Adding Epsom salts can make your bath more effective. This is an old home remedy for easing muscle pain which is still widely used today. It is not just an old wives’ tale – there are good reasons for thinking it will help your muscles and your headaches.
Epsom salts act as a source of magnesium ions. These play an essential role in body chemistry, including the maintenance of normal functioning of nerves and muscles.
"Epsom salts act as a source of magnesium ions… including the maintenance of normal functioning of nerves and muscles."
Many headache sufferers have lower than normal levels of magnesium ions in their blood and brain [5,6,7,8] and intravenous magnesium will often quickly relieve a headache attack.[8,9]
Magnesium ions can also enter the bloodstream by absorption across the skin [10,11]. A small study showed that soaking in an Epsom salt bath for 12 minutes two times a week should be sufficient to restore normal levels. The effects on headaches have not been studied but it seems well worth trying.
"Many headache sufferers have lower than normal levels of magnesium."
You will need about 2 cups of Epsom salts in a standard sized bath tub.
If you suffer from migraines, you may have noticed that your hands and feet tend that tend to get colder before and during an attack.
For many people this is a reliable early warning sign.
A warm bath taken at this stage will help prevent the attack from progressing further by drawing blood away from your head towards your extremities.
This is an excerpt from the ebook Stop Headaches Naturally - Chapter 11.15 - Heat, Cold and other Therapies
 P Sarchielli, G Coata, C Firenze, P Morucci, G Abbritti and V Gallai (1992). “Serum and salivary magnesium levels in migraine and tension-type headache. Results in a group of adult patients.” Cephalalgia 12(1): 21-27.
 BM Altura and BT Altura (1996). “Role of magnesium in patho-physiological processes and the clinical utility of magnesium ion selective electrodes.” Scand J Clin Lab Invest Suppl 224: 211-234.
 A Mauskop, BT Altura, RQ Cracco and BM Altura (1993). “Deficiency in serum ionized magnesium but not total magnesium in patients with migraines. Possible role of ICa2+/IMg2+ ratio.” Headache 33(3): 135-138.
 A Mauskop and BM Altura (1998). “Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraines.” Clin Neurosci 5(1): 24-27.
 A Mauskop, BT Altura, RQ Cracco and BM Altura (1996). “Intravenous magnesium sulfate rapidly alleviates headaches of various types.” Headache 36(3): 154-160.
 H Laudańska, A Lemancewicz, M Kretowska, T Reduta and T Laudański (2002). “Permeability of human skin to selected anions and cations--in vitro studies.” Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol 112(1-4): 16-26.
 Dr RH Waring (2009). “Report on Absorption of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) across the skin.”
When we started writing this book our focus was on headaches provoked by musculoskeletal problems, and especially by muscular trigger points. However many other factors unrelated to musculoskeletal problems are known to provoke headache attacks, including tiredness, dehydration, certain foods, changes in female hormone levels and flashing lights, to name but a few.
We wanted this book to be useful to as wide range of headache sufferers as possible, so we decided to increase its scope to cover such cases. However we then faced the problem of how to unify all of this information.
From our research we came up with a simple model based on the nature of headache pain. In this model, headache pain arises from a combination of 3 separate contributions:
1. A musculoskeletal contribution – due to problems with muscles and joints
2. A neurovascular contribution – due to changes in nerve activity and blood flow in parts of the brain
3. An emotional stress contribution – this acts like a pain volume control
Reducing any one of these contributions lessens the pain you feel. It may even lessen it sufficiently to prevent a headache from occurring in the first place.
"Reducing any one of these contributions lessens the pain you feel."
There are a number of natural methods available to reduce each of these contributions. For example, the contribution to headache pain from musculoskeletal problems can be readily treated by manual therapy, together with correction of posture, stretching and strengthening of postural muscles.
Emotional stress can be treated by a variety of techniques including relaxation, biofeedback and altering negative thought patterns. The neurovascular contribution can be reduced by making changes to your lifestyle, environment and diet and by reducing emotional stress.
These techniques and more are covered in this book.
This is an excerpt from the ebook Stop Headaches Naturally - Introduction: A Model For Headache Pain
When preventative medication for headaches doesn’t work very well (which it often doesn’t) Botox and nerve decompression surgery may be promoted as alternatives.
They can seem to hold out the promise of an end to pain. When reports in the media have titles like “How cutting out your 'frown muscles' stops migraines - and wrinkles” success seems assured and risks insignificant.
Yet Botox is the trade name for one form of botulinum toxin, a nerve poison produced by bacteria, and the most poisonous substance known. It is over 10,000 times more lethal than the venom of the world’s most poisonous snake – Australia’s own inland taipan.
"A nerve poison produced by bacteria… the most poisonous substance known."
Both cause muscle paralysis by the same mechanism. Death is due to paralysis of the breathing muscles.
Risks with Botox are minimised by only injecting minute amounts into several different places within same muscle, but it can still spread some distance from the injection site. For most people the benefits for headaches are small, and injections must be repeated every 2 – 3 months when nerve terminals regrow.
 D. Hurst (2010). “How cutting out your 'frown muscles' stops migraines – and wrinkles.” MailOnline, 31 August 2010.
This is an excerpt from Stop Headaches Naturally Chapter 9.29 - Botox and Nerve Decompression Surgery - Beware The Hype
It is important to understand that Botox only treats the symptoms and does not address the cause of migraine pain.
Clinical trials that lead to the approval of Botox for migraines requires the use of the PREEMT protocol, where small injections of multiple units are injected over the forehead, sides of the head and back of the head and neck.
"Botox only treats the symptoms"
The cost of this treatment is around $700 and has to be repeated every 3 months. Now that is an expensive way to find temporary pain relief.
If you suffer from migraines and chronic headaches and are considering using Botox, I encourage you to purchase my book called Stop Headaches Naturally. It only costs $27… a drop in ocean compared to the ongoing costs of Botox.
You will learn not only how to find pain relief but more importantly how to treat the cause of your pain and stop your headaches from returning.
When performing the plank it is important to use the correct technique. This will allow you to get the most out of the exercise and reduce the risk of injury.
That is why I contacted Amber Johnson - Founder, Owner and Strength & Conditioning Coach at First Wave Fitness and asked her, "How do you perform the perfect plank?" Here is Ambers' response…
The plank is a brilliant exercise to learn to create and maintain tension throughout the core in a neutral spine position.
Here is how to set up your plank:
1. Setting up on your elbows, feet together, knees locked out straight and your weight evenly distributed throughout your body
2. Align elbows directly underneath your shoulders with forearms parallel, hands relaxed, palms facing down
3. From here, we want to pack our shoulders down into our ribcage and away from your ears. Without moving your forearms, imagine pulling them backwards along the floor to lock your upper body and pelvis together as one unit
4. To align your spine in a neutral position, find the best position where you can squeeze your glutes
5. Your head and neck should also be kept in a neutral position (you may wish to place a broomstick down your back to ensure correct alignment is maintained. With the stick making contact at the back of your head, upper back and glutes).
Engage your core by gently drawing the belly button in and exhaling slowly to hold a strong tension through the middle of your body. From here, take slow, small breathes in and gently exhale to maintain this tension.
When attempting the plank, you should always aim for quality over quantity. When you first set out, run through your mental checklist of form cues and aim for short intervals.
"Always aim for quality over quantity"
Initially you may wish to start with 10 seconds holds and 10 seconds rest to reset and come up again. Try to work towards 6x 10 seconds holds and gradually build the working interval as you feel more confident with your form.
Once you have conquered the 6x 10 seconds hold, a good goal is to build towards a 30 seconds quality hold. As you advance, aim for quality holds between 30-60 seconds, and eventually 60 seconds-2 minute holds.
For those who are looking to advance the plank from here and challenge their Cross Core Sling Systems try the following:
Single Arm Holds
Single Leg Holds
And the real challenge the…
Single Arm and Opposite Leg Hold
Look to progress these in the same fashion as the plank, small intervals of quality over duration. As you build in strength, build the working intervals into longer holds.
Amber Johnson has been working in the fitness industry now for close to 10 years. Originating from a strength and conditioning background, Amber now regularly trains for and participates in the long course and Ironman triathlon series.
After completing further studies in rehabilitation, functional movement and postural correction, Amber works with a suite of athletes both local and professional, to educate, identify and retrain imbalances in the body’s movement patterns to help them move more efficiently and effectively.
Amber’s training philosophy is about building a solid foundation of strength and stability for her athletes to maintain optimum posture across each discipline allowing the body to perform at its full potential which can be summed up in her favourite quote: “First move well, and then move often” – Gray Cook
People who spend more than 5 hours sitting each day need to do planks. Why?
Because sitting for long hours at a time weaken your core muscles which are crucial for providing support for you back and spinal column.
The weaker your core, the more prone to injuries you will be. And planks are especially helpful in countering the detrimental effects of sitting.
In addition, doing plank exercises every day will also give you other health benefits you may not have thought about:
1. Boost Overall Metabolism
2. Improve Core Performance
3. Decreased Risk of Injury To The Back & Spine
4. More Flexibility
5. Improved Posture
6. Improved Balance
7. Mental Health Benefits
It’s worth reading this article by DailyHealthPost in more detail, especially if you suffer with headaches and migraines… strengthening and stretching are two keys to overcome your pain.
We have all woken up with a stiff neck or sore back and immediately thought, “I must have slept the wrong way”.
Most people are aware that poor sleeping posture can cause neck, shoulder and back pain. However the important role that it can play in provoking headache attacks tends to go unrecognized.
Considering we spend almost a third of our life in bed, we ought to pay more attention to our sleeping posture. Perhaps you have an ergonomic chair at work but what about the mattress and pillow on your bed?
A good mattress and pillow can certainly help your sleeping posture. Mattresses and pillows also wear out and need to be replaced regularly.
However it is even more important to look at the way you lie in bed.
Although we change our position many times while we are asleep, we all have a favourite position. This is the position that we adopt automatically as we drift off to sleep, the one we continually return to during the night. Hence it is the position that we spend the most time in. Video studies have shown almost everyone is able to identify it reliably.[5b]
Do you prefer to sleep on your side, on your back or on your stomach? There is some disagreement among scientists and doctors as to whether sleeping on your side or your back is better for the spine.
However all are agreed that sleeping on your stomach is very bad for the spine and should be avoided.
Stopping sleeping on your stomach may be one of the most effective things you can do to stop your headaches. Just what it is wrong with sleeping on your stomach is discussed in the next section.
Having good sleeping posture means that when you are lying in bed in your usual position:
- Your pillow and mattress should support your head and body so that your spine retains its three natural curves, just as when you are sitting or standing.
- Your spine, and especially your neck (cervical spine), should not be twisted to one side – your shoulders and hip bones should be aligned.
The position of your arms and legs should not put any muscles in either an overly shortened or overstretched state. For example, avoid crossing your arms tightly against your chest as shown in the photo.
Awkward positions such as this, when held for hours on end during sleep, will cause or reactivate muscular trigger points and worsen existing muscle imbalances.
Our postural habits are so ingrained that we are mostly unaware of them. It is a good idea to demonstrate the way you usually lie when you go to sleep to your manual therapist and ask them to comment on any possible problem areas that they notice.
This is an excerpt from Stop Headaches Naturally | Chapter 8 - Postural Tips For Sleeping