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Posts for tag: headaches

By Dr. Doug Williams
March 07, 2016
Who hasn't had a headache? It is not uncommon for people to have an occasional headache, or with obvious illnesses like the flu. However, if you have been dealing with headaches on a frequent basis (ie, weekly or daily), here are a few suggestions to help alleviate your headaches.

First, the Nasties: When evaluating a patient, clinicians look for what I call the Big Nasties - these are serious, life-threatening issues that need to be handled very carefully and often quickly. In the case of headaches, brain tumors or strokes are the two Big Nasties. Fortunately, they are rare and have specific signs.

Pain from brain tumors is often accompanied by vomiting, light sensitivity, dizziness, and vision problems, and it persists constantly. Strokes are usually accompanied by paralysis, difficulty speaking or swallowing, and may have a fairly sudden onset. If you think you may be dealing with a stroke or bain tumor, seek medical attention immediately.

Common Categories: After brain tumors or strokes have been ruled out, classifying headaches moves pretty fast. By far, the largest and most common categories of headaches are Migraines and Tension Headaches.

The pain-producing tissues of migraines are thought to be the nerves and blood vessels of the brain, while the tissues involved in tension headaches are thought to be the nerves and fibers of the muscles. Migraines and tension headaches may differ in how they present, but when it comes to triggers and causes, they have a lot in common. When working on solutions for pain, it makes the most sense to address the most common and easiest triggers first.

Below, you will find 5 of the most common triggers associated with both migraines and tension headaches, and some simple solutions. Don't miss the answers that are right in front of you!
  Trigger Solution

Too little sleep

  Shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep per day. Naps are okay.

Too little water

  Drink 8 8-oz glasses of water per day, or more if you     drink a lot of soda or other caffeinated drinks.

Too little movement or exercise

  Movement and exercise unlock joints and muscles,   increases blood flow to areas that have been tight         from repetitive postures, and turn on brain chemicals   that help the whole body relax. Vigorous exercise is       good, but a 10-minute brisk walk is often all it takes to   start feeling better.

Too long without eating

  This can vary with the individual, but if you are in the     habit of going a long time between eating, try                   snacking (nuts, lean meats, fruits, or veggies) every       few hours.

Not enough magnesium

  Magnesium has long been known to affect the nerve,     muscle, and vascular systems. It is used to treat blood   pressure, menstrual cramps, heart issues, post-               exercise soreness, anxiety, ADHD and a whole lot         more. Interactions with other medications are        
  uncommon and related to: bisphosphonates,   antibiotics, and some blood pressure medicine. You     can increase your magnesium intake by eating more     magnesium-rich foods. If you are dealing with
  headaches fairly frequently, try taking magnesium as
  a supplement. Most magnesium supplements are in
  100gm tablets - taking 2 in the morning and 2 in the
  evening would be ideal. If you are getting too much
  magnesium, you may have loose stools; if that is the
  case, reduce your intake by half.


What Makes the Most Sense: The solutions listed above aren't limited to just improving headaches - they can improve your overall health! Try incorporating the above solutions into your daily routine over the next 3 or 4 weeks and see how they affect the frequency and duration of your headaches. If you are still having trouble or are concerned that you may have some other cause for your headaches, don't hesitate to contact our office - we are here to help!