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7 Things You Should Know About Headaches and Migraines

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We see a lot of people stepping into our chiropractic centers looking for relief. You’re probably a lot like them as well. You’re fed up with your migraines and headaches, and the challenges that result in your life as a result.

You’re tired of depending on pain-killers, Panadol, and other drugs for relief, only to find the pain returning in a short time. You are looking for a true solution. You want to resolve the problem for good, so you can reclaim your vitality.

Today, we will be taking a deep dive on a very important topic: solving migraines and headaches.

We have had great success in this area, helping many people feel better with natural chiropractic care.

We’ll discuss 7 Proven Principles that will help you understand your problem better, and take direct action to improve how you’re feeling and functioning in your life.

Migraines and Headaches Can Cost You a Lot

Migraines and headaches are among the more debilitating problems that people suffer from in Singapore. These types of pain can be particularly frustrating, because of the profound cost of experiencing these challenges on a continual basis. Headaches can really limit your life.

Many people that battle regular headaches experience:

  • Frustration, because they are less productive and less energized at work
  • Anxiety, because their relationships with their loved ones are strained
  • Less motivation to exercise and be active
  • Irritability, being short-tempered, and ready to snap at people constantly
  • Tiredness, low energy, and fatigue as a result of the pain
  • Continual stress and worry, because the problem doesn’t ease off

Maybe you can relate to some of these obstacles.

Well it’s time to take action and make a change to restore your health.

Let’s dive into the 7 Proven Principles now.

1. Pain is NOT Normal

We have been helping people in Singapore for almost a decade in our chiropractic centers, and often people have funny ideas when it comes to pain and symptoms. I have heard many, many people describe their regular migraine or headache as being normal.

They’ll say something like, “It’s just a normal headache…”

Read: 5 Silent Ways PAIN May Be Costing You

It’s hard to understand how someone can have that perspective. They are confusing what is commonwith what is normal.

There is no such thing as normal migraines or headaches.

Yes, it is fairly common for people to experience pain of some kind in their lives, but they shouldn’t accept that as being a normal part of life, as something they have to put up with. There are options and solutions out there.

Unfortunately, dealing with pain is common. A lot of people are frustrated by pain and other symptoms, because they live their lives in unhealthy ways. Their priorities, choices, actions and habits cause damage to their health—and very often, cause direct injury to their spines.

Just because something is common does make it normal.

Pain patterns of any kind, like headaches, migrainesneck pain, shoulder acheslow back pain, or numbness and tingling are significant problems. The worst thing you could ever do is to ignore the problem and think, “It’ll go away on its own.”

The pain may go away for a while. But often, the pain returns and in many cases, it is more intense and lasts longer and longer with each episode. The pain or symptom will usually get worse over time.

But like a small fire smoldering below perception, the pain is waiting for the slightest amount of “fuel” to flare up and lead to a debilitating health crisis.

If you are seeing a medical doctor for your migraines or headaches and they are prescribing drugs to dull your pain, make sure you ask them what is causing your headache problem. Is your body not making enough Panadol? Are you deficient in that particular pain-killing drug?

Obviously not. The pain-killer may cover up the discomfort temporarily, but what about addressing the cause?

It’s our experience that many medical doctors do not attempt to understand life factors that can be affecting a patient. They are quick to prescribe drugs that may dull the pain signals temporarily.

To truly resolve a health problem, you have to find the cause of that problem and then correct the fundamental, underlying cause.

This is the major advantage that chiropractic offers: we specialize in correcting the cause of migraines and headaches. More on this later.

2. Pain is a Sign that You Need to Change

This may sound a little strange, but your migraines and headaches are present in your life for a reason. They serve a purpose. Migraines and headaches are painful and that pain is probably limiting your life in some in critical ways. It is not a small problem.

But think of your headaches or migraines as a warning sign.

 

Your internal alarm bells are going off. Something in your life is out of balance and not serving you. It’s likely you are doing something that is adding stress or injury to your life.

Possibly, you are acting in a way that is causing a deficiency or toxicity to your health in some way. Remember, pain is not normal, so something is off. Something needs to be corrected.

Pain and symptoms are messages signaling you to make a change. Prioritize your health and take action to improve the state of your health.

Types of Headaches

Often, when people are looking to solve a headache problem, one of the first things they research is how headaches are categorized or classified. They want to know what type of headache they have.

Here’s a list of common types of headaches:

  • Tension Headaches
  • Stress Headaches
  • Sinus Headaches
  • Cluster Headaches
  • Rebound Headaches
  • Migraine Headaches

Maybe you have been labelled with one of these types of headaches. While understanding the names and characteristics of the different types of headaches can be helpful, what is far more important is understanding what is causing your headache.

3. Cultivate Simple Habits that Promote Health

Here are a few basic tips and tactics that can reduce your experience of migraines and headaches, and improve your health in general. While they may seem simple, it may take some discipline to apply them consistently in your life.

Move it or Lose it

The vast majority of people in Singapore sit for long hours at work. Being sedentary for long periods of time can contribute to muscle tension and spinal stress.  And these are two important factors relating to migraines and headaches.

If you have to sit and face a computer for long periods of time, break that pattern by moving around as much and as often as you can.

Stand up, walk around and stretch at least one time per hour that you spend seated.

Take Breaks Often

Prolonged periods of focused mental effort can also lead to mental stress and anxiety, which are leading causes of migraines and headaches. Take frequent breaks from your mental exertion.  If you change your focus from the stressful, difficult thing you are working on to something more positive and soothing, even for a short while, you will feel better as a result.

Your mental focus has a profound effect on your physical status; change your focus and you change your health.

Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

Caffeine speeds up your nervous system and stimulates the stress response system in your brain. Eliminating caffeinated beverages from your diet will help you feel more at ease, relaxed and free, and as a result, reduce the ‘fuel’ for headache flare-ups.

Caffeine can also become addictive and lead to chemical changes in your brain that can be associated with headaches. Drink less coffee!

Limit Your Sugar Consumption

Consuming simple sugars regularly, promotes an inflammatory state in your body. High levels of inflammation can increase the likelihood that you’ll experience flare-ups of pain, especially migraines and headaches.

Reduce your consumption of simple sugars including sweetened beverages (especially diet soft drinks, because contain artificial sweeteners), rice, bread, cookies, pastries, most packaged snack foods, and pasta.

Feel free to eat healthy carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables in abundance.

Drink Lots of Water

Drink one to two liters of water every day. Staying hydrated will have a profound, positive effect on how you feel and how you are performing in your life. Stay hydrated!

4. Free Yourself from Stress

We hear this almost every day in our offices: “I’m very stressed!” Singapore can be an extremely stressful place, and many people feel that they are being pulled in a thousand directions at once by competing pressures and obligations.

We have to recognize that stress is a real health issue that will lead to real consequences in your life. Mental and emotional stress is a major contributing factor for migraines and headaches. Many people feel that mental stress acts as a tipping point that causes their migraines and headaches to strike.

Related: Stress Management: Your Innate Stress Response

When you experience a stressful event, say, for example, your boss yells at you for some reason, a certain region of your nervous system gets activated. Think of your nervous system as your master wiring network that controls and coordinates all of your body functions.

A mental stressor activates your sympathetic nervous system, your fight-or-flight, rapid response system.

Your sympathetic nervous system causes a chain reaction inside of you to help you do the things that would be necessary if you had to rapidly run away from danger or fight off a threat. Your brain, through your nervous system, almost instantly facilitates this fight-or-flight response. It happens at the speed of a thought.

When this happens, certain aspects of your body function increase, and certain things decrease.

Many of us are constantly triggering our stress system by repeatedly exposing ourselves to stressful events. Many people feel that stress is inevitable, like it’s a normal part of life.

Some people become addicted to being busy and stressed out. If they are not juggling a thousand things at once, they are not working hard enough or achieving enough.

How does stress relate to your migraines and headaches?

There are two major mechanisms at work during your stress-response that can contribute to migraines headaches:

  1. Increased blood flow, especially to your brain
  2. Increased muscle tension

Muscle tension is the more common of the two negative effects above. Often, during a stressful moment we may feel our shoulders tighten, our upper neck stiffen, our eyes may tense, or our jaws may clench.

These muscle tension patterns can affect your cervical spine, irritate the delicate nerves of your upper neck, and lead to migraines and headaches. More on this in a moment.

Remember, these effects are fundamentally a result of a thought triggering a certain part of your brain, and your brain facilitating a normal process in response to a perceived threat.

Supercharge Rest and Relaxation

It’s important to make stress reduction a daily priority. You brush your teeth every day; you should actively manage your mental stress as well.

Here is an exercise that will counteract the negative effects that mental stress can have on your health. One of the most effective ways for you to reduce stress is by breathing slowly with the deliberate intention to relax throughout your day.

Slow breathing, especially when you utilize your diaphragm muscle, profoundly inhibits your sympathetic nervous system and can create a state of deep calmness.

Inducing a relaxed and calm state, will often reduce headaches and migraines in minutes.

Slow Breathing Exercise

Positioning:

Sit in a comfortable chair, in a neutral, erect and relaxed posture. Have both feet flat on the ground. Remove your shoes if possible. Relax your facial muscles.

Loosen your shoulders and slightly retract your shoulder blades. Place your hands in your lap as in the picture below. Try to relax and calm your mind as much as possible.

Instructions:

Once you are in this relaxed and comfortable position, initiate the breathing exercise.

1. Inhale:

Breathe in slowly through your nose, letting the air fill your lungs while your diaphragm expands. You will know that your diaphragm is expanding because your belly will expand. Breathe in slowly. Once you have fully inhaled, pause for two seconds at the bottom of your inhalation.

 

2. Exhale:

Once you have paused for two seconds, breathe out very slowly through pursed lips. The amount of time it takes for you to breathe out should be twice the amount of time to breathe in.

This is the most important part of the exercise: breathe out very, very slowly. Double the amount of time that it took you to inhale.

3. Repeat:

Breathing fully in and breathing fully out is one repetition. Do at least ten repetitions in a row in one sitting. Think of 10 repetitions in a row as being 1 set.

Do 5-10 sets of this slow breathing exercise per day to reduce stress in your life.

If you feel a headache developing, pause what you are doing and do a set of the slow breathing exercise. You’ll be glad that you did.

Make this exercise part of your daily routine and you’ll be less stressed out, we promise. Your headaches may melt away as well.

 


 

Would you like to learn more about mental stress or more stress management tools?

We have a lot valuable information available in our FREE Health Guide on Migraine and Headache Relief.

Download it for FREE here.

 


 

5. An Optimal Spine Equals Optimal Health

By far the most prevalent cause of migraines and headaches are spine problems and related nerve compromise.

Your spine is critical for your health for two important reasons.

They are:

1. Structural strength and stability for your body

2. To protect your nervous system

Your nervous system is the master power system of your body that consists of your brain, spinal cord and spinal nerves.

Think of your nerve system as a complex wiring system that coordinates and controls all of your body function. Literally everything that happens inside of your body is regulated by your brain through this vast communication network.

Your life force flows through this system.

Here’s a picture of your nervous system:

You spine’s main job is to protect this vital system. Think of your spine as a container for your extremely delicate nervous system. Nerves sit a space created by two properly aligned spinal bones.

Stresses, injuries and traumas can cause your spine to misalign. Spinal misalignments are very serious problems and are known as Subluxations.

Here’s a picture of a spinal subluxation:

Misalignments or subluxations in the cervical spine (neck region) are the leading cause of migraines and headaches.

Subluxations will lead to:

  • Reduced movement and flexibility
  • Tight and tense muscles
  • Inflammation and pain in the muscles, joints and ligaments of your neck
  • Bad posture like hunching, slouching, head tilting
  • Nerve irritation
  • May be painless at first

Nerve irritation is the most dangerous component of spinal subluxations.

In most cases, the damage, stress and irritation to the nerves, especially in the upper cervical spine, lead to migraines or headaches.  Headaches are commonly a nerve problem caused by a spinal injury.

What Causes Subluxations in the Cervical Spine?
  • Physical traumas like slips and falls, car accidents, sports injuries
  • Sitting for long hours looking down at a computer
  • National Service traumas
  • Excessive mobile phone usage
  • Mental and emotional stress
  • Bad posture

Spinal x-rays are often a very important test in assessing you for spinal misalignment.

Here’s an example of an x-ray of a person suffering from migraines:

This example shows a very severe misalignment in the upper neck region causing significant irritation to the nerves in that area.

This person also had very bad hunching posture, upper back pain and they found it difficult to bend their head back or rotate their head from side to side.

In this case, the cause of their migraines was the misalignment in their cervical spine and the damage to their nerves.

Restriction in movement, especially bending you head back (elevating your chin), is one of the leading indicators of having a spinal misalignment problem.

Doctors of Chiropractic specialize in correcting subluxations and restoring nerve function through chiropractic adjustments.

6. Your Spine Needs to be Strong and Flexible

A flexible and mobile spine is a healthy spine. The movement and flexibility of your cervical spine allows you to bend, rotate, extend, flex your head so you can be as active as you would like.

Movement is the key to a healthy spine and an optimally functioning nervous system.

Spinal Exercise to Reduce Headaches

We are now going to teach you an important exercise to improve the movement of your cervical spine and to reduce migraines and headaches.

This exercise is known as a range of motion exercise because the goal of the exercise is to improve the flexibility and movement of your neck region.

This exercise will also counteract the negative effects of chronic slouching, hunching, and sitting for long hours at work. It is also a great stress-reliever.

Starting Position:

Sit in a comfortable chair or stand in a neutral, erect, and relaxed posture.

Have both feet on the ground. Relax your facial muscles. Loosen your shoulders, and slightly retract your shoulder blades back.

Position your head by looking straight ahead with your chin level to the horizon.

The Movement

Slowly extend your head by elevating your chin as far back as possible. Do not move too fast, and breathe normally. Do not force your back too forcefully. Get to the end of the range of your motion and hold for five seconds.

Holding for five seconds is the most important part of the exercise.

After you hold for five seconds, move your head back to the starting position.

Extending back, holding for five seconds, and then moving back to the starting position is one repetition.

Do at least ten repetitions in a row at one sitting. Ten repetitions is one set.

Do 5-10 sets of this exercise throughout your day to improve your cervical spine movement.

Do the exercise every day.

 


 

We have many more spinal exercises and stretches available for FREE in our Migraine and Headache Relief Health Guide.

Download it for FREE here.

 


 

Exercises May Not be Enough

When your spine becomes misaligned, fixated, or locked out of alignment it loses some of its ability to move. This lack of mobility will cause your spinal joints to inflame, your nerves to become damaged, and eventually pain will follow. This is the major cause of headaches.

Exercises and stretches can be helpful, but often, they are not enough to fully restore the alignment of your spine.

If the cause of your migraines or headaches is that your spine is physically out of alignment and irritating your nerves, then you need to be adjusted by a Doctor of Chiropractic.

We recommend that you do spinal exercises and stretches on a regular basis to reduce muscle tension and manage stress, but this may not be the complete solution that you require.

7. Chiropractic Adjustments Correct the Cause of Headaches

An adjustment is a very specific, focused and gentle input of pressure into a misaligned area of your spine, to restore alignment, enhance movement and to improve the health of your nervous system.

The positive effect on your nervous system is what allows chiropractic care to be so effective.

Most migraines and headaches are caused by physical misalignments in the cervical spine.

Adjustments Realign Your Spine

Chiropractic adjustments are gently done by hand to move your spine back to the normal alignment and to relieve the stress on your nerve system. Doctors of Chiropractic specialize in correcting misalignments through adjustments.

Adjustments remove interference to your nervous system, allowing your nervous system to do its job more effectively.

Also, stretches, exercises and traction may be given to support adjustments and aid in the realignment process. Often, a comprehensive approach is required to solve a headache or migraine problem.

If you are dealing with migraines, headache or spinal pain of any kind, then schedule a spinal checkup to see if chiropractic can help you.

Get Your Spine Checked!

Adjustments are only given after a detailed consultation and examination designed to determine the precise and most effective way for our Doctors of Chiropractic to help you.

We need to understand the cause of your migraine or headache before we give recommendations.

Our chiropractic care is safe and effective as we perform a comprehensive consultation and examination, often including advanced spinal imaging, before adjustments are given.

A chiropractic spinal checkup is a comprehensive series of tests to examine your spine for alignment and to find the cause of your specific challenge.

A chiropractic spinal checkup has to be the first step to see if chiropractic can help you with your migraines and headaches.

Take the First Step

There is no reason to continue dealing with migraines and headaches.

Chiropractic has a long track-record of helping people with many types of pain, symptoms, and health challenges.

Schedule a no-obligation spinal checkup to find the cause of your migraine or headache and to see if chiropractic is right for you.

It all starts with a checkup. Make a change today!

 

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