LIFE’S BIG (AND LITTLE) HEADACHES: YOUR SURVIVAL GUIDE


headache, eyestrain, stress, tension, migraine, mindfulness, massage, acupuncture


Is it the eyestrain of staring at a computer screen all day?

Or, maybe it is the stress of a deadline that seems impossible to meet?

Even when the cause is hard to pinpoint, you can feel that tension headache creeping up and…

YOU KNOW

what it is going to feel like when that dull sense of pain takes residence between your temples!

Then there are the much more pervasive and troublesome types of neurological disturbances…

MIGRAINES!

Picture the kind of ache in your head that keeps you in bed, lights off, whispering, for hours if not days.

They are more than just headaches; they can often feel unbearable.

Headaches and migraines come to us for a myriad of reasons. Already mentioned were EYESTRAIN and STRESS, but there are other common causes that you may not have considered (SOURCE):

  • Stress
  • Emotional distress
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Certain foods or food allergies
  • Environmental exposures,
  • Infection
  • Constipation
  • Blood pressure issues
  • Drugs and Alcohol
  • Fatigue
  • Eyestrain
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Dehydration


What creates a headache for one person may result in a migraine for another. There are so many factors to consider that it cannot be reduced to a one size fits all diagnosis and solution.

“As a neurological ailment, [headaches and] migraines impact the whole person, not just the head, so it follows that treatments are based on whole-person assessment, understanding and treatment.” (SOURCE)

Western medicine addresses the alleviation of many symptoms. In our headache and migraine survival guide, we would like to offer some complementary therapies from a naturopathic perspective.

Common headaches are often called tension headaches. It follows that STRESS MANAGEMENT is an important tool in relieving tension from the body.


There are a few things you can try if you suspect tension or stress may be at the root of your headache or migraine:

  1. Practicing Mindfulness – as you feel the onset of a headache or migraine, simply notice the tension in your mind and body and give yourself permission to relax in those areas.
  1. Breathing Exercises – in the most stressful moments, when you know a headache is imminent, try the “Box Breathing” pattern by inhaling for 4 counts, holding for four counts, exhaling for four counts, and then holding for four counts. Repeat as needed.
  1. Movement – try simple exercises such as stretching at your desk, taking a break at lunch for an in person or online yoga session, or simply taking a walk around the block can be helpful.


During the pandemic, you might have found yourself typing away on your laptop from the couch.

Did you know that BODY POSITIONING and alignment of the spine can affect the level and frequency of headaches and migraines?


Naturopathic doctors are trained to assess and correct physiological issues in your bodily structure that may be a contributing factor when you experience headaches or migraines.

  1. Massage – assists in relaxing tense muscles
  1. Manipulation/ Adjustments – assures that head, spine and skeletal structure are in alignment
  1. Acupuncture – increases blood flow and calms the nervous system


Systemic inflammation plays a detrimental role in overall wellness and how a body feels. Therefore, it is important to pay proper attention to your needs in terms of NUTRITION in order to prevent and/ or eliminate headaches and migraines.


The following are a few suggestions that may assist you in doing just that:

  1. Hydration – adequate hydration fluctuates from person to person, but staying hydrated makes a difference in preventing headaches and migraines.
  1. Anti-Inflammatory Diet – a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids from nuts and wild caught fish, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats reduces the likelihood of headaches and migraines
  1. Herbs/ Supplements* that are known to reduce headaches and migraines:


Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin) – has been shown to reduce migraine symptoms and has long been used as a supplement option

Magnesium – often times those that suffer from headaches or migraines are found to have low doses of magnesium in their blood stream.

Feverfew – a member of the daisy family, feverfew is an herb that can be ingested and has shown to be useful in the treatment of headaches and migraines.


*Always consult your naturopathic doctor before introducing herbs or supplements to your diet.

Although there are very valid and useful treatments offered by western medicine, a naturopathic perspective can be beneficial in getting to the root cause of your symptoms for headaches and migraines.

Dr. Fisel can help you find natural solutions and relief if you are battling with problematic headaches or migraines. If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule your consultation.


RESOURCES:

https://aanmc.org/featured-articles/naturopathic-approaches-to-headaches/
https://naturemed.org/natural-relief-for-migraine-headache-symptoms/



Beyond An Auto-immune Diagnosis: Ten Things To Look For

Autoimmune diseases, autoimmune diagnosis, autoimmune symptom relief, Dr. Matt Fisel, naturopathic doctor, gut health, stress management, hormonal imbalance


Have you ever felt off, but you just kept pushing through the pain?

You might have experienced symptoms like:

Brain fog, muscle aches, or fatigue.

As time moved on, your symptoms didn’t.

After a battery of tests, you were given a general autoimmune disease diagnosis.

NOW WHAT?

Western medicine tends to give a catchall diagnosis for something that looks and feels like an autoimmune disease. You hear things like mold toxicity or chronic fatigue.

The truth is the immune system is so complex that a diagnosis might feel like a dead end; hopeless. It’s hard for doctors to diagnose…how do they expect you to understand what’s going on in your body?

From a Naturopathic standpoint…I see it as a starting point. Your autoimmune disease is not a life sentence. Working together, it’s a place we can begin to detect and identify where your symptoms are coming from and help you find relief and hopefully some natural solutions.

Here are TEN THINGS WE LOOK AT BEYOND AN AUTOIMMUNE DIAGNOSIS from a naturopathic standpoint:


1. STRESS MANAGEMENT – Ongoing stressors in your lifestyle can cause both mental and physical discomfort. Overwhelm and anxiety can cause inflammation in the brain and then systemically throughout the body. Dr. Fisel looks at root causes of stress in your life and work to alleviate and/ or eliminate them.


2. FOOD SENSITIVITIES – You may be sensitive to certain types of foods and not even be aware of the fact. Dr. Fisel can recommend certain testing or targeted diets to identify and eliminate those foods that don’t agree with your immune system.

3. GUT HEALTH – There is a very important connection between your gut and your brain. What goes on between the two can affect your entire body and how it functions. Often times leaky gut (when your intestinal walls are easily permeated) is a major culprit of autoimmune symptoms. Dr. Fisel can tell you if your gut is adversely affecting your overall wellness.

4. ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS – You might be living in an older home, or over a land fill, and did not know or realize that pollutants were permeating your environment. Dr. Fisel considers your proximity to heavy metals, mold, pesticides (especially glyphosate), PCBs, cosmetics, and water pollution.

 5. MOVEMENT – Studies show an active lifestyle decreases inflammation in your body. You might not feel like running a marathon, but simple movements can increase your circulation and boost your immune system. Dr. Fisel can suggest ways to add movement into your life.

6. NUTRITION – Paying attention to your food intake is important to a healthy immune system. Avoid processed foods that are chemical laden in favor of anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables like blueberries, broccoli and avocados. Dr. Fisel also looks at nutritional deficiencies and works to enhance the missing nutrients.

7. MEDICATION TOXICITY – You may not be able to avoid prescribed medications (especially antibiotics), but Dr. Fisel can counter-balance their effects with food or supplements that offer pro-biotics.

8. INFECTIONS – Something to consider is the effect of underlying infection on your body’s immune response. For example, Lyme Disease, Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), and Candida, among other infections, can trigger autoimmunity. Dr. Fisel can help you determine if you have an undetected infection.

9. HORMONAL IMBALANCE – Changes in the hormonal balance of your body, as seen in menopause, can trigger changes in immune function. Dr. Fisel can help restore balance in your body.

10. GENETICS – Hereditary factors may cause adverse immune responses in your body. Dr. Fisel can help you sift through your genetic history to determine what if anything may be creating problems.

There is hope beyond your autoimmune diagnosis. Dr. Fisel would love to dig deeper into underlying causes to help you discover ways to feel better while living with the reality of your symptoms.

Dr. Fisel is here to offer you hope beyond your auto-immune disease diagnosis and to help you feel relief from your symptoms. Please call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment, today.

NEW PATIENT FREE 15 MINUTE CONSULATION: Dr. Fisel promotes health and healing on all levels, physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule your free 15 minute consultation.

Heartburn Drugs Typically Not Necessary

gerdProton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) such as Nexium, Prevacid, and Protonix, are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the U.S. They are typically given to patients who complain of heartburn or reflux (GERD), who are then kept on the medication indefinitely. In fact, it’s not uncommon for many of the patients I see to think of being on this medication almost as an afterthought, because it’s so common in our culture. What they may not realize is that long-term use of these medications can lead to long-term complications, and may be doing more harm than good! When first approved by the FDA, the suggested use of PPIs was for 4-6 weeks, mainly for treating serious gastrointestinal issues, like ulcers and Barrett’s esophagus.  [Read more…]

Anxiety, Cancer, and Music

As some of you may know, I’m an avid music lover, so I’m always excited when I see research that confirms the therapeutic benefits of music.

A new Cochrane research review shows how music can reduce anxiety, and may also have positive effects on mood, pain and quality of life.

Evidence from 1,891 patients taking part in 30 trials was examined-13 of the trials involved trained music therapists, while the other 17 trials studied patients who listened to pre-recorded music. The results showed that in comparison to standard treatments, anxiety levels were significantly reduced by music, based on clinical anxiety scores. Music was also shown to have beneficial effects for patients with chronic pain-heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure saw smaller beneficial effects.

Lead researcher Joke Bradt of the Department of Creative Arts Therapies at Drexel University in Philadelphia, US., explained

“The evidence suggests that music interventions may be useful as a complementary treatment to people with cancer.

Music interventions provided by trained music therapists as well as listening to pre-recorded music both have shown positive outcomes in this review, but at this time there is not enough evidence to determine if one intervention is more effective than the other.”

Bradt continues

“It should be noted, however, that when patients can’t be blinded to an intervention, there is an opportunity for bias when they are asked to report on subjective measures like anxiety, pain mood and quality of life.”

While additional studies may be necessary to confirm some of these findings, I would emphasize incorporating some form of musical enjoyment into your daily routine, whether you’re sick or not!