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Drink Water. Avoid Headaches

This type of headache can be easily avoided. However, once a dehydration headache begins, it can trigger other more painful types of headaches.

Perhaps the most often overlooked yet easily avoided type of headache is the dehydration headache. These headaches commonly occur when the outside temperature spikes suddenly, and folks aren’t increasing their daily water intake accordingly. People become so wrapped up with their hectic schedules that they neglect to stay hydrated. They don’t realize that their bodies are craving water.

As people sweat, water and salts are lost through the body’s largest organ, the skin. This process is important because it cools the external temperature of the body. However, sweating also shifts the fluid-electrolyte balance within the body. Without enough water, people can experience a lack of mental focus, grouchiness, fatigue, and headaches.

This type of headache will often begin gradually as a feeling of tightness in the upper neck and back of the skull. It will grow and spread across the back of the head toward the sides of the head. It can sharpen and increase in severity as a person turns, twists, or moves their head.

Dehydration headaches can trigger other types of headaches.

  • TMJ. As a person becomes more uncomfortable, they may unintentionally clench their jaw tightly. This can cause the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) to become irritated and inflamed. In this situation, pain will travel to the jaw muscles and sides of the face. Pain can sometimes radiate toward and into the ears.

  • Tension Headache. Some people respond to the soreness at the back of their neck by tightening their neck and shoulder muscles. They are attempting to make themselves more comfortable (not realizing that they simply need a glass or two of water.) This tightening of the muscles can trigger a tension headache.

  • Migraine. In some cases, a dehydration headache can trigger a migraine. This becomes even more likely if a person is exposed to bright light (without adequate eye protection). This can cause relentless, throbbing pain.

  • It’s hard enough having to deal with the unpleasantness of one type of headache, but when someone begins to suffer the effects of more than one type of headache, it can become difficult to function. The smallest task can take extreme effort. A person’s thought process can become clouded. Their mood is also affected.

Early warning signs of dehydration.

Without enough water, a person will begin to feel as if they have less energy. The roof of their mouth will start to feel dry. Their eyes may also begin to feel dry. Some people begin to notice slight changes in their skin. If the skin on the back of the hand is pinched, how quickly does the skin return to normal? If the skin seems to return more slowly to its normal location, it has become less elastic. This may be a sign of the body's lack of water.

Not going to the bathroom for a long time can also mean that the body hasn’t received enough water. Dry or chapped lips may also be an indicator that a person is dehydrated.

How to stay hydrated even when it’s warm outside.

  • Bring a water bottle whenever in the car

  • Sip water while at work

  • Keep a water bottle near the computer or workstation

  • Drink some water before leaving the house

  • Be mindful of salt intake

  • Drink small but consistent amounts of water throughout the day

  • Remember that caffeinated beverages cause water loss

  • Schedule times throughout the day to drink water

  • Use an app that provides reminders for staying hydrated

  • Plan to drink more water on warmer days

  • Pay attention to early warning signs of dehydration

  • Keep spare bottles of water at work

  • Have friends and coworkers join in with staying hydrated

How can chiropractic help the body to avoid dehydration headaches and other related headaches.

Once the body now has its recommended daily intake of water, what now? The body must now move all this water to the correct parts of the body in the most efficient way. This is where chiropractic can help. Chiropractic adjustments aid the body in transport of nutrients, and most importantly water, where it is most needed. The more efficient the body is in maintaining proper physiological balance, the less energy is required to perform its daily functions such as breathing, digestion, circulation, and eliminating toxins. When the neck is straight the blood flow to the brain is at its best. This ensures that enough of the water that the body has just received reaches the brain. The cerebral spinal fluid (that supports and bathes the brain in nutrients) remains in balance and the arteries surrounding the brain will not become irritated and inflamed.

How to stay hydrated while traveling.

Remember to take bottled water with you while traveling. It’s rather easy to forget to drink often enough when a person is off their regular routine. Trying to keep water accessible can often serve as a reminder to drink. When ordering dinner at a restaurant it’s important to remember which items on the menu usually contain a high amount of water: iceberg lettuce, green/red bell pepper, spinach, cauliflower and broccoli.

Helpful ways to keep kids hydrated.

Because children don’t usually understand that they should continually drink water, there is an ongoing challenge to keep them hydrated. They can be offered natural apple juice, grape juice, lemonade, and other fresh juices. Many types of fruit contain a high percentage of water such as watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, peaches, and pineapple. These can be given as healthy snacks, especially during the warmer months. Cucumber (which is biologically considered to be a fruit because it contains seeds) is easily sliced and tastes particularly refreshing when chilled. Liquids can also be administered in the form of home-made juice popsicles in a variety of delicious flavors.

What should be done when a person suspects that they have a headache caused by water loss?

What should be done at this point? Drink some room temperature water, because the body can absorb and utilize it more efficiently than cold water. Drink juice to restore the body’s electrolyte balance. If possible, move to a shady location or an air conditioned environment. Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Avoid loud noises. Give the body time to recover.

If a person suspects that they are suffering from reoccurring dehydration headaches, they should seek out a health care professional for advice and help.

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