Almost everyone has experienced a headache at least once in their lives. For those with just an occasional headache, reaching for an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may seem like a simple solution. However, some people experience headaches on a much more frequent basis. In those cases, reaching for a pain killer may cause more problems than it alleviates.
Ibuprofen is very hard on the digestive system and overuse can contribute to gastric reflux disease, ulcers and lesions in the intestinal walls. It also increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Acetaminophen is hardest on the liver and can also cause nausea, diarrhea and kidney problems. Occasional use of these over-the-counter analgesics should be fine for most people but when you need them on a regular basis, they can be downright dangerous.
Fortunately, there are many ways to not only relieve headache pain but to actually prevent some headaches from even starting. One thing to remember is that headaches can be caused be any one of a number of things. You can get a headache due to tension, sinus problems, sleep deprivation, hunger, caffeine withdrawal and even by spinal disorders. Some people suffer from migraine headaches which are believed to be neurological in origin but science hasn’t determined all the causes and contributing factors of migraines.
Simple things can sometimes work wonders when it comes to alleviating pain. The next time you find yourself with a tension headache beginning, try putting an ice pack on the back of your neck or getting a massage. Tension headaches are mostly caused by the muscles tightening up and both of these things can loosen the muscles, thus relieving or even preventing a headache.
Another natural headache remedy is to use acupressure. Even if you don’t believe in the more mystical concepts behind acupressure, studies have shown that it can be effective for many types of pain. With any kind of headache, but especially one caused by tension, try pressing the heel of your hand gently into the hollow spot on the back of your neck, right at the base of your skull. Take your other hand and using your thumb and index finger, press the top of your nose ridge, upwards into the hollows of the eyes. Hold this for three to five minutes.
There have been clinical trials with several nutritional supplements that have shown some of them to be effective at preventing headaches, even migraines. One mineral supplement that has shown a lot of promise is magnesium. This does make a lot of sense as a lot of people have a dietary deficiency in this mineral. By taking supplements in a dosage from 400 to 600 mg daily, many migraine sufferers have found that their attacks have lessened in severity, with some who stop getting migraine headaches altogether.
Other supplements that have been shown to be beneficial in headache relief include riboflavin and coenzyme Q10. Riboflavin is commonly known as vitamin B2 and is found in many of the enriched foods that you eat, such as breads and cereals. However, several clinical trials have found that by taking a supplement in the amount of 400 mg., almost 60% of the headache sufferers tested experienced at least a 50% improvement. Coenzyme Q10 has not had as many studies performed but some small trials have shown that taking a supplement of 100 mg three times daily can reduce the frequency of headaches.
The next time you get a headache, maybe you should reach for the ice pack instead of the pill bottle? If you have frequent headaches, especially migraines, see if taking a good magnesium supplement helps you.
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