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5 Natural Remedies for Headaches More Effective Than Popping Pills

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For our readers who didn’t go to chiropractic school, this is the textbook definition of a headache:

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*our thanks to McGraw-Hill for allowing us to use this excerpt

Unfortunately, here in Springfield, Illinois we know the effects of headaches all too well. They are all consuming, debilitating, and seem to be on a continual loop with no end in sight. Headaches have the potential to take down giants and turn anyone who tries to ask the inflicted a basic question into a mortal enemy. And then there are some who lose the will to live completely, where the most elemental aspects of being a human being become insurmountable.

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actual footage of every Springfield Wellness Center headache patient before we adjust them
Headaches may be common, but they are not normal. Life has gotten so busy and stressful lately that we often times turn to medication as a quick fix so that we can pick up Timmy from soccer practice without wanting to drive the car into a ditch. The problem with that strategy, though, is that the side effects of many pain medications can cause much more serious health issues. Over-the-counter meds can cause:

  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Kidney Damage
  • Liver Damage
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Increase risk for stroke

…while prescription painkillers can cause:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Itching or sweating
  • Depression
  • A weakened immune system
  • Tolerance
  • Addiction

Prescription painkillers are blamed for the crazy amount of overdose deaths that the U.S. is now facing. In Springfield, Illinois alone, our opioid addiction rate increased over 300% in the early 2010s. Not to mention, prescription painkillers can, overtime, actually increase sensitivity to pain. Our country is addicted, no doubt about it.

But there is hope, the list of ways to prevent headaches naturally and achieve lasting pain relief is long and most of them are actually more effective than aspirin or ibuprofen. Here are just five game changers.

1. Drink Water

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I know, I know, people are out there suffering and all I’ve got is, “drink more water”. But this should only emphasize how important water really is. Without water our body can’t regulate body temperature, transport nutrients and oxygen to our cells, lubricate joints, protect our organs, flush toxins, dissolve minerals so they can be absorbed, or regulate blood volume and circulation. The build up of toxins would cause widespread organ failure and that’s if the drastic drop in blood pressure hasn’t finished us already.

Chronic dehydration is a common cause of tension headaches and migraines, it can also impair concentration and cause irritability which makes headache symptoms even worse. Beyond headaches, water is so essential because its effects are literally life affirming.

We need to be drinking half our body weight in ounces of water a day. That means a 150 lb person should be drinking 75 ounces of water a day. Math whiz here. That’s 10.5 cups, 2.5 liters, 170 tablespoons. Until we’re all doing what we’re supposed to be doing, I will scream it from the rooftops: DRINK MORE WATER!!

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And if that’s not enough Gwyneth Paltrow and Beyonce both say it’s the #1 secret to anti-aging.

2. Magnesium

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Magnesium is incredible.

It is involved in hundreds of chemical reactions inside the body, it can boost exercise performance and fight depression.

It fights against type 2 diabetes and reduces insulin resistance.

It lowers blood pressure, improves PMS symptoms, and has anti-inflammatory properties.

It’s also, famously, a headache’s worst nightmare.

Magnesium literally blocks pain transmitting chemicals in the brain.

By preventing bleeding it helps the body react to injury, improving its ability to self-heal.

It also stifles certain brain signalling which helps to prevent the visual and sensory changes that are common during a headache or migraine.

In addition to supplements, it’s easy to get from food sources like:

  • Spinach
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Salmon
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Swiss chard
  • Black Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Halibut
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Mackerel

(I can’t believe that there aren’t more emojis for these food items. And that’s not even spinach, it’s lettuce. Apple has a lot of work to do.)

3. Limit Alcohol

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3.1 Essential Oils

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Peppermint oil makes delicious peppermint bark around Christmas time. It also stimulates blood flow and soothes muscle contractions.

Lavender oil is the star of many at-home spa nights. It’s also a mood stabilizer and sedative.

Imagine what they can do together!

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Combine a few drops of each and rub it on your forehead, temples, and the back of your neck.
It may sound too easy, but don’t get mad at me for doing my job of finding easy ways for our patients to get rid of headaches fast.

4. Get Up and Get Moving

The last thing that someone with a headache might want to do is get up and move around, but it may be one of the best things for them. We spend so much time hunched over our computers or scrolling through our phones that we are altering our physical structure. The forward head posture that we develop through a sedentary lifestyle adds 10 pounds of pressure to our neck for each inch our head drifts forward. No wonder headaches are so common!

Relieving tension through yoga, stretching, riding a bike, swimming, going to the gym, just taking a walk around the block, will have massive effects on the built-up tension in our bodies. We can’t let our bad posture habits take hold. So get up from the desk every hour and do some quick stretches or take a lap. THIS IS A DOCTOR MANDATED WORK BREAK. Study after study shows physical activity can reduce the frequency and severity of headaches. So:

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5. Chiropractic Care

Yes, a chiropractor advocating for chiropractic care is

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But it’s an all-natural way to get rid of headaches for good!!! Chiropractors can reduce oxidative stress, so they’re basically an antioxidant. Move over blueberries!

Chiropractic adjustments help to alleviate stress on the nervous system by clearing nerve pathways so that the body can heal itself. Posture issues or trauma that affect spinal structure and put undue stress and tension on our muscles and ligaments triggering tension headaches and migraines, can also be corrected through chiropractic care.

At the end of the day, pain is our body’s alarm system. It’s telling us that something is not right. The only way to turn that alarm off is to correct the underlying condition. No amount of potions or lotions can fix a structural problem. At the Springfield Wellness Center, we want to find those underlying conditions and correct them, because a pain free life is the only way to live.

Many people approach chiropractic care with trepidation, but give us a call and let’s see if chiropractic may be the solution or schedule a time to meet with one of our doctors here. Our care is gentle and individualized to each patient. We believe that the spine is the foundation for good health. By improving spinal health, headaches might not be the only ailment that says goodbye for good

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