If you’re plagued by headaches, it’s well worth the energy to play detective and see if you can support your body’s natural systems to alleviate the problem. Before we talk about the ways to relieve this persistent issue naturally, ask yourself the following questions: When do your headaches occur? What happened before? What did you eat?

To get you started, here are five of the many possible causes and some tips to help you relieve headaches naturally.

1. Check for hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia results when a meal is delayed and your body’s blood sugar drops. Often, a lack of protein contributes to this condition. How do you feel when a meal is delayed? One of my clients had been suffering migraines for years.

The problem was so debilitating, she was taking strong antiseizure medication. Her migraines always occurred first thing in the morning after a night when her supper had included very little protein. This caused hypoglycemia and triggered her migraines.

We decided she needed to increase the amount of protein she ate, eat more frequently, and reduce her intake of refined carbohydrates and sugar, which helped her tremendously.

2. Hydrate.

The brain is the most hydrated organ in the body. A lack of water can trigger or prolong headaches. If you have a headache, drinking two or three glasses of water can reduce the pain. The client in the example above drank very little water so her migraines would last for days.

Once we got her drinking plenty of water, her migraines went away much more quickly. Your weight, in pounds, divided by two, indicates the approximate number of ounces of water to drink per day.

For each cup of coffee, tea, or alcohol, add in another cup-and-a-half of water to compensate for the diuretic effect of these beverages.

3. Balance your hormones.

Keep track of your headaches and note when they occur. I had a client track her migraines, and it was clear they occurred during the time that she was ovulating and right before her menstrual cycle. By taking some simple supplements to balance her hormones, she was able to find relief.

4. Improve your diet or check for food intolerances.

If you suffer from headaches, eating a diet with a variety of healthy, whole, fresh foods is essential. Chemicals, additives, and food coloring in packaged, processed foods can trigger headaches.

It is best to also avoid sugar and anything containing it. Possible food intolerances for migraine sufferers include chocolate, alcohol, citrus, and aged foods, to name a few.

5. Reduce stress.

Tightness in the neck and shoulders cause tension headaches. Stress management is key. Practice deep abdominal breathing regularly, try yoga, meditation, a massage, or taking a walk. Proper spinal alignment by an osteopath or chiropractor can also help.

There are other causes of headaches and migraines, such as a congested liver, eye-strain, anemia, magnesium deficiency, and hypothyroidism. Identify and start addressing what is unbalanced in your body to find relief.

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