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Help with headaches and migraines

Even though this was written more for migraines, both headaches and migraines have common triggers and treatments. The most recent research is showing migraines and headaches to a lessor extent, may be caused by one of the following:

Blood flow. A sharp decrease, but usually a sharp increase in blood flow. Changes in the brain chemical serotonin. When levels drop, blood vessels including those in your brain become swollen and inflamed, which can lead to migraine pain. A disruption of the subtle energies circulating throughout your body, along with unresolved emotional issues that manifest in your body as headaches.

Vitamin B deficiency. In one study, vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid supplements were found to produce a two-fold reduction in migraines over a six-month period. Previous studies, such as a 2004 study in the European Journal of Neurology, have also reported that high doses of B2 (riboflavin) can help prevent migraine attacks. You want to purchase food-based B (and others) vitamins.

Hormonal imbalance. A hormonal imbalance can not only trigger headaches and migraines but can be responsible for many various symptoms and health issues. Getting your hormones checked and corrected through NHRT (Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy) may help directly or indirectly with headaches, migraines and many other health issues.

Know your triggers so you can avoid them or make necessary adjustments:

Food and Drink: Many people experience headaches/migraines when they eat certain foods, especially: wheat, dairy, sugar, artificial preservatives or chemical additives, cured or processed meats, alcohol (especially red wine and beer), aspartame, caffeine, and MSG. Caffeine can also trigger an attack - and sometimes excess nuts.

Changes in sleeping cycle: Both missing sleep and oversleeping can trigger a migraine. If you have trouble sleeping, read my article on "Tips for Better Sleep" (an earlier blog post) .

Hormones: Some women experience migraines before or during their periods, during pregnancy or during menopause. Others may get migraines from hormonal medications like birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy.

*Allergies: Including food allergies and food sensitivities, and chemical sensitivities. Common food allergies are cow's milk (including yogurt and ice cream), corn, *aspartame, *MSG, Citrus and eggs.
Stress/Post-stress: Any kind of emotional trauma can trigger a migraine, even after the stress has passed.
External stimuli: Bright lights, fluorescent lights, loud noises and strong smells (even pleasant ones) can trigger a migraine.

Dehydration and/or hunger: Skipping meals or fasting are also common triggers.
Physical exertion: Extremely intense exercise or even sex has been known to bring on migraines.

Weather changes, and/or changes in altitude.

*To determine if you have a food allergy:

  • Do you experience bloating after meals, gas, frequent belching, or any kind of digestive problems?
  • Do you have chronic constipation or diarrhea?
  • Do you have a stuffy nose after meals?
  • Do you have low energy or feel drowsy after eating?
  • *Be especially careful of aspartame & MSG (take note that these are chemicals/preservatives never meant for consumption. Trust me, many major food manufactures that add these kinds of things are not looking out for your health. They are looking out for their pocket book and know that certain additives can be very addictive...that's a whole other article!). They are notorious for causing headaches and migraines as well as ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness and shooting pains in the extremities, behavioral disturbances and neuritis.

Ok, now the good stuff - here's some things you can do to relieve them:

  • Eliminate all gluten products
  • Organically grown produce, and grass-fed or pastured animal products that are free from additives and genetically engineered ingredients
  • Eliminate all artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame.
  • Carbohydrates primarily come from vegetables (except corn and potatoes, which should typically be avoided for weight loss and better gut health as well). Dramatically lowering your intake of non-vegetable carbs could improve  leptin and insulin signaling which could also improve migraines
  • Focus on unprocessed, whole foods, eaten raw or only lightly cooked (ideally, try to eat at least one-third of your food raw).
  • Food from high-quality, local sources
  • Stimulate your body's natural painkilling ability by putting pressure on a nerve just under your eyebrow, you can cause your pituitary gland to release painkilling endorphins immediately
  • Deal with stress and anxiety in healthy ways. For tips, click here to read an article from my website.
  • Take anywhere from 1/2 to 3 teaspoons of cayenne pepper in an 8 oz glass of water (hot or cold). Endorphins are released by your brain when the cayenne hits your stomach lining. Another alternative is to swallow a dollop of wasabi paste
  • Green apple scent. One study found that the scent significantly relieved migraine pain. This may also work with other scents that you enjoy so consulting with an aromatherapist may be beneficial
  • Hot/Cold compress: Alternate hot and cold compresses on your forehead and/or behind your neck
  • Regular massage. (Schedule one today here) To help relieve stress, tension and pain. At the time of a headache and or migraine, you can also massage your ears, ear lobes, and the "crown" of your head -- the ring of muscles that circle your head where a crown would sit
  • Like it or not, drink lots of purified water daily
  • Supplements that have been shown effective and may be beneficial (please note that a good and healthy nutrition and exercise plan should always be your foundation):

Peppermint oil
B-Vitamins (particularly B2, B6 and B12 and food based)

For additional help, also visit my new website Tailored Wellness!

4 Comments to Help with headaches and migraines:

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