Headaches and Other Painful Conditions Could Have a New Type of Treatment
Many of us will have our own way of coping with headaches and other painful conditions but we will probably never have thought of using nostalgia!
Now researchers have found that a dose of nostalgia actually has medicinal properties that help with treating mild pain.
As well as giving you a warm and fuzzy glow when you start browsing through those old photo albums or watching a favorite movie from your childhood, researchers found that such activities decrease the movement in parts of the brain that deal with pain.
What did researchers find in their experiments?
Lead researcher was Professor Yazhuo Kong of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In their experiments, the researchers showed one group of people nostalgic images with scenes and physical items from their childhood while another group were shown scenes and items from life in today's modern world.
When the brain activity was measured of the two groups, they found that viewing nostalgic images reduced activity in the left lingual gyrus and Para hippocampal gyrus - two regions of the brain that are involved in pain perception.
Professor Kong says: "We believe the effect of nostalgia is good in relieving mild pain. Our findings showed that it causes a qualitative change from pain to no pain when individuals experience mild pain."
He went on to say: "We recommend that people browse old photos and videos involving family, friends and their childhood to help them relieve uncomfortable feelings. People could listen to old songs, enjoy old movies or even relive schoolyard games."
"We believe that the higher the level of involvement, the better the pain relief."
Other natural ways to help relieve the pain of headaches and more?
1. Drink plenty of water as inadequate hydration may lead you to develop a headache. In fact, drinking water has been shown to relieve headache symptoms in most dehydrated individuals within thirty minutes to three hours. Being dehydrated can impair concentration and cause irritability, making your symptoms seem even worse.
2. Take some magnesium which has also been shown to be a safe, effective remedy for headaches. Start with a smaller dose as sometimes taking magnesium supplements can cause digestive side effects like diarrhea in some people.
3. Limit alcohol as studies have shown that alcohol can trigger migraines in about one third of those who experience frequent headaches while it has also been shown to cause tension and cluster headaches in others. In addition, alcohol acts as a diuretic, causing the body to lose fluid and electrolytes through frequent urination, leading to dehydration.
4. Make sure to get sufficient sleep as its deprivation may cause headaches in some people. Studies found that those getting less than six hours of sleep had more frequent and severe headaches. Too much sleep can also trigger headaches. Aim for the ideal seven to night hours of sleep.
5. Avoid those foods that are high in histamine which is a chemical found naturally in the body but is also found in certain foods like aged cheeses, fermented food, beer, wine, smoked fish and cured meats and could trigger migraines in those who are sensitive to it.
6. Try using a B-Complex vitamin as these contain all eight of the B vitamins and are a safe, cost-effective way to naturally treat headache symptoms.
7. Soothe any pain with a cold compress by applying to the neck or head area to lessen inflammation, slow down nerve conduction while constricting blood vessels. Such actions help reduce headache pain.
8. Consider taking Coenzyme Q10 as this is a substance produced naturally by the body and which acts as a powerful antioxidant. It is said to be an effective and natural way to treat headaches.
9. Use an elimination diet as studies have pointed to food tolerances triggering headaches in some. Try an elimination diet that removes the foods most related to your headache symptoms.
10. Drink caffeinated tea or coffee as surprisingly these may provide relief when you are experiencing a headache. This is because caffeine improves the mood, increases alertness and constricts blood vessels, all of which can have a positive effect on headache symptoms. On the other hand, be aware that caffeine withdrawal has also been shown to cause headaches if a person regularly consumes large amounts of caffeine and suddenly stops.
11. The practice of acupuncture has been linked to a reduction in headache symptoms in many studies.
12. As the art of yoga is an excellent way to relieve stress, increase flexibility, decrease pain and improve your overall quality of life, it can even help with the pain and discomfort of headaches.
13. Avoid stress because stress causes us to take short and shallow breaths which increases the level of carbon dioxide in the body. This in turn leads to the dilation of blood vessels in the head, the result being common headache pain. When suffering from stress try to inhale slowly through your nose, count up to five before exhaling slowly and count to five again
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Wong ET, et al. Clinical presentation and diagnosis of brain tumors. http://www.uptodate.com/home. (Accessed, July 13, 2021).