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The headache is one of the most irritating symptoms causing a serious burden on our society. The cost of headache disability is enormous. It has been estimated that headaches have resulted in 74.2 million days of restricted work activity which cost $1.4 billion dollars in lost productivity (Headache 1993).

The quest of dealing with and getting rid of your headache is most important. The best place to start is to determine if you suffer from a migraine or tension headache. Generally, migraines have a severe throbbing pain which may last from minutes, hours, to days. They may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light. Tension headaches have a constant “dull” annoying pain that never seems to go away. They can start in the neck, work their way up to the back of the head and spread to the front of the head.

The best formula for ending headaches is easy but the process of carrying out this formula is difficult. The formula: REMOVE THE CAUSE. The truth is that headaches have many causes (triggers) which vary from person to person. Finding your triggers and the treatments that work best for you is the key.

Believe it or not a major factor for most people with migraines is food allergy. There is a large category of headache triggers. Some of the things to watch for are: caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners, aged cheese, beans, chocolate, processed meats, red wine, MSG, yeast breads, yeast containing products, citrus fruits, and alcohol. This is by no means a complete list.

The major factor for people with tension headaches is body mechanics. Postural habits and faulty respiration are at the top of the list.

It is the job of the doctor to work with you to identify these triggers so that both of you can work toward a successful resolution to your headache problem. Some strategies take longer than others, and the truth is that it takes work and sacrifice.

Check back next week as we dig a little deeper in to the causes and care.

Dr. Madden is a chiropractic physician in South Jersey. If you have questions he can be reached at drpmadden@gmail.com.

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