Thursday, March 28, 2013

4 Causes and Cures of Debilitating Headaches

There are three recognized types of headaches that affect over 45 million Americans every year and they include tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches. Many headache sufferers report that they rely on over the counter medications such as Tylenol or Excedrin or a prescription medication from their doctor to relieve their headaches, however these medications simply stop the brain from recognizing pain and DO NOT correct the underlying issue of nerve irritation! So the key point that I want you to take away today is that medication does NOT get rid of the cause of your headache and this is why headaches frequently return. If you want get rid of your headaches you’ll need to identify the true cause of the irritation and work on correcting that issue.

As a Peoria chiropractor, I have found that the underlying cause of EVERY one of these headaches is an underlying nerve irritation which can be due to a mechanical misalignment in the neck, dehydration and toxicity in the body, or hormone imbalance that can trigger or exacerbate these headaches. In some individuals I find that there may be multiple factors that are contributing to their headaches, so a multifaceted whole body approach may be needed to resolve recurrent headaches.

A mechanical misalignment is caused from damage to the joint structure in the neck that can contribute to muscle spasms and nerve irritation. When the joint is damaged the bones misalign, muscles strain or spasm, ligaments can be torn or sprained, and the nerves surrounding the joint can be irritated or compressed. The good news is that the damage is fully reversible but ONLY if you restore the normal joint alignment so that the whole joint structure can heal fully. Chiropractors are the only physicians that have extensive training in identifying and correcting the mechanical misalignment I mentioned above. They utilize specialized chiropractic adjustments to correct the nerve irritation without the use of medication or risky procedures that can result in permanent damage.

Another cause of headaches is dehydration which is the loss of water and electrolytes such as sodium, chloride, and potassium that are needed for the body to maintain healthy function. It is most commonly due to deficient daily water intake that causes blood vessels to narrow which reduces the brain’s supply of blood and oxygen. However the brain is unable to feel pain so headache discomfort results from irritation of the pain receptors lining the skull. As a general rule, it is recommended that you drink half your body weight in ounces of water (for example: If you weight 100 lbs then you should drink 50 oz of water daily).

Toxicity is a commonly overlooked cause of headaches that can result due to the inability of the liver to keep up with detoxifying the body. There are many toxins that we are exposed to on a daily basis from our environment, food and water, and chemicals in our household cleaners and cosmetics. These toxins can cause a number of symptoms that include headaches, decreased energy production, difficulty with weight loss, and general body aches and pains. A full body detoxification, such as the Ultimate Body Cleanse is recommended in this instance to resolve the toxic overload and restore your body’s ability to function.

The last cause I’d like to discuss is the hormonal headache that many women suffer due to hormone changes that occur with their menstrual cycle. Immediately before the start of the menstrual cycle the female hormones estrogen and progesterone drop to their lowest levels while during ovulation these hormones spike to higher levels. These changing hormones can cause constriction and/or dilation of the blood vessels that causes symptoms that mimic tension or migraine headaches. Many conventional doctors and headache specialists often overlook this common headache trigger and don’t offer long term solutions. As a Peoria chiropractor, I am happy to report that a majority of my patients report improvement or disappearance of headaches once they address their hormone imbalance with long term solutions focused on a whole body approach.

If you are suffering from recurrent headaches and have not had long term relief with conventional medical treatments, I’d highly recommend visiting your local Peoria chiropractic office at AlignLife for an integrative approach designed to find and correct the underlying cause of your headaches and they will empower you with proactive techniques to get rid of them for good!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

DIY All Natural Air Fresheners

There are toxic ingredients in the common aerosol and even wax air fresheners that are on the market today. Many of these harsh chemicals can trigger asthma or allergies and can lead to headaches. With the number of toxins in our home environment already, we need a natural alternative that won't break the bank or lead to health problems. I've got the solution so LISTEN UP!

Many of the staples you'd find in your kitchen can be used to brighten your home with delicious scents and even bring a unique blend to any holiday. For this project you'll need some mason jars, variety of herbs, spices, and citrus, and possibly some essential oils to mix for different scents!

Step 1:
To start with you'll need to figure out what scents you think will work best for your home. I've got some suggestions listed below and you can mix and match as much or as little as you want.

       Citrus/Fruits:     Lemon, Lime, Orange, Grapefruit, Cranberry, Strawberry

      Essential Oils/Extracts:     Eucalyptus oil, Almond oil or Almond extract, Vanilla extract, Spearmint oil

     Spices/Herbs:     Basil, Cilantro, Thyme, Rosemary, Pine sprigs, Bay leaves, ground or whole Nutmeg,  
                               ground Cinnamon or Cinnamon sticks, ground or whole Cloves, ground or whole
                               Allspice, Vanilla beans

    Suggested combos:     cilantro lime, lemon basil, lime mint, eucalyptus spearmint, orange cinnamon clove,
                                      pine clove allspice, eucalyptus vanilla, orange vanilla clove

Step 2:
Combine your ingredients. You'll usually want to use approximately 2 cups of citrus/fruit, 2-3 fresh herb sprigs, and 1 tsp of essential oils, extracts, or spices as a guideline but feel free to adjust quantities to mix up the flavor.

Step 3:
Fill the rest of the jar up with water.

Step 4:
Heat it up and let the smell permeate! There are many different ways to heat the mixture up depending on how large of an area you'd like the smell to fill as well as how long you'd like it to stick around. The best and quickest way to fill a large area is with steam from cooking it in a pot on the stove, but you'll really have to be careful that the water doesn't dry up. Some of the slower methods include a crockpot, candle warmer, or a ceramic/glass bowl with a tea light underneath. These are going to release slower smells and won't need constant "babysitting".

You can make them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for quick use. You can reuse each of these mixtures approximately 2-3 times but you might need to add a few more ingredients to refresh the smell the 2nd or 3rd time around. Make sure to store them in the fridge when not in use.