Headaches are among the most prevalent medical conditions, with nearly everyone having a headache at some point in their life. In fact, about 50 percent of adults worldwide have a headache in any given year, but they are not limited to a specific age, gender, or race. Headaches can be triggered by stress, emotional trauma, or a medical condition, like high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression, according to the World Health Organization. Another unique trigger for some people seems to be connected to summer heat, but is the heat what is causing the headaches?
The summer heat can be the cause of a number of different physical trials, but are headaches among them? One Baylor College of Medicine expert has stated that headache onset during summer months could actually be due to dehydration.
How are headaches and dehydration connected? When the body does not have sufficient fluids, the blood vessels in your body narrow as you lose water and electrolytes. This makes you more vulnerable to heat stroke as well as headache symptoms, high body temperature, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, and nausea. For anyone who is prone to suffering from headaches and migraines, heat and dehydration can easily be a trigger, according to Dr. Doris Kung, assistant professor of neurology at Baylor. She recommends drinking plenty of water before and during any time spent outside in the sun. It's also a good idea to take frequent breaks from strenuous activity.
She warns against ignoring headaches when they reoccur or are joined with feelings of weakness, numbness, slurred speech, or an altered mental state. This could indicate of a much more serious issue. If the headaches become more severe or frequent, it is best to seek out the help of your primary care physician.
Another important warning to heed is regarding over-the-counter medications that temporarily relieve symptoms, but when taken too frequently, can actually cause headache pain to increase. This type of headache is called a rebound headache, and it can be worse than a migraine. Pain medication being used for headaches at least 15 days per month can result in rebound headaches.
A few ways you can lower your susceptibility to headaches is to consistently drink fluids, get adequate amounts of sleep, identify your triggers and avoid them, exercise regularly, and eating nutrient-dense foods as much as possible.
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10 Causes of Headaches
Here are 10 of the most common reasons that headaches happen.
- Anxiety: Stress is one of the top causes of headaches. Managing stress is one of the best steps toward preventing headache onset. Relaxation activities such as taking walks, massage, taking a hot bath, and reading an enjoyable book are all excellent options.
- Glare: You can get a headache from time on a computer screen, the sun, overhead lights, or bright car lights at night. Taking breaks from the computer, wearing sunglasses, and using a desk lamp instead of overhead lights may help.
- Noise: Noises that can cause your head to ache include loud, repetitive noise and continuous noise at a low level. For this issue, listening to calm music and headphones may be helpful.
- Bad sleeping and eating patterns: Being out of rhythm with your food and sleeping needs can lead to headaches very easily, as the body needs adequate amounts of rest and nutrients to function properly. Staying consistent with each of these can help keep headaches at bay.
- Medication: There are several medications that list headaches as a side effect. Read the labels on your medications and check with your doctor.
- Physical exertion: Surprisingly, an intense workout can make the blood vessels in your head, neck, and scalp swell, which can result in a headache.
- Not enough physical activity: A sedentary lifestyle is not good for anybody. Regular movement and activity lowers your risk for headaches and affects your overall sense of well-being.
- Improper posture: Using proper posture by sitting up allows the blood to flow to the head and positively affects your neck and spine.
- Fluctuating hormones: Estrogen levels drop right before menstruation, which can lead to a headache.
- Food sensitivities: Some foods and drinks release neurotransmitters that can trigger headaches. A few of these are aspartame, MSG, chocolate, alcohol, cheese, and red wine.
Natural Relief for Headaches
Finding a lasting, entirely positive solution for headaches can be frustrating. However, the results of a study conducted by Dr. Erin Elster, an upper cervical chiropractor and researcher, could shed light on a beneficial treatment option.
The research was based on 101 patients who had a variety of headache types. Out of the 101 patients, 87 of them recalled some history of head or neck trauma prior to having headache problems. After examining each of them, the chiropractors found a misalignment in the top bones of the neck, either the C1 (atlas) or C2 (axis), in every one of the patients. The patients were all provided treatment from an upper cervical chiropractor. Of the 101 people, 85 reported that their headaches were completely gone in only 1 to 8 months of care. Nearly all (97 patients out of 101) experienced dramatic improvements in their headache symptoms.
Why does Sacramento, CA upper cervical chiropractic have this effect on headaches? The reason is that the brainstem is located within the atlas and axis, and any misalignment of these bones places pressure on the brainstem. This can cause distorted messages to be relayed to and from the brain. Another issue that occurs when these bones are improperly aligned is it can interfere with the flow of oxygen-rich blood and cerebrospinal fluid from circulating to and from the brain. All these problems contribute to headaches.
Here at Upper Cervical Chiropractic of Sacramento, we apply a gentle technique, unique in the chiropractic field. Our technique encourages the bones to realign without the need for popping or cracking of the spine. These corrections have benefited numerous patients, many of whom have experienced drastic improvements to their symptoms or the elimination of headaches altogether.
To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Gottlieb, call 916-655-0569, or just click the button below.
If you are outside of the local area, you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.