Headaches & Treatments

Self-Care For Secondary Headaches

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Self-care for secondary type headaches. Different types of headaches range from mild to excruciating, and the frequency of occurrence also varies from person to person. Headaches are classified into three types that are primary, secondary, and nerve pain headaches. Primary are tension, migraine, and cluster headaches. Nerve pain headaches are also called cranial neuralgia headaches. This is when one or more cranial nerves that run down the neck from the brain become inflamed, causing pain and discomfort. Secondary headaches are a symptom of a bodily reaction or an injury. These types of headaches can be caused by:

  • Sinus problems
  • Allergies
  • Physical exertion
  • Dehydration
  • Caffeine
  • Hormones
  • Medications
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Concussion
  • Trauma

Sinus Headaches

These can be caused by a sinus infection. If pain presents in the upper teeth, a fever, and yellow or green nasal discharge, this could mean an infection. A doctor can help with some antibiotics. For individuals that regularly get sinus headaches from changes in air pressure or other causes, here are a few self-care techniques:

Hot Shower

  • Steam can help drain the sinuses. Take a hot shower or hold your head over a pot of steaming water.

Nasal Irrigation and Neti Pots

  • This ancient remedy comes from India. The concept is simple; the teapot has a long spout that goes inside one nostril. The water/saline solution will go through the sinuses and come out the other nostril draining the nose and relieving the pressure.

Hot and Cold Compresses

  • Individuals can find relief by alternating between hot and cold compresses placed on the forehead. This reduces swelling and allows the sinuses to drain.

Eucalyptus Oil

  • This powerful oil from Eucalyptus leaves helps clear up sinuses. It can be done by smelling a few drops placed on a cloth for 10 minutes or placing a drop or two in hot water and breathe in the steam.

Allergy Headaches

Allergies are a common cause of headaches. Self-care can include:

Nitrates and Nitrites Avoidance

  • These are common food preservatives in processed types of meat like bacon, hot dogs, and sausages. It is a preservative, but many individuals can have an allergic reaction that causes headaches instead of hives.

Avoid Powerful Smells and Odors

This can be difficult with all the smells wafting around but try to pay attention to the surrounding smells as any could cause an allergic reaction. Strong odors can include:

  • Cleaning products
  • Nail polish
  • Perfume
  • Hair spray
  • Paint
  • Cigarette smoke

Elimination Diet

Food allergies often result in digestive problems, hives, and swollen airways but can also cause headaches. Even individuals that are not allergic to the food itself could be sensitive to other items like artificial colors or preservatives. The most common food items that cause headaches include:

  • Cheese
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruit
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol

Consulting with a health coach and/or nutritionist can help to create a customized meal plan.

Exertion Headaches

Exertion headaches can be produced by physical activity/exercise or strain. They usually begin with throbbing pain on both sides of the head and cause a red face or complexion. They can be caused by:

  • Prolonged physical activities, exercise.
  • Strenuous activity at work lifting objects or weights.
  • Self-care for stopping an exertion headache includes:

Cooling Down

  • An exertion headache is the body’s way of saying that it has overextended its ability.
  • Drinking some cool water
  • Take a break for 20-30 minutes.

Avoid Headache Triggers

  • Try to stay aware when these headaches present and pay attention to see if there is a trigger.
  • This can be caused by dehydration
  • Not enough sleep.

Chiropractic and Physical Therapy

These types of headaches can also be caused by incorrect posture when working or exercising.

  • Lifting heavy weights or running with the head too far forward or back limits blood flow, causing muscle tension.
  • A chiropractor adjusts the spine and whole-body
  • Educate on core strengthening exercises and proper form.

Caffeine Headache

Caffeine narrows the blood vessels that surround the brain. When an individual stops consumption, the blood vessels enlarge. This causes an increase in blood flow and pressures on the brain’s surrounding nerves. This can trigger a caffeine withdrawal headache. Self-care includes:

Peppermint or Lavender Oil

  • Massaging a drop of oil into the temples can open up the blood vessels and relieve the pressure.

Ice Packs

  • Applying an ice pack to the back of the neck can stop a caffeine headache.

Taking a Nap

  • Lying down and taking a nap for 30-60 minutes can help bring relief.
  • Alternate decaf coffee with regular coffee.

Hormone Headache

Estrogen levels can affect various areas of a woman’s body, including headaches. Headaches experienced just before or in the first days of a menstrual cycle are known as menstrual migraines. Headaches that start when ovulating are called hormone headaches. Self-care can include:

Yoga

  • Practicing yoga can help prevent headaches from occurring.

Sleep

  • 7-9 hours of sleep are recommended every night to allow the body to flush out old hormones and create new ones.
  • This can help prevent a hormone overload.

Massage

Stress leads to headaches.

  • Massage therapy is highly recommended to reduce stress and keep the body loose and relaxed.

Changing Birth Control Pills

Certain types of birth control pills can have more side effects than others, including headaches.

  • Ask a doctor about switching to another type to see if it helps.

Body Composition


Master Cleanse Diet

The Master Cleanse Diet is a prescriptive program that focuses on a specific food or drink regimen. This diet is intended to last around two weeks and relies on:

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  • Drinking a water mixture
  • Lemon juice
  • Maple syrup
  • Cayenne pepper
  • A salt-water flush can also be incorporated.
References

Bryans, Roland et al. “Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache.” Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics vol. 34,5 (2011): 274-89. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.04.008

Chaibi, Aleksander, and Michael Bjørn Russell. “Manual therapies for primary chronic headaches: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.” The journal of headache and pain vol. 15,1 67. 2 Oct. 2014, doi:10.1186/1129-2377-15-67

Green, Mark W. “Secondary headaches.” Continuum (Minneapolis, Minn.) vol. 18,4 (2012): 783-95. doi:10.1212/01.CON.0000418642.53146.17

Post Disclaimer & Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Self-Care For Secondary Headaches" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.

Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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Dr Alex Jimenez

Welcome-Bienvenido's to our blog. We focus on treating severe spinal disabilities and injuries. We also treat Sciatica, Neck and Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal mobility, health, fitness, and structural conditioning. We use Individualized Diet Plans, Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Adapted Cross-Fit Protocols, and the "PUSH System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. If you would like to learn more about a Doctor of Chiropractic who uses advanced progressive techniques to facilitate complete physical health, please connect with me. We focus on simplicity to help restore mobility and recovery. I'd love to see you. Connect!

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