Under Pressure

Often easy to come by but much harder to shake, June, which is traditionally known as Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, gives us a chance to take a deeper look into the science and solutions associated with these uncanny nuisances.

The Migraine Research Foundation estimates that 27 million American women, more than three times the number of men, suffer from migraines each year. Starting with impulses sent from hyperactive nerve cells to blood vessels, your body experiences migraines when blood vessels clamp down in reaction to these impulses. This is followed by the combined dilation of inflammatory substances activating the pulsation.

A wide range of daily influencers trigger migraines and headaches including anxiety, food additives such as nitrates and MSG, fatigue, and even approaching storm fronts. And while Americans spend an estimated $72.5 billion on painkillers a year to address the acutely sensitive pain, some doctors are now promoting all-natural remedies to deal with the intense pressure.

Sleep on it: Since headaches and migraines are often linked to insufficient sleep, try maintaining a sleep schedule where you get between 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

Eat this, not that: Avoid nitrites and nitrates. This includes processed meats and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Do consider adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, like green leafy vegetables, olive oil, and tofu.

Hydrate often: Plan on drinking at least eight glasses of water a day.

Practice relaxation: This can include taking up yoga or meditation, deep breathing, relaxing to music and using mental imagery.


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