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Sinus Headache: Symptoms, Causes And Natural Reliefs

Sinus Headache: Symptoms, Causes And Natural Reliefs

If you’ve ever had a sinus headache, you know what a real pain it is (literally and figuratively speaking). There are many over-the-counter medications you can take to help relieve a sinus headache, but you may want to think twice before you resort to those all the time. Why? Because even though these options may cover up the symptoms of your sinus headache temporarily, they’re not the best for treating it long-term and don’t address the real issue at hand.

What a Sinus Headache Feels Like

Sinus Headache

    A sinus headache will feel as though you have a tight clamp on each side of your head, and you’ll feel this due to pressure caused by a build-up of fluids. You’ll also usually feel your nasal passages clogged and likely have problems with mucus in your throat. You may find yourself constantly coughing or trying to clear your throat with corresponding tension headaches when suffering (whether daily or occasionally).

    It’s not exactly what you’re suffering from? Then you need to check if you have one of the following headaches instead and learn about how to deal with it:

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    Tension Headache: Understanding Of The Most Common Headache

    Cluster Headaches: How To Deal With The Worst Headache

    How To Get Rid Of A Headache Without Medicine

    Causes of Sinus Headaches

    Research shows that sinus headaches are the result of overall body inflammation – not actually from allergies alone. Other possible causes of sinus headaches include a respiratory infection, congestion due to mucus build up in the body or an illness such as the flu. Allergies can also trigger sinus headaches or exacerbate existing ones.

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    Normal sinus pathways allow mucus to drain and air to circulate through the lungs and nasal passages, but when inflammation occurs in the body, these pathways and processes don’t work as they normally would. This can lead to a host of negative issues because blocked nasal passages are the perfect breeding ground for harmful viruses and bacteria that can affect you long-term.

    Colds are a common culprit for triggering sinus headaches, but those who swim frequently, suffer from asthma or hay fever, and those with nasal polyps or facial tumors may also be more susceptible than other people.

    Natural Options for Relieving a Sinus Headache

    Sinus Headache

      First, you’ll want to check with your doctor to make sure you have a sinus headache and not something else. Once he or she diagnoses you, here are natural remedies you can do at home to relieve inflammation and even the possible cause(s) of your sinus headaches:

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      1. Remove all possible allergenic foods

      Many people are allergic to certain foods they are eating which is causing the inflammation and mucus build-up. Common allergens are gluten (wheat, barley, rye), just wheat, dairy, soy, and although it’s not an allergy, excessive refined sugar intake can also lead to inflammation and mucus build-up. Consider removing these from your diet to see which ones may be causing issues for you, and then reintroduce each one, one at a time to see if the food is causing mucus build-up for you or overall inflammation. Check labels on all foods you buy, and consider an elimination diet which may also be effective.

      2. Drink plenty of water and avoid excessive caffeine and sugar.

      Excessive caffeine and sugar intake can trigger inflammation as well as headaches due to the way they affect blood sugar levels and blood pressure levels when they leave the bloodstream. Be sure to drink plenty of water which is your best option for getting your lymph fluids flowing. Warm (low-sodium) broths may also be helpful as well.

      3. Use a humidifier to help you breathe more easily.

      Place a humidifier in your room each night and let it run while you sleep. This can help you wake up a little clearer in the morning because it helps get mucus moving through the body so you can breathe more easily.

      4. Use cold packs on your head to relieve pain.

      Ice packs can help dispel the pain from your head by triggering a unique process in the bloodstream and nerve pathways to help relieve pain. You can make cold packs from ice yourself with ice cubes and cloth or plastic baggies. Or, you can buy ice packs at your local drugstore. Place the ice pack on your head ensuring it covers the sides of your head and nose for at least 30 seconds. Consider taking a hot bath each night as you do so for greater effects.

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      5. Rub peppermint oil on the sides of your head.

      Rubbing peppermint oil on your the sides of your head can help relieve pain quickly and the menthol will also help you breathe more easily. Be sure to rub it in for a few minutes, gently massaging the sides of your head as you do so.

      6. Drink some warm lemon ginger tea.

      Make your own warm cup of tea with fresh ginger root and lemon slices. Just let them steep in boiling water for at least 5 minutes, then strain and drink the tea a few times a day. (You can also just make this tea in a French press.) Lemon and ginger both help relieve inflammation, pain, and can clear mucus from the body.

      7. Use over-the-counter sprays as the last option or as a complimentary treatment.

      If you need additional care when you’re trying to survive your sinus headache, use saline sprays as a last option or complimentary treatment. Just be mindful that these don’t treat the actual cause of your sinus headache even though they do serve as helpful aids.

      Everyone suffers from sinus headaches for various reasons, so do your best to address the real cause of your sinus headache, and speak with a trusted naturopath or medical professional who is willing to help you through the process.

      To learn more about natural options to relieve general headaches, check out these options that can help you do so without medication.

      Featured photo credit: Flickr / Gonzalo Malpartida via flic.kr

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      Last Updated on August 12, 2019

      12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

      12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

      Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

      But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

      I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

      Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

      1. Nuts

      The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

      Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

      Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

      Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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      2. Blueberries

      Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

      When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

      3. Tomatoes

      Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

      4. Broccoli

      While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

      Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

      Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

      5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

      Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

      The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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      Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

      6. Soy

      Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

      Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

      Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

      7. Dark Chocolate

      When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

      Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

      8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

      Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

      B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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      Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

      Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

      To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

      9. Foods Rich in Zinc

      Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

      Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

      Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

      10. Gingko Biloba

      This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

      It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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      However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

      11. Green and Black Tea

      Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

      Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

      Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

      12. Sage and Rosemary

      Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

      Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

      When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

      More About Boosting Brain Power

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

      Reference

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