Saturday, January 02, 2010

What a pain!

(written on New Year's Day)
Started off the new year with a sinus headache. Not fun. I was determined to avoid taking any ibuprofen last night but realized upon waking that I had ignored what I know to do with my headaches - the faster I make the pain go away the more likely I won't get a migraine If I don't do this, the headache escalates into pain which often feels unmanageable and makes me unable to get up and move around . My doctor explained to me that you can imagine pain like a bull's eye. The outer layers are more mild and the pain progresses slowly (the pain is easier to stop in this beginning stage). But, once the headache moves into that deeper layer of pain, the intensity is like wildfire and its rage takes longer to stop.
A few things that help - and maybe these tips can help you:

1) In Chinese medicine a headache means there's heat excess heat, so you can ice the neck or temples while putting your feet in a hot epsom salt bath. I straight up sit in the dark, on my bathroom counter, with my feet in the hot water bath in the sink! I also put a cooling tincture made up of peppermint, spearmint and eucalyptus oil (on my temples and back of neck).

2) Exercise! When I start breathing more deeply, it seems that more oxygen gets to my brain and somehow that makes me feel better.

3) Magnesium. You often see Calcium/Magnesium grouped together. Calcium tonifies while Magnesium relaxes the muscles. I personally take a Magnesium (only) powder made by Natural Calm (mix and dissolve with hot water). This drink taken before bed is amazing at calming nerves and helping to fall asleep. You'll see why it's called the Anti-Stress drink!

4) This is for acute pain and is a MIRACLE. It works for anything and will take about 10 minutes to work. You take 2 ibuprofen, wait 10 minutes and drink coffee, followed by 2 tylenol. Make sure you have something to eat as you don't want to take ibuprofen on an empty stomach. Sometimes the pain is bad enough where I can't make or go out for coffee, so I have some green tea instead. It's not as effective for me, but I think that's because my headaches tend to be tension headaches vs traditional migraines. Tension headaches are often eased by dilating the blood vessles so that the blood gets moving (and I believe coffee constricts more than other caffeine - or maybe it's just that I like coffee more!). You can also use this acute pain of any kind.

So there you have it. Time to get healthy. Happy New Year!

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