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6 Drug-Free Solutions for Your Headache Pain

Headache pain can range from dull and achy to sharp and throbbing. Headaches are extremely common, and nearly everyone experiences headaches at one time or another.

But, headaches are notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat. The pain can be caused by any number of triggers, but one truth remains the same: Chronic headaches can hurt your quality of life and make you miss out on activities you love. 

Kari Hawkins, DC and Cary Nelson, MD of Advanced Integrative Medical Center in Redondo Beach, California understand that turning to prescription drugs isn’t always the best option. Our team is here to share some of the best alternative solutions to managing headache pain. 

1. Chiropractic care

One of the most popular drug-free treatments for headaches is chiropractic care. Chiropractic care is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on alignment of the spine, and in turn, the entire musculoskeletal system.

Chiropractic adjustment makes sure your spine is in alignment and the nerves running from your brain to the rest of your body aren’t blocked. Treatment in the neck and back can relieve pressure on nerves that causes headaches.

2. Relaxation techniques

Headaches can be caused by stress. Finding healthy methods of managing stress in your life can not only make you feel more relaxed, but it can prevent headaches from developing. 

Learn to practice relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. Calming the mind and body with purposeful relaxation can help you manage stress and reduce the number of stress headaches you suffer as a result.

3. Massage therapy

Massage therapy is a form of hands-on alternative medicine that relaxes muscles and relieves pain and tension in the body. Many causes of headaches, like stress and tension, are treated effectively through massage therapy.

For people with chronic headaches, massage can be beneficial to manage the number of headaches that occur. Though massage doesn’t stop headache pain once it starts, it may prevent headaches from developing later on.

4. Dietary changes

A number of common foods and beverages can cause headaches. Some culprits include caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, processed meats, aged cheeses, and foods containing aspartame, an artificial sweetener.  

Keeping a food journal, where you write down what you eat and drink each day, can be helpful when finding links between your diet and headaches. If a food or drink seems to cause headaches, try eliminating it. Always be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration, which is another common cause of headaches. 

5. Improving sleep

Not getting enough sleep puts strain on your body and mind, and evidence suggests that poor quality sleep is a leading contributor to migraines. If you suffer from headaches, implementing changes in your life to promote better sleep can help.

Make your bedroom a relaxing environment, and don’t use electronics like your phone or tablet before bed. Avoid taking naps during the day and don’t eat heavy meals right before you go to sleep. 

6. Exercise

Getting about 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week has a host of health benefits, and headache prevention could be one of them. Exercise improves blood flow, helps you manage stress, and releases endorphins. 

Moderate exercise can reduce the number of headaches you suffer before they start. But it’s important to listen to your body. If you have an existing headache, exercising can increase blood flow and make it feel temporarily worse. 

If you haven’t been active for some time or an injury has put you on the sidelines, our physical therapy team can help. Adding doctor-approved physical activity to your daily routine can restore your body and your mind.

Suffering from chronic headaches doesn’t mean you have to turn to prescription drugs for effective pain relief. For personalized tips on how you can manage headaches, make an appointment with us online or by phone.

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