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Dizziness, nausea, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, muscle tension, throbbing pain and tingling in the neck, head and eyes. The room is spinning, light, noise and smell sensitivities. Growing up, these were signs which both my mother and sister experienced regularly, and I would feel for them both as I knew the day would mean being paralysed in a dark room in bed, sleeping off the pain.
If you have ever experienced a headache or migraine, the episodes can be incredibly debilitating and you pray for those “normal” days to return.
Headache and migraine triggers may come from a number of factors:
Environment – sudden storms, smoke, perfumes or pollution.
Foods or drinks – caffeine, alcohol, especially red wine, chocolate, cheese, wheat/gluten or processed deli meats (eg. salami, ham). Flavourings and artificial additives (eg. MSG, Aspartame), sweeteners can also trigger headaches and migraines. Consider foods sensitive too, to rule out reactions which may trigger an episode.
Health related conditions – sinus congestion from allergies, changes in hormones (menstruation, menopause), and fluctuations in blood sugar levels may influence the frequency and severity of migraines and headaches.
A busy lifestyle can trigger a migraine or headache from lack of sleep, stress, neck-shoulder tension, poor posture, skipping meals and dehydration.
There are a number of natural ways to support the body before, during and post episodes:
Given that the body is made up about 80%, it’s vital that the body is adequately hydrated to ensure every system and part of the body can best perform its function. Dehydration can trigger headaches and migraines.
A healthy lifestyle with regular aerobic workouts, relaxation exercises and relaxation-breathing will help to minimise the severity of headaches and migraines.
Stretches and deep tissue massage are some of the best ways to loosen tight muscles. Tightness, particularly around the shoulder and neck area can contribute to tension headaches and migraines.
Keep a Headache Diary
Finding the cause is a simply way to eliminate the problem. Keep a diet lifestyle headache diary, to help identify the common triggers or causes. Log foods and drinks eaten through the day, stressful events, emotions (anger, fear, confusion), physical activities, unexpected news and weather changes. Record when a headache or migraine has occurred, the time and duration. This diet lifestyle headache diary will allow you to ascertain any patterns, food sensitivities, to try to avoid for the future. Understanding the cause, which foods or activities triggers a headache, will best help to manage the incident and the severity.