LIFESTYLE

Doctor Reveals How To Stop Headaches Forever

09/04/2014 11:51 BST | Updated 09/04/2014 11:59 BST
Nisian Hughes via Getty Images

If you're anything like us here at HuffPost UK Lifestyle, you have a permanent stash of paracetamol stashed in your drawer.

But according to Robin Berzin, a medicine physician practicing at The Morrison Center in New York City, there are ways to eliminate your headaches permanently.

Blogging on Mind Body Green, Berzin writes that she identifies five different reasons for headaches - or persisting headaches that arrive without explanation.

One is food sensitivities, which she says: "For some people, cleaning out their diet and eliminating inflammatory foods can clear up frequent headaches almost overnight. The most common food culprits are sugar, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, processed foods that contain dyes and artificial preservatives, dairy, and gluten."

Dr McDougall who deals with migraine patients agrees, adding: Foods, I believe, are the most common causes of headaches. Some of these headaches develop as a result of allergic reactions to components in your diet. Most encouraging is the finding that between 70% and 90% of long-term migraine patients can be freed of their headaches in less than two weeks, once they identify and eliminate the offending foods."

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Foods That Soothe Headaches

Berzin also talks about stress - and how this can affect you emotionally and physically. Writing on Web MD, Joanne Barker quoted Esther Sternberg, MD, director of the Integrative Neural Immune Program at the National Institute of Mental Health as saying: “Most people think of stress as a bad thing that happens to them."

However, while you may not be able to quit your stressful job or solve your problems at home, you do have control over how you perceive stress, which in turn modulates your response to it. If, for instance, you're stressed at work, don't just keep going and staring at your screen, take a break even if it's for five minutes.

This then brings us to Berzin's third point: musculoskeletal tension, which is caused by sitting at a desk or doing repetitive motions for too long.

"First," she advises, "get up and go for a five minute walk outside or around your office every hour. This will not only stimulate your metabolism, it will give your muscles a chance to relax and reset."

Apart from sitting down too much, there may be other things outside of your control such as your genetics and hormones. Hormones in particular, if off balance, can cause headaches, she says.

This can mean raised levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) for both sexes and for women - joy - this can especially happen around the time of their period.

The NHS says: "According to Dr Anne MacGregor at the National Migraine Centre, more than half of women who get migraines notice a link with their periods. These so-called menstrual migraines tend to be particularly severe.

“Migraine is most likely to develop in either the two days leading up to a period, or the first three days during a period. This is because of the natural drop in oestrogen levels at these times. The attacks are typically more severe than migraines at other times of the month and are more likely to come back the next day,” she says."

One of the best ways of figuring out if your headaches are triggered by hormones is to keep a self-help diary.