WASHINGTON — Few things in life are more frustrating than headaches that just won’t go away. And when headaches become persistent, they can be debilitating.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything when it comes to getting rid of frequent headaches, Dr. Mehmet Oz, of the “Dr. Oz Show,” has some suggestions on finding relief.
Change Your Diet
Many people associate headaches with stress, and even attribute migraines to genetics, but Dr. Oz says often times there is a deeper trigger. “Because headaches are a warning to us that something’s not right,” he says.
And what you put in your mouth has a lot to do with how your head feels.
“Subtle changes in food will affect how resistant we are to getting aches and pains, and [the aches and pains] particularly manifest in the head,” Dr. Oz says.
Dairy and gluten are two common food triggers that cause headaches, he says: “These two put together, you end up with a lot of folks who probably could do better than they are currently doing if they just adjusted their diet. …
“You think stress is having to pay a bill or being late for work; the real stress is when there is something in your intestine that several trillion bacteria are fighting to digest. Your body senses that and starts to release chemicals that ultimately result in things like headaches, and particularly things like migraine headaches.”
Caffeine is the third common food-related cause for headaches. Dr. Oz encourages those with frequent headaches to start by eliminating caffeine from their diets.
“If you just go for literally one day without having that caffeine hit in the morning, you’ll be able to get past the up-and-down, oscillating scenario that so many people spend their day suffering through,” he says.
If headaches persist, Dr. Oz says to begin a very basic program to limit wheat and dairy to see if the headaches diminish.
Relax and Realign
It may sound like a quick and easy solution, but another remedy for a nagging headache is a hot bath with Epsom salts and a massage roller on your neck and back.
“So many of our headaches are actually related to muscular-skeletal discomfort, from the way we hold our head and our posture — if we could, at least, relax our muscles, then we could avoid that,” Dr. Oz says.
Think of your head as a bowling ball, he says. If you held a bowling ball where your belly button is, you could hold it there for a long time. However, if you hold the bowling ball way out in front of you, it’s much harder for your arm to hold the ball there for a sustained amount of time.
“If your head is leaning forward off your spine, then those muscles have to pull that 14-pound skull back into alignment all the time, which is, over time, exhausting,” Dr. Oz says.
Avoid Saturated Fats
Dr. Oz says he’s noticed saturated fats tend to worsen menopausal systems in women — including the headaches that go along with it. He describes saturated fats as fats that “come from things with faces, like animals.”
“You want to cut down on those and see if that helps you with the headaches,” he says.
Instead, opt for the Omega-3 or monounsaturated fats, such as fish oils, nut oils and olive oils, which have anti-inflammatory properties.