Pounding. Throbbing. Aching.
Sound familiar? They're all types of pain associated with headaches, one of the most common -- and annoying -- health problems. The World Health Organization estimates that at least 47 percent of adults have suffered from a headache over the past year -- a number that seems kind of low, given how often we complain of the ugly pains.
So, how do you deal with it? If you're like most people, you pop an aspirin, or three, and hope for the best. The problem? They always seem to come back. Over-the-counter pain relievers can work to alleviate pain in the short term, but the medicine doesn't fix the underlying problems that cause headaches in the first place, according to Toby Green, DC, an Omaha, Nebraska-based chiropractor.
"Most headaches are caused by tension and stress on the body," he tells Yahoo Shine. "Stresses can range from physical stress, like sitting at a desk or exercise, to emotional stress."
How Your Habits Cause Your Headaches
Your daily activities might seem mundane, but the things you do on a regular basis can cause your headaches. Sedentary activities -- like sitting at a desk for several hours at a time -- can actually contribute to your headaches because it puts undue pressure on your body. Your phone can also be the culprit: Leaning your head down for an extended period of time puts a ton of pressure on your neck and spine.
"Hunching over when you're studying or exercising puts a lot of pressure on your body," says Green. "So does cranking your head up on a pillow while watching television at night."
Pay attention to your diet, too. Dehydration is known to cause headaches, so make sure you're drinking enough water every day.
When to Get Professional Help
There's a lot you can do to try and fix your headaches on your own, Green says.
"Do an audit of your daily activities," he explains. "Figure out what time of the day you seem to get headaches. Ask yourself: What makes them better? What makes them worse? Does exercise and sleep make the pain better or worse?"
Sometimes recognizing your bad habits is enough to get you to change. But what happens when you think you're doing everything right, and you're still getting headaches? It might be time to bring in the pro.
"Go through tests and make sure that you don't have underlying health problems that are causing your headaches, " advises Green. A good chiropractor can manipulate your spine to improve movement and alleviate tensions that come from the unnatural physical stress you put on your body.
"Your chiropractor can take x-rays of your spine and help you treat the root of the problem instead of just covering it up," he says. However, don't expect your headaches to go away without a little work.
"There's not a quick fix," he says. "It'll take time."
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