Treating Tension Headaches

The tension headache is one that nearly all of us will experience at least one time.  That dull, achy feeling that hurts both sides of our head.  It also may involve tight feelings in the muscles in the neck and shoulders.

It begins slowly and gradually builds up and normally begins in the middle of the day.  That is when tension and stress begin to build up and take over your body.  This tension, or stress headache can be mild but occasionally be severe.

If you think you are having a tension headache, you should contact your doctor.  Your doctor will want a description of your pain, when it happens and how often.  Tests may be ordered.  They include blood tests, CT scan, and in some cases an MRI might be indicated. 

Once you have a diagnosis of tension or stress headache, your doctor may advise you to treat it with over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol, Motrin, or Aspirin.  Always check labels to be sure the nonprescription medicines will not interact with any prescribed medications you are taking.

Do not over medicate on over-the-counter medications.  If they are not helping the pain, see your doctor again.


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Chronic Tension Headache Treatment

Out of the different types of headaches, tension headaches are considered to be the least debilitating and usually involve over-the-counter pain killers, coping with stress and home remedies. Migraine and cluster headaches are a far bigger drain on energy and vitality.

There are conditions when tension headaches can become a source of greater misery. The fact is that tension headaches are often underestimated as there is apparently no serious condition behind it. Continued stress and over-reliance on analgesics that leads to resistance to the drug often turn an acute tension headache into a chronic condition.

Studies reveal that nearly 66% of tension headache patients have pain for as much as 25 days a month with some experiencing it practically every day. Migraine attacks are usually acute and when it is over, the pain too is gone. Chronic tension headaches may persist over protracted periods and greatly interfere with normal work schedules, sometime even more than migraine.

Amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant drug and Mirtazapine, an antidepressant with a tetracyclic structure form the basis of pharmacological therapy. While the first has serious side effects and interferes with other medications, the second is virtually without any side effects except drowsiness and weight gain.


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Pain Management and Alternative Medicine

Acute and chronic pain effects over 100 million people in the United States each year. While pain is best known and characterized as subjective, meaning only the person who is experiencing it can explain what it feels like, pain is often called the Universal equalizer.

Pain affects people differently. What may be perceived as only a minor nuisance to one person, may be completely debilitating to someone else. Pain is a warning that something isn’t quite right. Pain is not a disease in itself but the result of an underlying condition or due to injury. Pain is not just a physical sensation or psychological event, but a combination of these and other components.

Pain can be caused by a variety of situations such as accidents, musculoskeletal disorders, improper lifting, bending, sports activities, misalignment of the vertebrae of the spine and disease. It can also appear out of nowhere with no obvious cause. A viral illness may possibly be a cause, or emotional trauma, such as fear or resentment. n the vast majority of cases, pain is caused by stasis of blood and or our body’s energy resulting in muscle spasm, trauma and immobility.


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10 Spiritual Tools for Coping with Chronic Pain

By Maureen Pratt - http://www.beliefne...hronicpaintools.html

Chronic pain can make us feel isolated and helpless, especially if its cause is an illness or physical condition for which there’s no cure or effective medical treatment. At times of deepest despair, finding ways to nurture our spirits can help us not only cope with the pain, but also discover nuggets of grace, comfort, and productivity that can move us through and beyond the helplessness and hopelessness we feel. Here are ten spiritual tools that can help you get started toward peace in spite of and in the midst of pain.

Maureen Pratt is a speaker and author who focuses on spirituality, faith and wellness. Her most recent book is “Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain & Illness” (Doubleday Religion). Her website is www.maureenpratt. com.

Find Quiet

When we are in great pain, finding true peace and comfort is not easy. But it is possible, if we first try to still our worries and fears, both external and internal. Finding a place where there are no noisy distractions is a great start. Enjoying the outward quiet, we can then calm our inner selves and nurture peace within.


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Reader Tips for Coping With Chronic Pain

Living with chronic pain means developing lots of little tricks and practices that help bring into every day a sense of calm, well-being, and, hopefully, release from pain. With suggestions ranging from attitude adjustments to food choices to holistic healing techniques, Beliefnet’s readers have shared these eight tips for living a full life even when pain rears its head.

Surround Yourself with Joy

I try to surround myself with people who are enthusiastic and upbeat to combat any depression that may try to set in. Also, I have lost a lot of weight so that I don’t have the extra weight to carry around.
–suzielyn_2007

Write it Out, Ask for Help

Journal writing is so therapeutic, I write until my hands hurt from typing so much. I’ve also found that there is no shame in asking for help. At one time I thought I knew everything, could fix anything, no problem. But then I let my pain dictate my days, weeks, and every waking moment. I will not live like that anymore; I don’t have to.
–midwestma

Do Your Homework


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Help for a Degenerative Disc…

Question: from Sherry

COULD YOU TELL ME OF ANY PRODUCTS TO HELP DEGENERATIVE DISK? COULD IT BE CURED? MY SISTER IS 30 AND FOUND OUT SHE HAS THIS.

Answer: from Joanna (Medical Nutritionist for Xtend-Life Natural Supplements)

Degenerative disc disease can have a few degrees of severity depending at what stage it is at.

A healthy disc has a great deal of water in the centre portion. The water content gives the nucleus a spongy quality and allows it to absorb spinal stress.

Loss of water content causes the discs to lose some of their ability to act as cushions. This can lead to stress and tears on the disc. As the nucleus loses its water content, it collapses. Without the cushion effect of the discs, the vertebrae in your spine would not be able to absorb stresses or provide the movement needed to bend and twist.

This results in a narrowing of the disc space between the two vertebrae. As this shift occurs, the facet joints (located at the back of the spine) are forced to shift. Shifting changes the way the facet joints work together and can cause problems as well.


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Exercises for Back Pain

Exercise is very important on so many levels.

Proper alignment of the head over the shoulders over the hips over the knees over the feet, are imperative in maintaining a pain-free body. Firm abdominal muscles help to keep the back straight and strong. Bad posture habits can lock your muscles into positions you are not even aware your body is taking which can put unwanted strain on the lower back.

Exercise conditioning and stretching can improve certain pains with stretching such as painful, stiff muscles and joints by increasing blood flow to these areas. Weight baring exercises are beneficial for improving strength and bone density. Restoring movement and normal function to an injured area is critical. Learn to stretch to improve your flexibility.

Exercise increases the output of endorphins, which are hormones your body produces to fight pain.

Serotonin is a hormone that assists the flexibility of our blood vessels. Exercise increases the brain’s supply of serotonin. This is important because when blood vessels are flexible, they are less likely to cause pain or irritation. Serotonin also improves mood, helps regulate sleep cycles and fights the pain response in the brain. It fights pain by blocking the brain’s perception of pain.


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My Aching Head

by Dr. David Ramaley

We have all suffered a headache at some time or another. Over the last several years, new research has shown that there are basically two types of headaches: mechanical and vascular.

Mechanical headaches come about because of joint and muscle dysfunction in the neck. There are seven vertebrae in your neck, making up many different joints. There are also numerous muscles and ligaments in the same area. These anatomical structures are full of nerves that transmit pain into the spinal cord and then up to a part of your brain called the trigeminocervical area. This area of your brain receives pain signals from your neck and the head itself. Thus, whether the source of pain is your head or your neck, your brain doesn’t distinguish between the two, and you get a “headache.”

Chiropractors, as well as other healthcare practitioners, have known for years that when a joint or muscle becomes restricted, it becomes inflamed and sends a message of pain to the brain. Causes of joint restriction can be poor posture, extended use of the computer, stress and lack of exercise. Stress increases muscle tension and restriction of blood flow to the head.


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Headache Cures

excerpt from Travelers Joy p. 102-103 by Juliette de Bairacli Levy

For a headache, make a strong brew of wild or garden mint (not peppermint). Take strong drinks of this frequently. Apply the mint cold on cotton cloths to the entire forehead, and bandage lightly in place. Or pound up a handful of lavender sprigs, wild or garden, and infuse them into vinegar for several hours.

Then apply this lavender vinegar to the forehead, using cotton cloths in the same way as the mint brew. Apply also to the wrists and to the nose. A few drops can be taken internally on a lump of sugar, three times daily. Mint vinegar can be made if lavender is not available.

Treat very severe headaches as an illness, and rest in a darkened room and follow a diet of fresh fruits only until the headache is cured. To induce sleep, make a strong tea of wild poppy flowers or heads, and take with honey. Or a tea of lime blossoms or hops or cowslips (can be used alone or mixed) all sweetened with honey.


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Harnessing hot peppers’ burn to ease surgical pain

WASHINGTON (AP) — Devil’s Revenge. Spontaneous Combustion. Hot sauces have names like that for a reason. Now scientists are testing whether the stuff that makes the sauces so savage also can tame the pain of surgery.

Chili peppers have been part of folk remedy for centuries, and capsaicin creams are a drugstore staple.

Doctors are dripping the chemical that gives chili peppers their fire directly into open wounds during knee replacement and a few other highly painful operations.

Don’t try this at home: These experiments use an ultra-purified version of capsaicin to avoid infection — and the volunteers are under anesthesia so they don’t scream at the initial burn.

How could something searing possibly soothe? Bite a hot pepper, and after the burn your tongue goes numb.

The hope is that bathing surgically exposed nerves in a high enough dose will numb them for weeks, so that patients suffer less pain and require fewer narcotic painkillers as they heal.

“We wanted to exploit this numbness,” is how Dr. Eske Aasvang, a pain specialist in Denmark who is testing the substance, puts it.

Chili peppers have been part of folk remedy for centuries, and heat-inducing capsaicin creams are a drugstore staple for aching muscles.


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