This is a guest post by Dr. Brent Wells, founder of Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab
Pregnant women suffer headaches, but their treatment choices are limited. Many medications have been proven unsafe during pregnancy.
So, when pregnant women suffer from migraines, they need to find relief quickly, but without prescription medication.
Some expectant mothers turn to chiropractic care for migraine pain, but this does not solve the problem quickly.
Chiropractors help people optimize their health and reduce pain through spinal manipulative therapy, soft-tissue therapies, lifestyle management, and nutritional counseling.
Research finds that chiropractic techniques do reduce pain, including migraine pain, but patients need regular visits.
If you’re a pregnant woman with a history of migraines, you’ll do yourself a favor by looking into chiropractic care for managing the pain.
If you normally take medication to manage your migraine headaches, talk to your healthcare provider about the safety of taking meds while pregnant.
A progressive and expert chiropractor like myself can give you alternative ideas in lieu of medication.
There are other quick methods that can help with migraine pain. Like all migraine treatments, they aren’t cures. But, they can reduce some of the problems associated with these problematic headaches.
Adjust The Lights
Migraine sufferers find that light exacerbates their headaches. Pregnant women who have headache pain should dim the lights in as many places as possible.
At work, you should dim your computer screens, which should also be anti-glare. You can also put on sunglasses while inside to dim the lights even more.
It is also a good idea to use daylight-spectrum fluorescent bulbs in your home. Any lights that flicker should immediately be changed or turned off, as flickering lights can trigger migraines.
Change The Temperature
Another common treatment for migraines is the cold pack and hot pack.
Pregnant women might find relief by putting a cold pack on their heads. Ice in a towel works well, and so does a back of frozen vegetables – especially peas.
While in a dark room, place the compress on your head and close your eyes for 15 minutes.
Take a little break, then try it again if needed.
Cold isn’t the only temperature that helps migraines. Heat can also help.
The best place to put a heating pad is at the back of your neck or head. This might not be the spot where the migraine is radiating, but that spot can help relieve tension in the neck.
Some pregnant women might also benefit from taking a warm shower to get quick relief.
Consider Your Scalp
Sometimes wearing a headband, hat, or ponytail can exacerbate a headache.
The way you wear your face mask might also create discomfort that adds to a headache.
So, to get some minimal relief, release your ponytail, take off your headband or hat, or switch your face mask to something that does not compress your head.
Research shows that external compression headaches with constant pain can happen within minutes. By removing the external pressure, headaches are relieved within an hour.
Removing the external pressure might not take care of a migraine, but it will take care of extra pressure.
Drink Caffeine Within Limits
Caffeine can help ease headache pain. However, healthcare providers generally advise their pregnant patients to avoid drinking caffeinated beverages.
If you do suffer from migraine headaches or other types of headaches, caffeine may help.
If small amounts of caffeine have worked for you in the past, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you can continue to drink tea or coffee when you have a headache.
Remember that you can worsen headaches by drinking too much caffeine, which triggers withdrawal symptoms.
If you can tolerate it, take some time to massage your neck and temples.
Some people find that their headaches are eased slightly by massaging with a dab of pregnancy-safe essential oils like rose, lavender, or chamomile.
If the scents of the essential oils are overwhelming, do not use them.
Take Note Of Your Jaw
Many people find that their jaws tense up and cause headaches.
If you chew gum, your fingernails, or the end of a pen, your jaw might end up causing terrible headaches. Some also grind their teeth, which can cause headaches, too.
Waking up with a headache is a sign that you clench or grind at night. If this is the case, your dentist can help you by fitting you for a mouthguard.
For some people, chewing gum relaxes them. But, if you have issues like temporomandibular disorder (TMD), chewing anything gummy, hard, or sticky will only exacerbate the problem.
Research shows that TMD is often associated with migraine headaches. So, taking care of the jaw pain could bring you relief from your headaches.
Learn To Relax
When you have a migraine, relaxation techniques might be the farthest thing from your mind.
You just want to find relief. When you notice a migraine coming, it is important that you begin to relax.
Some migraine sufferers practice deep-breathing techniques, while others use a common yoga relaxation technique called yoga nidra, which is shown to help with relaxation because it works with the whole body.
The technique also helps with diseases with a high psychosomatic component. Since headaches are often brought on by stress, learning to practice yoga nidra can be helpful.
Try Natural Remedies
Some people swear by natural remedies for headaches. One remedy that is getting attention from researchers is ginger, which has been shown to ease headaches.
If you don’t like the taste of ginger, you can ingest it through tea or in a supplement.
Other natural remedies for headaches include:
• inhaling lavender oil;
• avoiding processed foods that contain nitrates;
• applying a menthol solution to the temples;
• using biofeedback therapy.
If you think foods are causing your migraines, you should keep a food diary for a few weeks.
Record what you eat when, and when you have headaches. It shouldn’t take long before you find out whether or not your migraines are food-related.
You might also consider talking to an allergist about food sensitivities.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information, “The Use of Medication in Pregnancy”, Katarina Dathe, PD Dr. med. and Christof Schaefer, Prof. Dr. med., 2019, Nov 15.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Integrating Chiropractic Care Into the Treatment of Migraine Headaches in a Tertiary Care Hospital: A Case Series”, Carolyn Bernstein, MD,1,2 Peter M Wayne, PhD,3,4 Pamela M Rist, ScD,3 Kamila Osypiuk, MS,3,4 Audrey Hernandez, MS,3,4 and Matthew Kowalski, DC1, 2019, Mar 28.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Helmet-Related, External Compression Headache Among Police Officers in Rio de Janeiro”, Abouch Krymchantowski, MD, MSc, PhD and Marcio Cvaigman, MD, 2004, May 17.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Is caffeine consumption safe during pregnancy?”, Sara Morgan, RPh, Gideon Koren, MD FRCPC FACMT, and Pina Bozzo, 2013, Apr.
- Journal of Pharmaceutical and Scientific Innovation, “Yoga Nidra And Its Therapeutic Applications”, Yogitha Bali M.R., 2012, Aug 17.
- PubMed, “Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine” Mehdi Maghbooli, Farhad Golipour, Alireza Moghimi Esfandabadi, Mehran Yousefi, 2013 May 9.
About the Author
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. He is currently leading 10,000 Alaskans to more active and pain-free lifestyles with a progressive and highly innovative approach to chiropractic care, massage therapy, and physical rehab therapy.
Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe, Organic Facts, and Thrive Global. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.
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