It’s fall again. The trees in New York State are already changing colors, sweaters are out and the temperature has dropped by at least 20 degrees from where it was only a few weeks ago. I was just in Los Angeles for another episode of “Home & Family” to share some simple tips on eliminating chronic, tension headaches and migraines.
Good news, some simple daily steps can reduce your risk of having tension headaches during the fall months and beyond.
Although it’s my favorite time of year, my office also gets inundated with migraine sufferers as well as tension and seasonal headaches. Why does the fall impact our head with a splitting, pounding, achy feeling in the fall? Well, a number of factors have been linked to migraines and many can be avoided to reduce your chances of suffering from an extreme headache or migraine.
One simple thing, sort of, is committing to frequent, small intakes of water
Even for those who don’t suffer from debilitating headaches, sipping water frequently is better for cell stability, nutrient transportation, and overall digestion. Many people guzzle water with their pills in the morning but could then go two or three hours without so much as an ounce of water. This can alter metabolism, and your overall wellbeing. Try putting a straw in your water because you will be more apt to take a small sip more often.
There are a lot of foods and fluids you might want to consider taking out of your diet if you are noticing frequent and unwanted head pressure. Things that increase your risk of a headache and fluctuations in parasympathetic, sympathetic, and sensory activation and regulation of the sphenopalatine ganglion—a collection of nerve cells deep in the midface associated with headache disorders can be avoided if you really want to reduce headaches. Drinking alcohol, late day caffeine or excessive intake of caffeine, MSG, aspartame, and even some types of cheeses (it’s speculated mold related issues of cheese may be the culprit) can increase your risk of headaches.
Watch your breathing
Frequently, the phrenic nerve is inhibited or altered in its communication to the diaphragm in clients with migraines. They tend to develop a reversed breathing pattern, where inhaling causes the belly to draw in and upward, and the exhale bears pressure down and out. This is the opposite of normal breathing patterns.
One way to affect the phrenic nerve and ideally the communication of the brain and diaphragm is to try the Rebalance Sequence from MELT. The two key rebalance moves are called the 3D breath breakdown (expanding the diaphragm consciously in 2-directions at a time), and the 3D Breath (focused full inhalation into all 6 sides of the torso and actively forcing exhalation to activate the reflexive mechanisms of the Neurocore consciously). This sequence can both aid in reducing the severity of a migraine as well as avoiding them from day to day. It’s a great preventative care sequence to use daily.
Treat yourself with the MELT Soft Ball
Another way to indirectly reduce the severity and prevent tension headaches is the MELT Soft Ball Hand Treatments, one move in particular that is specific to the trigeminal nerve endings is Knuckle Decompression. This move requires the small soft ball between the finger webbing. Squeeze the ball like a Thigh Master device is the image I always use. Gently squeezing the ball 5-8 times between each webbing can immediately reduce the severity of head tension and it also helps reduce inflammation in the hands.
The most important things you can actively do to support ideal head pressure:
1. Eat a low sugar diet but don’t skip meals or go hungry as the fluctuations in blood sugar can also cause a headache to spike midday.
2. Get to bed at the same time each night if possible and sleep in a dark room or use an eye mask. This can boost your REM and deep sleep cycle offering you more balanced energy during your active hours of the day.
3. Sip water frequently. Don’t guzzle water intermittently. It’s best to keep level hydration throughout the day.
4. Try the Rebalance Sequence techniques before bedtime to improve your sleep cycle and get to sleep faster.
5. Use the hand treatment techniques in the middle of the day to reduce the accumulation of stress caused by our repetitive postures and movements we do from day to day.
Migraine triggers are present in 76 percent of migraineurs with the following endorsed by migraineurs with triggers in one study: stress, 89 percent; female hormones, 65 percent; not eating, 57 percent; weather, 53 percent; physical exhaustion or traveling, 53 percent; sleep disturbance, 50 percent; perfume or odor, 44 percent; bright lights, 38 percent; neck pain; 38 percent; alcohol, 38 percent; smoke, 36 percent; sleeping late, 32 percent; heat, 30 percent, food, 27 percent; and exercise, 22 percent.
Kelman L. The triggers or precipitants of the acute migraine attack. Cephalalgia. 2007;27:394-402.