Head Off Headaches for the New Year

While chronic headaches can be caused by anything from visual strain to hypertension, a majority can be traced to neck problems from incorrect breathing. Instead of using our diaphragms to breathe, many of us employ the chest wall and neck muscles instead. Learning how to breathe deeply and correctly can prevent stress headaches as well as lessen the severity and duration of those that have already begun. Yoga, acupuncture, changes in diet, meditation, and massage can also help.

Yoga: HEADACHE RX Learning how to breathe deeply and correctly can prevent stress headaches as well as lessen the severity and duration of those that have already begun. Yoga postures can open tight areas in the chest or abdomen that may inhibit your breathing. MODIFIED FORWARD BEND 1. Stand facing the back of a high-backed chair and place both hands on it. 2. Take a few steps away from the chair and hinge forward from your hips so your torso is horizontal to the floor. Lengthen your spine and bend your knees slightly [shown]. 3. Keeping your ears aligned with your upper arms and your elbows straight, lengthen along the outsides of your arms and rib cage. 4. Keep your tongue, throat and eyes relaxed. Breathe deeply and slowly, holding the pose for 10 breaths. Take a few steps forward to the starting position and repeat as needed.

Rocking Rx: The Trager Approach has a long, successful history. Developed in the 1920s by the late Milton Trager, M.D., this gentle technique has been reported effective in treating the pain of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and polio. It’s even been found beneficial for relieving the discomfort attributed to fibromyalgia. According to Trager theory, specific holding patterns in the body relate to specific holding patterns in the mind. In a meditative process called “hook up,” physical contact becomes the medium for reaching the unconscious mind, which is where true, long-lasting change takes place; it also helps clients let go of past conditioning, such as tissue-stored memories of tension. THE NEXT TIME YOU FEEL A HEADACHE coming on, try the exercise pictured at left.

1. With feet bare and comfortably apart (about 12 inches), stand fully relaxed until you become conscious of gravity pulling your body weight all the way down to your soles.
2. Keeping your feet rooted, begin shifting your weight slowly from side to side. Become aware of how the muscles on the weight-bearing leg are working and how the muscles in the other leg relax.
3. When you feel ready, begin walking forward, staying conscious of how your weight shifts slightly and your arms swing spontaneously in a natural rhythm.
4. Position your head and neck in easy alignment over your upper body, moving them slightly to the right or left with each step. Maintaining this effortless movement gradually eases rigidity and helps release tension in the head, neck, and upper shoulders.

Nutrition: Pain killers are good to treat any episode of headache, but they produce severe gastritis. Natural way to cure headache can be ideal if any person suffers from recurrent bouts of headache. Here we shall discuss about 5 foods to cure headaches.

  • Ginkgo biloba – it is a medicinal plant. The leaves and the seeds contain some flavonoid glycosides. Clinical trials have strongly recommended use of ginkgo biloba in those patients suffering from dementia and chronic headache.
  • Banana – if you suffer from constant headache, you should include a banana in your breakfast every day. High magnesium concentration in bananas will help is successful cure of headache.
  • Lemonade – a glass of lemonade or fresh lime juice with high concentration of salt can cure severe headache almost instantly. Intake of salt is not generally persuaded. But in case of headache, it acts like magic.
  • Apple – denuded and seed free pieces of apples, each morning in your breakfast will definitely cure stress related headache. Apples contain bioflavonoids which help in reduction of blood pressure and thus reducing the incidence of headache.
  • Black pepper – either in powdered form or mixed with vegetables, it can cure headache. Black pepper contains capsaicin and it can increase the threshold level for headache.
  • Infusion drinks – herbal infusion drink can also do wonder. Mix some basil leaves and ginger pieces in boiling water. Let it boil for 5-7 minutes. Sift the water into a cup. Add 1 tsp of honey. Drink it warm. You will feel better. Antioxidants, selenium, magnesium and vitamins will help your body to rejuvenate instantly.

Herbs:  COENZYME Q10: It’s not clear exactly how the vitamin- like substance known as CoQ10 works—it might improve the brain’s ability to metabolize glucose, Halpern hypothesizes.
Research: A study published in the journal Neurology found that CoQ10 could reduce migraine frequency by up to 50 percent.
Dosage: 100 mg, three times a day

MAGNESIUM: This simple mineral has musclerelaxing properties and may stave off a migraine by preventing blood vessel spasms, notes Maureen Williams, N.D., a naturopath in private practice on Cortes Island, British Columbia.
Research: In a study published in the journal Cephalalgia, patients who took magnesium every day for 12 weeks reported significantly fewer migraine attacks (versus those taking a placebo) after only nine weeks.
Dosage: 600 mg a day, says the Cephalalgia study

BUTTERBUR: The herb butterbur stabilizes the cells that produce histamine, so it’s a good choice for those who also suffer from allergies, says Debra Brammer, N.D., clinical dean of naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University. Look for products such as Petadolex ( that are free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (potentially toxic compounds).
Research: The herb was shown to significantly reduce migraine frequency in some people, according to a study in the journal Neurology.
Dosage: 100 mg, three to four times a day

FEVERFEW: “This herb may work by inhibiting the inflammation cascade and stabilizing substance P, the neurotransmitter responsible for the pain response,” Brammer says.
Research: Clinical studies are mixed but feverfew has been used as a migraine treatment in folk medicine.
Dosage: 100 mg, three times a day

Remember simple lifestyle changes like nutrition, fitness and meditation can conquer this OMG Moment (headache) head on. Take care of yourself and your temple. Start the new year off with a bang not a banging headache.

~Ms. OMG

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