too much or not enough pressure. You will know your limit. It should not hurt but your should definitely feel some pressure on the muscle.

5. Continue holding steady pressure on the muscle for 2-4 minutes.

6. Release and repeat as needed.

This technique should help reduce a headache or migraine. Please use caution and be sure to communicate clearly with you partner to avoid injury. If you increase pain in any way discontinue and explore other options. As always … Wellbeing Belongs to You!

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Massage Techniques For Headaches

No one wants to feel a headache coming on. The next step from there is usually a full-blown case, and some of them can be bad enough to bring your entitlement day to a crashing halt.

There are several methods available to you for combating headaches. The first response to one is usually to take some over-the-counter medication, but that does not need to have your first line of indemnity. There are other natural ways of curing headaches such as using massages.

Massages For Headaches

There are a number of techniques that take advantage of the massage method for headaches. If you can not get your hands on any medication, or if you simply want to try alternatives to drugs, the basic massage technique can do a world of good:

· The basic massage technique involves gently pushing your fingers over your temples, and then moving your fingers in slow circles.

· This technique can distract you from the pain, while also improving your circulation, and releasing some of the tension that's causing your headache in the first place.

This is the basic technique for headache massage and is easy to implement, and you can use it in just about any situation you wish.

If you'd like to try something more advanced techniques for massaging a head away, try some of these ideas out:

· Invest in some coconut or argan oil. The next time a headache starts to creep up on you, pour a little oil on your fingers, and give yourself a slow, steady scalp massage. You should start to feel better very quickly.

· If possible, put 2 tennis balls in a sock, lie on a flattened surface, put the sock of tennis balls on your occipital bone, and relax. This technique is particularly great with sinus headaches. Do not worry, if you feel some sinus pressure or minor ache at the beginning. This will go away quickly.

· If the situation allows for it, have someone give you a neck, scalp, and shoulders massage. This particular technique also has the benefit of having you relax, knowing that someone who cares about you is trying to help you feel better.

· Tenderly massaging the bridge of your nose can help substantially with sinus and migraine headaches.

· Treating the headache to a diligent massage at the acupressure point of each hand can help, too. This is where the thumb and index finger bones connect.

See how easy these headache massage techniques can be to use?

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Scar Tissue Onion and Pain

Scar Tissue Onion

Scar tissue, or fascial adhesions, accumulates in the body whenever tissue undergoes excess stress and strain. Scar tissue is like the body's duct tape; it is meant as a short term patch to help support tissue. Most of the time the body replace fascial adhesions patches, but sometimes it forgings.

The next time a scar tissue patch undergoes stress and strain it becomes aggravated and flares up. This process causes more fascial adhesions to be added to the outside of the patch. This process can repeat itself over and over, leading to larger patches.

I like to describe scar tissue patches as “onions.” Scar tissue ends up growing in layers around the initial injury. Stress to the area aggravates the outside layers and triggers another layer to be formed. The layers further from the center are easier to aggravate than inside layers, which is why the onion continues to grow in size without causing the inside area to properly repair.

Many people experience this concept with chronic neck and shoulder pain. People come into the office complaining of knots in their muscles that cause them pain and never go away. A massage helps decrease the pain but the knots never disappear. Their neck and shoulder pain always begins in the exact same spots and becomes easier to aggravate over time. What once was a little pain after five long days at the computer unexpectedly turns into constant dull pain with average workloads. The spots are always tender to the touch but feel better when rubbed.

These knots are scar tissue expressions that have grown in size over time. Stress and strain from daily activities begin to overwhelm the scar tissue reactions, leading to pain, discomfort, and muscle spasms. Holding your head up makes the neck muscles work through the day, which places strain on theions. Slouching makes the muscles work even harder. Slouching with your shoulders rounded and reaching towards the computer really strains the neck muscles, placing more strain on the scar tissue.

Scar tissue patches are not able to handle the workload that is placed upon the muscles, which causes the outer layers to become chronically aggravated.

Treatment comes down to some basic concepts. Reduce the stress and strain to the injured areas. Tear up scar patches and allow the body to replace it with proper tissue. Home therapies are recommended to limit further scar tissue formation, encourage proper healing, and speed up recovery.

Graston Technique works by stretching the outer layer of the onion and breaking it into several pieces. The broken ends trigger healing mechanisms to build proper tissue. Ice helps limit additional fascial adhesions formation and pain. On the following visit we break up the next layer of tissue adhesions, working toward the center of the occasion. The goal is to get to the center of the incident so the body fixes the original problem.

Graston Technique is not meant to be painful and should be performed at a comfortable tolerable level to break up fascial adhesions. Trying to be too aggressive with Graston or massage causes excessive pain and actually slows the repair process by flooding the area with inflammation. Most people notice a significant difference after 4-6 visits. Larger comments may require much more treatment, and everyone recovers at different rates. Some people have very small onions that create a lot of pain and can resolve quickly.

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Headaches and Threshold Theory

Headaches are one of the most frustrating conditions. You can go days or weeks without a headache, then the next month you have daily debilitating headaches. Some days it is a mild, dull ache that begins late in the afternoon and disappears by dinner. The next day it is severe and lasts several hours.

According to a quick Internet search, everything causes or contributions to headaches. However every person's heads are not triggered by the same factors. Many people have a few core contributing factors, and the combination of factors determines their headaches.

We commonly describe headaches as on a threshold system. When you go above threshold you develop a headache, and when you drop below threshold the headache disappears. All of your head factors are added up to determine your score.

For example, lets say your threshold is 75 points, which produces a headache. At 80 points the headache is moderate and 90 it is severe. At 73 points you might feel a little off but feel normal at 70. When your score adds up to 76 you feel a little headache, but some rest drops you to 72, below threshold and the headache disappears. If your score jumps to an 85 you have a certain headache and a little rest only brings you down to an 81, which is still a separate headache.

Going above threshold causes headaches, and going further past the threshold line increases the severity of headaches. However, did you notice that a 70 feet the same as 50? Right now are you at a 67 or 33?

This is why activities and factors that influence headaches can be confusing, and what causes a headache today may not tomorrow. If your score is a 72, an increase of six points produces a headache. When your score is a 33, a six point increase does not cause any noticeable change.

So what is contributing to your score? In basic terms, your hormones, metabolism, diet, environmental and physical conditions, muscles, joints, and stress levels are all contributing to your point score. And they fluctuate daily.

You may have noticed that some days you can work at the computer for seven hours without a problem, then the next day three hours triggers a headache. On the second day your score was closer to threshold and the computer work increased your muscle and joint points above threshold.

Treatment goals are to move you lower and further away from threshold, so you can have a few bad days and not reach 75. The lower your starting score, the less chance of developing heads. While not all of your head factors can be affected, many can.

Our chiropractic, physical therapy, and massage therapy treatment mainly focuses on your muscle and joint points, which can be easily influenced. By improving muscle flexibility, strength, endurance, and inflammation, we are lowering your muscle and joint pain that contributes to headaches.

Everyone has varying numbers of contributing factors, but people who have more muscle, joint, and stress points respond better to our treatments. The muscle and joint factors are also the easiest to improve and influence. It is difficult to change your metabolic and hormone levels, but many people have poor post habits and chronic muscle injuries that contribute to their headaches.

Treatment is about reducing your head point totals, getting and keeping you further from headache threshold.

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