Headaches: Reasons and Relief.
Adults who suffer from severe headaches and migraines say that they grew up with headaches throughout childhood. Catching, treating, and preventing headaches in children can lead to life filled with significantly more pain-free days.
According to the National Headache Foundation, the most common headache in children is a tension headache, which starts in the neck and wraps around the head.
75% of children will get headaches before the age of 15, with girls being more affected than boys. The numbers are continuing to rise due to our American lifestyle. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2526375/
The main cause, you ask? Our guess: Technology. Texting, using the iPad, hand held video games, anything keeping the child looking down. Even sitting and completing hours of homework can cause tension in the neck. We need to break this habit (in ourselves as well as our children). Introduce a book stand for homework and reading, even the iPad will work on this. Try to limit your time on the phone or other device and pay attention to your posture while on it.
Move! Get outside. Play with your kids, stimulate their brains, and stimulate your brain! Engage the core muscles. Strong core muscles mean a strong back. Stand up every 20-30 minutes of sitting at work (or doing homework), sit on a yoga ball instead of an office chair, and exercise regularly, adding more core exercises into your workout.
Headaches can be divided into two categories: Primary and secondary headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by disease or illness and are rare.
Primary Headaches include:
- Cluster Headaches
- Tension Headaches
- Persistent Daily Headaches
- Cough Headaches
- Exercise Headaches
- Sex Headaches
Possible Lifestyle Triggers:
- Processed Foods
- Lack of Sleep
- Poor posture
- Skipped meals
Persistent daily headaches are NOT normal. Treating the headache is just masking a symptom. The thyroid, Vitamin D, and adrenal glands all can cause headaches and are generally overlooked in the mainstream population. The thyroid aids in brain development, secretes hormones, regulates your temperature, and helps with metabolism. Vitamin D is important for bones, muscles, and the brain. It is also helpful in preventing cancer, autoimmune diseases, and hypothyroid. Having lab work done to know your numbers is helpful in supplementing yourself correctly.
The adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys and are responsible for producing cortisol and sex hormones. Cortisol has been called the “stress hormone,” and is responsible for regulating the body during stages of increased stress in life. We tend to always be in a high state of stress. That means our cortisol is always high and does not come down as it should. Again, lab work should be done to know exact levels.
While most people tend to categorize their headaches as sinus pressure or a sinus headache, this is actually not accurate and very uncommon. Roger Cady and Curtis Schneider of the Headache Care Center in Springfield, Mo., have shown that nearly 98 percent of people who believed they had sinus headaches were actually experiencing a migraine. So instead of blaming your sinuses, start a headache log and document foods you are eating, strong scents, exercise, and daily lifestyle. You may be able to find your body’s trigger.
Brain tissue does not feel pain the same way skin and other organs do. The brain is encased in a hard, protective covering and it does not respond to touch or pressure sensations. Headaches occur because of activation or irritation of structures that do sense pain: skin, bone or neck joints, blood vessels or muscles. Headaches occur in response to exposure to internal or external triggers, such as hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, fasting or stress. Exposure to these triggers prompts the brain to signal pain centers that produce a variety of chemical messengers, including serotonin and norepinephrine, which cause expansion of meningeal blood vessels surrounding the brain. This expansion results in increased blood flow, and blood vessels on the side of the head can become more prominent and tender. As the blood vessels swell they stretch the nerves that surround them, causing these nerves to send signals to the trigeminal system, an area of the brain that relays pain messages for the head and face. Activation of the trigeminal system most commonly causes pain around the eye and cheek, creating the false perception of “sinus” pain. The trigeminal system also sends messages to the hypothalamus, an area of the brain involved in food cravings, and to the upper part of the cervical spinal cord, which may result in muscle spasms in the neck. (Source: Cephalagia: An International Journal of Headache)
Ways to help headaches:
Yoga: It is important to start practicing as soon as possible after you start to feel the pain. Imagine your brain shrinking with each pose. Yoga promotes blood flow and relaxation, helping the body to align and alleviate the pain.
Exercise: Increase in exercise will aid in digestion and help with improved sleep. Nabih Ramadan, MD, a neurologist at the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, and chair of the National Headache Foundation (NHF) Education and Biomedical Research Committee states that regular exercise at least three times a week can lessen the frequency of headaches. A study based on surveys from over 69,000 people in Norway, found that sedentary adults had a higher risk of headaches than their more active counterparts. Likewise, the researchers noted that study participants who reported more frequent headaches were the least likely to be physically active.
Remember that a strong core means a strong back. A strong back leads to strong, correct posture. Make sure you include strength exercises for your core.
Pressure points: Acupressure can relieve pain and rebalance the body quickly.
Points to try:
- The inside of your eyebrow, just above the bridge of your nose.
- The temples: gentle massaging motion
- The base of the skull: Tilt your head back and press upward in a circular motion
- Between the thumb and index finger: Pinch the area and massage
- Between the big and second toes: move one inch forward and press down
Magnesium: According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), nearly half of the people suffering from migraine headaches show to have a low amount of ionized magnesium in their blood. A great way to add magnesium to the body is topically, through the skin. Magnesium oil used regularly can help the frequency of headaches. Remember that magnesium needs calcium to do its job.
Two studies have shown that supplementing with magnesium may reduce the frequency of headaches. Magnesium levels affect serotonin receptors and have an effect on nitric oxide synthesis and release, as well as on NMDA receptors all brain structures and chemicals suspected to important in the formation of a migraine. www.thedailyheadache.com
Chiropractic care: Chiropractic care helps with headaches and balances all three nervous systems. A study from 2001 found chiropractic care resulted in immediate improvement in headache severity when used to treat episodes of cervicogenic headache. Aligning the body and correcting the posture can help alleviate frequent headaches and the severity of headaches. http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/FULL/Behavioral_and_Physical_Treatments_for_Headache.html
Gluten free: Diet plays a huge role in triggering a headache. A study published in BMC Medicine discovered that gluten sensitive individuals are at a higher risk of headaches. Frequent headaches can be eliminated by a simple change in one’s diet. ( www.migraine.com ) Cut out processed foods as well as gluten. Preservatives such as nitrites are linked to migraines.
Hydration: Water makes up 70% of the human body and 80% of the brain. It is a very powerful nutrient. When it is lacking, you can expect to suffer a wide range of health ailments. Headaches are one of the most common illnesses associated with dehydration. Carry water with you and remember to drink often. http://www.newsmax.com/health/Dr-Brownstein/headache-arthritis-dehydration-water/2014/02/06/id/551303/
How many of you soon to be moms are having a hard time with your pregnancy? Back pain? Sciatica? Swelling? Carpal tunnel? Headaches? Great News…Chiropractic care and other simple steps you can do will help with all of these symptoms and many more. Yoga, stretching, chiropractic care and massage are all non-invasive and drug free ways to help you get through pregnancy. After all, you are bringing in an amazing little one in to the new world and you should enjoy every step of the way and not have to suffer with pain or be uncomfortable. I’m sure when you talk to others about your back pain you hear, “that’s normal for pregnancy,” or “the headaches are hormonal. It will go away after you have the baby.” Well, it isn’t normal and it’s as simple and aligning your spine and pelvis as well as getting up and moving and staying hydrated.
Adjusting women in pregnancy is quite different than if they were not. During pregnancy, a lot of the focus of the adjustment is on the pelvis to restore the neuro-biomechanics. Women who are symptom free of pain seek out a prenatal chiropractor who is specialized to help balance the pelvis and allow them to have an easier and shorter labor. There is a specific technique for pregnant women called The Webster Technique. It was developed by Dr. Larry Webster, a chiropractor who is also the founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA); he discovered an adjustment of the pelvis and sacrum, the triangular bone between the hips at the base of the spine, helped reduce intrauterine constraint in the pelvis which can lead to dystocia (difficult childbirth) as well and low back pain, sciatica, or SI dysfunction. By aligning the pelvis, this will give the baby optimal fetal positioning to prepare for birth and allow them to develop their spine and nervous system. The baby should be moving often, and when they are stuck in the same position in a span of months, development of the fetus can be hindered, especially the brain and spine. The nervous system is the first to develop in an embryo, making the nervous system the most important system of the body. That is why regular adjustments to both mom and baby are important not only throughout pregnancy in utero, but throughout lifetime. Many chiropractors are now specialized in prenatal and pediatric care and are trained through the ICPA or the International Chiropractic Association (ICA). It is important for you to find a chiropractor who is trained or is comfortable with adjusting a mom to be.
Not only are regular spinal alignments imperative during pregnancy, get up and move. Walking is so important to pelvic health during pregnancy. Walking will help keep the muscles and ligaments loose and limber which will help you during labor. The pace should be at your comfort level. You should walk between 30 to 60 minutes a day if you can. During your lunch, take a stroll around the office or parking lot. Take the dogs or a walk. Go to the mall and window shop. Find some girlfriends that have already had babies and talk about their experiences and what they enjoyed about being pregnant. If you are experiencing a lot of back pain when walking, you can use and ice pack while you are moving. Tuck an ice pack in your pants and cover it up with your shirt. No one will notice. The ice will help to penetrate into the SI joints deeper when walking to help remove the inflammation. Your body will thank you. Make sure when you are finished that you stretch you hamstrings. The muscles are attached to you pelvis and need to be stretched on a regular basis. So, after walking and after sitting for a while. At the office, get up several times to stretch your legs, get the blood flow going. Stretching the hamstrings several times in the day will give the baby more room to move.
Don’t forget about prenatal massages. Prenatal massages are a wonderful compliment to chiropractic care. While the chiropractor will help to align your body, the masseuse will help to massage and loosen the muscles and put the muscles back in to place as well. Not only will you feel amazing from the muscles aches and soreness, it will help with circulation of the blood to the pelvis and baby. You will notice with getting regular chiropractic adjustments and massages how much better you will feel and keep the pain ay bay much longer. Full body massages are not usually recommended until week 20 in pregnancy for safety reasons.
Prenatal yoga is another way to help keep your body and pelvis aligned. By doing yoga, you will feel more centered and balanced. It helps to increase circulation as well to the body just like massage. You will learn to breathe on more of a regular pattern which will help you during your labor. It can help you reduce your stress levels, which is important during pregnancy. It is important as well to look for a prenatal yoga class verses a regular class because the instructors are more aware of the body in pregnancy. They can help you modify positions as you become farther along in your pregnancy. Also, it is nice to have other women around who are going through pregnancy as well. It is a great bond you all will share.
Ladies, you MUST drink water. Just water. Not tea, soda, or packets of things, or drops to make water taste good. Just water. You may add some lemon if you like, that will help to alkalize your body. Water is needed for the baby to grow. Our bodies are made of 50-75% water. Your muscles and organs need the water to keep you your body moving and growing. You will notice your headaches will start to disappear. Headaches are a sign of dehydration, not always “hormonal.” So, how much water do you need to drink? The rule of thumb is body weight divided by 2. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink a minimum of 75 ounces. Since you are pregnant, and drinking for two, drink extra. Yes, it is a lot of water, but it is what your body needs to deliver a healthy and happy baby and it will help with the aches and pains of pregnancy.
What you eat is important to keep your body healthy and strong. Pregnancy is a marathon. So take care of your body for the long term, not a sprint. Make sure you are eating your fruit and veggies. The best diet to be on is one that is high in protein. You should have over 100 grams of protein a day. Many utilize The Dr. Brewer’s Pregnancy Diet founded by Tom Brewer, MD. He recommends eating every meal and snack. Do not skip any. He recommends foods to eat every day such as eggs, milk, dark green vegetables, salt, vitamin rich foods of A and C and liver. A complete list can be found at www.drbrewerpregnancydiet.com.
Salt. Yes, salt. Why do we need salt during pregnancy? Salt for the body is good for many reasons. The swelling you have… can be caused from a low salt diet. Salt is used as a transport system to rid the body of excess water. So, it helps to reduce swelling of the hands and feet. Salt is also wonderful for your organs such as your kidneys, heart and of course your thyroid. Many women experience hypothyroid during pregnancy and low salt can be a contributing factor to poor thyroid health and can help reduce the need for medication. Now, there is such a thing as too much salt. According to the World Health Organization, that amount is five grams per day. So, just sprinkle some on each meal to help with balancing the water during pregnancy especially in the summer months when swelling is very common.
These are just a few ways to help you embrace your pregnancy pain and stress free. Pregnancy should be joy and moments and memories you should have last forever.
Dr. Brenda Fairchild, the owner of Pea and the Pod Chiropractic spa dedicated to women and children, has helped hundreds of women get through pregnancy who didn’t think they could because of the pain. She is Specialized in the Webster technique and has her post degree in pediatric chiropractic to help your children when they are born and throughout life. To schedule and appointment call 302.368.0800
Newark, DE. – Pea and the Pod Chiropractic is a chiropractic spa dedicated to women and children in all stages of life. More and more women are turning to chiropractic for natural option to help them during pregnancy. Some moms to be are seeking help with their back pain, some looking for help to get their baby in the best position for birth; others are looking for wellness or preventative care for them and their child. Chiropractic care during pregnancy is safe not only for mom, but the baby as well.
At Pea and the Pod Chiropractic, we are trained and specialized in pregnancy care through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Dr. Brenda Fairchild is one of the few chiropractors in Delaware who is Webster Technique Certified to help pregnant women and their babies. This technique balances the pelvis to allow the baby to have the maximum amount of room and moms notice easier and faster births and less back pain. Her own pregnancy with daughter Madelyn Jaymes allowed her to fully understand the unique needs and concerns of her patients. We also have a one of a kind custom pregnancy table designed by the owner, Dr. Brenda Fairchild which has a cutout for a growing belly to allow a mom-to-be to lay face down.
Benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy:
- Less back pain and neck pain
- Shorter labor times and more efficient contractions
- Baby in optimal position for birth
- Helps with getting labor started
- Decreases birth trauma
- Helps with reduction of C-Section
- Helps with heartburn and reflux