Sleep Disorders, Stress | November 13, 2019 | Author: Naturopath
Are you a stress-head and suffering with tension headaches. Tention headaches, also known as stress headaches, are a common occurance in adulthood and often - due to stress! Stress headaches are described as a dull pain and a feeling of tightness or pressure across the forehead, back of neck or head.
If these headaches are frequent (more than 15 days per month), they are known as chronic tension headaches. They may last for days, come and go, with the pain usually always there in various degrees of intensity.
Less frequent ones (less than 15 per month) are known as episodic tension headaches. These build up slowly and often occur around the middle of the day.
Tension headaches should not interfer with normal activity. They should not affect vision, balance or strength. If a headache has this affect – it could be an indicator of something more serious and medical help should be sort. A tension headache differs from a migraine in that there no nerve symptoms such as blurred vision, muscle weakness, strong sensitivity to noise and light, nausea or vomiting.
Pain occurs from irritation or inflammation of the structures of your head.
These might include muscles nerves of the head and neck; the arteries which lead to the brain; membranes of the ear, nose and throat and the air-filled cavities (sinuses) of the head.
A headache happens when pain receptors in the head or neck are stimulated
There is often not one clear cause for a tension headache, but stress and muscle tension are the usual culprits.
Other reasons might include changes in medication or reduction in the body’s own natural pain-relieving chemicals, called endorphins; jaw and dental problems; posture and sleep disruptions; dehydration and diet.
Stress can be described as physical, mental or emotional responses and includes any change that requires an alteration or response by the body.
Stress is a normal part of life and can come occur from environmental, physical body and mental experiences. This might include such things as weather changes, dehydration, hunger, food sensitivities, hormonal changes, lack of exercise and the emotional or physical demands from family, work or lifestyle.
It is important for to recognise when we are stressed and to have strategies to keep it in check for our overall wellbeing.
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Poor posture can put strain on the muscles of the back and neck.
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Dehydration can be a cause headache but drinking water may alleviate a headache within 30 minutes - 3 hours. Remember to hydrate throughout the day by drinking water and including plenty of fruit and green vegetables in the diet.
Too much or too little can cause problems including headaches. Sugar can have an effect on the brain and nervous system and is a vital component of the chemistry of the body. Sugar, when consumed becomes glucose, enters the blood and is broken down by insulin to be used for energy.
Avoid sugar hits. Eat a regular, balance diet to maintain balanced glucose and insulin levels.
Meal replacements/protein shakes. No time to eat – using a meal replacement in the form of a dietary shake can offer a quick solution to a busy life.
Most adults require approximately 8 hours sleep. Poor quality sleep can reduce the ability to handle stress, increase sensitivity to pain, emotional distress and mood disorders, and impair cognitive, memory, and performance.
Establish a regular sleep pattern to support your circadian rhythm – going to bed (sleep) at the same time and rising at the same time. Remove electronic devises from the sleep routine.
Avoid stimulating foods and drink in the evening – this includes caffeine and alcohol (whilst alcohol can help initially with sleep, it can disrupt the correct sleep cycle and poor-quality sleep – and result in dehydration (as does caffeine-based drinks).
*Dehydration can be responsible for headaches
Magnesium is a known as the great relaxer. It is natural muscle relaxant and supports nerve transmission. It can help with improve fasting blood glucose and insulin sensitivity. Help reduce muscle tightness and reduce nervous tension.
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Vitamin B complex – can help support the nervous system and energy. The B group vitamins work individually and as a group, and with other in concert with other vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. They are water-soluble and are needed regularly to support many functions in the body.
Herbs can help support the body through times of stress
Rhodiola rosea (Rhodiola) root – endurance and performance
Withania somnifera (Winter cherry) root – restores vitality
Rehmannia glutinosa (Rehmannia) root - supports adrenal function
Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice) root – adrenal tonic
Herbs can help relief sleeplessness, and promote a restful sleep by helping with anxiety and relaxation
Ziziphus jujube (Ziziphus) seed – relieves sleeplessness
Magnolia officinalis (Magnolia) inner stem bark - relief of mild anxiety
Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower) herb flowering and fruiting – nervous stress
Eschscholzia californica (Californian poppy) herb – sedating and relief of nervous tension
Salix alba (white willow) offers analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties
Curcuma longa, root and rhizome (curcumin) – anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
Harpagophytum procumbens (devils’ claw) muscle pain and tightness
Essential oils of lavender and peppermint can be inhaled and applied topically to the temples and neck to help reduce headaches. Lavender essential oil is noted as an anxiolytic and mood stabilizer, anti-spasmodic and analgesic. Peppermint essential oil is useful for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antispasmodic properties. Rosemary oil may work as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic, and help with circulation.
Frequent tension headaches could be an indication of imbalance in blood sugar, dehydration, sleep dysfunction or a body not coping well with stress – or a combination of some or all of these things. Taking time out to address possible contributors and adjusting lifestyle may help reduce the number an intensity of tension headaches.
Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4586582/
Chapter 12 - Triggers of migraine and tension-type headache https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0072975210970127
Water, Hydration and Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/
Sleep disturbance and affective comorbidity among episodic migraineurs. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23808359
Short- and long-term health consequences of sleep disruption https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5449130/
Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22517298
Effects of lavender on anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31655395
Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001033#bib61
Rosmarinus officinalis essential oil: A review of its phytochemistry, anti-inflammatory activity, and mechanisms of action involved. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30287195
Fisher, Carole; 2009, MATERIA MEDICA OF WESTERN HERBS, Vitex Medica, New Zealand.
Henry, Osiecki; The Nutrient Bible 9th Edition, Bio Concepts, AG Publishing; QLD, Australia