To Your Health
February, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 02)
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Depending on your particular type of headache, your chiropractor may choose to utilize any or all of these treatment options, along with specific spinal adjustments. So put down the pain-relief medications and take a natural, drug-free approach to getting rid of those nagging headaches.

Diet/nutrition: Evidence suggests combinations of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may reduce the severity, frequency and duration of migraines, while magnesium supplementation may reduce both the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. High doses of vitamin B2 (called riboflavin) also may reduce the number and strength of migraines.

Good sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fats are fish, fish oil supplements, and flaxseed oil, while magnesium can be found in dark green vegetables, nuts and seeds, and soy flour. Supplementation is probably necessary to ensure high intake of vitamin B2; however, good food sources include poultry and fish.

Exercise: Regular exercise relaxes your muscles and increases levels of beta-endorphin, one of the body's natural stress relievers. Less stress and more relaxation certainly can't hurt when you're dealing with headache pain.

Herbs: Extracts of feverfew, a small bush with citrus-scented leaves, have been used for years to control migraines. The active components in feverfew have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties; less inflammation, particularly of blood vessels, may mean less headaches. These extracts also can be found in a spray. Ask your doctor before taking feverfew if you are pregnant or may become pregnant.

Special Pillows/Mattresses: You spend as much as one-third of your life in bed. Your pillow and mattress have the potential to aggravate the alignment of your spine and create stiffness in your muscles. Poor mattresses and pillows can result in neck pain and headaches. Your doctor can recommend pillows and mattresses that will give your head, neck and spine the support they need.

Julie Engebretson is a freelance writer for To Your Health. She currently resides in New York City.