It’s 3:00 and you are starting to feel a headache come on. Your adjustment isn’t scheduled until 5:30 (or worse, you haven’t been in to see us yet!) and you have a deadline coming up. What are you to do?! Reach for the the Tylenol and cover up symptoms to make it go away? You have better options than that! I’ll let you in on my favorite things to try.
But first, here’s why you want to consider slowing down on the pain pills.
Aspirin is know to cause stomach issues, ulcers, and kidney problems. Acetaminophen, Tylenol, can cause liver damage, especially if you drink alcohol. While deemed safe for pregnant women, studies are beginning to emerge suggested that Acetaminophen may be linked to ADD in children when the mother takes it while pregnant. Ibuprofen can also cause stomach or kidney problems. Naproxen, has the same stomach and kidney problems as the rest of it’s NSAID family. In addition, taking these OTC pain medications can often trigger headaches, known as rebound headaches. Those are just the side effects of the over the counter medications. As you get into stronger versions of pain pills, the side effects get even worse.
So by now you know that chiropractic is a great, safe, natural alternative to these harmful attempts at pain relief. When your local Longmont Chiropractors put your cervical bones back in to alignment, they are reducing the pressure that is on your nerves, allowing your body to do what it does best: function without interference.
But sometimes, a headache starts and you can’t get adjusted quite yet. Don’t despair! Here are 5 simple things you can do until your able to get your adjustment.
- Drink water. Often headaches can be caused by dehydration. We often hear people remarking that they get headaches from dehydration. When you are dehydrated, your brain actually contracts! Lack of water makes your brain temporarily smaller! This causes the brain to pull away from the skull in a painful way. By drinking water, your brain gets rehydrated and returns to it’s correct size, alleviating the pain.
- Have a high quality snack. Hypoglycemia can also cause headaches. Eating sugary foods, skipping meals, fasting or severely restricting calories can cause a headache or even a migraine. When your insulin levels fall too low, your body is going to try to get your attention and tell you that you need to eat. The best options for snacks are high quality “real” foods. Fresh fruits and veggies. A handful of nuts. Anything that is high fiber and low sugar should help the hypoglycemic headache.
- Stretch. Headaches can also be caused by tension in your muscles. Some simple stretching can often help.
Shoulder rolls: Bring your shoulders up toward your ears then roll them back and down. Bring them forward and up again. Repeat this process a few times.
Neck Flexion: Drop your left eat down toward your left shoulder. Hold for 5 seconds. Bring your head back up to center. Repeat on your right side.
Neck Rolls: Start like the neck flexion by bringing your left ear to your left shoulder. Slowly roll your neck so your chin comes down to your chest. Then roll your head so your right ear is at your right shoulder. If you experience any extra tension in any areas along, hang out there for a second or so longer and get the extra stretch. Be sure to stop when your right ear is at your right shoulder. Rolling your head back over your neck may make your headache worse. Shoulder Shrugs: Bring your shoulders up toward your ears. Tighten up your muscles, then exhale and release all the tension and drop your shoulders back down. Beware with this one and listen to your body though. If this, or any other stretch, makes the headache worse, stop.
- Topical analgesic. This is simply a creme or oil that you can apply to your neck or shoulders to help with tension. These can have a warming or a cooling effect. My personal go-tos are the ones that are warming, but I don’t like be cold. Dr. Christina has a great muscle run called Deep Blue. It’s very effective in reducing muscle tension and thereby reducing headaches. Peppermint oil is also can effective remedy. Be sure to ask her more about them and any other suggestions she may have for you!
- Self massage. Getting a massage is great. And our massage therapist, Geof, is a great therapist. But like an adjustment, sometimes you can’t sneak away in the middle of the day to get a massage. That doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself one! The benefit of giving yourself a little shoulder rub is that you know exactly what area hurts and how much pressure feels right. My suggestion: when you feel a headache, lighter is better. This can be made extra effective when you use some of the Deep Blue creme as a massage lotion.
- Take a break. Tension causes many headaches and, if you can swing it, a short 10-minute walk outside while doing deep breathing could give your muscles and brain the break it needs. Plus, there are plenty of studies that suggest taking short breaks can actually make you more productive. This is especially true if a headache is slowing down your work or making you less efficient.
Bonus. Foam Roll: Depending on your office, this may not be practical during the work, but could feel really great when you get home. Dr Jay has demonstrated w few great stretches and exercises here! Check them out and try to do them as often as you can. Those stretches are intended to keep your muscles looser and allow your adjustments to “hold” longer.
If you suffer from regular headaches or migraines, know that you do have options! Chiropractic is a great natural headache remedy. If you’ve never had chiropractic care before, it’s been a while since your last adjustment or are looking for some pain relief from headaches, give us a call today at 303-776-6767 to see how we can help you!