How to Relieve Your Chronic Headaches with Better Nutrition

In my years in practice, I’ve treated plenty of patients with headaches. In that time, I’ve learned that there can be many reasons for chronic headaches. So many of these headaches can be addressed without drugs or surgery, which is great news. 

Of course, chiropractic is a great solution for headaches but some people need a deeper look at nutritional causes for their headaches. Because I have extra training in nutrition and years of experience helping my patients with nutritional counseling, I’ve found that this is a very useful tool when it comes to resolving the reasons for chronic headaches. 

Effective Headache Solutions

  1. Avoid dehydration. This is especially important in hot weather or when exercising vigorously. Keep yourself hydrated and include electrolytes like salt and potassium. When you are dehydrated, even slightly, your brain contracts, which causes it to pull away from the skull slightly. Understandably, this abnormal condition causes pain! Drink water, low-sugar juices, or sports drinks. Letting yourself get seriously dehydrated can be life-threatening and require emergency medical care. 
  2. Limit drinks with caffeine or alcohol. Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which means they cause your body to eliminate more water than usual. Limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption helps avoid those dehydration headaches.
  3. Avoid preservatives in your foods. Many preservatives have toxic effects, especially for sensitive individuals. If you have chronic headaches, start looking for sources of MSG, sulfites, sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, propylene glycol, sodium benzoate and tannin (found in red wine). A tip to help you avoid them is to look for short ingredient lists in your foods with substances you can recognize.
  4. Try to eliminate pesticides from your environment. You may encounter pesticides in pet treatments, antibacterial cleaners, lice treatments, weed killers, insect repellents and, of course, bug sprays, foggers and traps. 
  5. Address food allergies. In this case, the headache is caused by a person’s immune system attacking a substance that it misidentifies as a threat to the body. To a certain degree, you may be able to eliminate some foods you are allergic or sensitive to on your own, simply by noticing what you have just eaten before you get a headache. With a little trial and error, you might be able to exclude foods that trigger headaches. Very often, the culprits are wheat and dairy. However, most people do better and get faster results when they find a practitioner with good training in nutrition. 
  6. Avoid drops in blood sugar. While most people eat meals on a regular schedule, some people get busy or have weight concerns and skip meals. If they are prone to erratic levels of blood sugar, this can easily start to trigger chronic headaches. 

Identifying the Cause of Headaches

In some cases, you might be able to identify the cause of your headache by its symptoms. Here are some of the signs for the causes I’ve just listed.

Dehydration headache: Pulsating ache on both sides of the head that gets worse with exercise, accompanied by thirst, lack of urination, dark urine, fatigue, and confusion. 

Preservative headache: Sulfites and tannin can trigger migraines. Nitrites and nitrates can cause vascular headaches, with sensitivity to light and sound, pounding on one side of the head, and lightheadedness. 

Pesticide headache: The exact symptoms depend on which pesticide one is exposed to. In general, there may be a headache accompanied by dizziness, fatigue, blurred vision, sweating, watery eyes, intestinal upsets, salivation, or skin irritation.

Food allergy headache: These may include migraines, tension headaches, and cluster headaches and so many have many different symptoms. The headache may be accompanied by a runny nose, fatigue, drowsiness, and digestive problems. 

Low blood sugar headache: Dull, throbbing ache around the temples. May include nausea or migraine.

Resolving Headaches

If you’ve received chiropractic care before, then you probably know that chiropractic is effective in resolving many headaches. As you can see here, sometimes we have to look further than the skeletomuscular and nervous systems for additional reasons a person has a headache. A lack of vital nutrients or exposure to toxins can throw off either of these systems with the result that you wind up with headaches. 

By combining nutritional counseling with a little detective work to find the causes above, and with chiropractic care, we can get excellent results for patients with headaches. If you live near me, I hope you’ll come to my office and let me use my training and experience in chiropractic and nutrition to help you eliminate headaches. If you don’t, then I recommend you find a chiropractor who is also well-trained in nutrition. 

In my office, I also employ Pressure Point Therapy to help patients with headaches resolve pain, which helps them relax and recover. As you can see, there are so many ways I can help you feel healthy and pain-free. If you’re suffering from any pain or headaches or if it’s time for a tuneup, I hope to see you in my office soon.

Give us a call at (314) 635-1008 to schedule an appointment.

By Mattingly Chiropractic, July 27, 2022