8 Strategies to Tackle Your Headache ‘Head’-on!

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Headaches can quickly put a major damper on anyone’s otherwise pleasant day.

While severe debilitating headaches often require medical care along with medications, here are a number of headache rescue strategies you can use to help tackle the issue ‘head’-on.

1. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. According to recent and growing evidence presented at the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo hosted by the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics, inflammation plays a critical role in migraines. Eat a more plant-based diet full of fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds and low in refined sugars, high-fat red meat, and highly processed foods for an anti-inflammatory effect.

2. Following a lower fat diet may help. This means a diet that is lower in fat, not fat-free, while focusing on those healthy fats like omega-3s in salmon, sardines, walnuts and flaxseed. And steer clear of hydrogenated oils (trans fats) altogether.

3. Drink Up the Water.Dehydration can trigger a headache in some people or make symptoms worse. Aim for about 1 cup per 20 pounds body weight.

4. Magnesium. While the science is preliminary and inconclusive, there is some recent suggestion that magnesium may help with migraine headaches. Magnesium-rich foods include halibut, almonds, cashews, spinach, oatmeal, potatoes, other nuts, peanuts, beans, and brown rice.

5. Identify – and then avoid – your own triggers. This is one of the most important – and also sometimes challenging – tasks you can undertake to help you manage the diet-related aspects of your headaches.  Preventive nutrition for headaches requires limiting your intake of ‘trigger’ foods and additives may help you avoid certain kinds of headaches. Keeping a food and headache journal can help.

For some of the most common food triggers, see this list: Headache Detective-Work: Identifying Your Food-related Headache Triggers

6. Find an acupuncturist. If you are suffering from headaches, you might want to seek the assistance from a licensed acupuncturist in your area. Ask for referrals from friends or colleagues and read about How to Find an Acupuncturist and Chinese Medical Herbalist. Some women find they experience headaches according to their menstrual cycle and hormonal shifts so keeping a headache diary along with tracking the menstrual cycle can help.

7. Regular exercise. You’ve heard it before, exercise regularly and include some aerobic and strength exercises that safely engage the back, shoulders and neck.

8. Regular rest. Even if you know you have a hard week at work, if you are a person who suffers from periodic or regular headaches, it’s very important to build in mini-breaks, small powernaps and also a ‘scheduled rest’ to help prevent triggering a headache.

And here are more headache rescue strategies you can use.

 

Jason Bazilian, DAOM, L.Ac.

Jason Bazilian is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine – the first to earn a doctoral degree in this field in the United States. Dr. Bazilian works with athletes, women, men, and children treating a broad spectrum of conditions at their private practice, Bazilian’s Health Clinic in San Diego and New York City, alongside his partner and wife, Dr. Wendy Bazilian, who is a registered dietitian. Find him on FacebookandTwitter.

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