Covid19 has everyone pretty freaked out right now, and there is reason to be concerned - it is contagious (although not as contagious as something like measles) and people are dying (mostly people in their 70's and 80's) - but I believe there is equally good reason to feel heartened and confident.
Why? Because there are things we can do to protect ourselves and to those that we love. Most people are not at risk of becoming critically ill or dying. In fact, it is possible many of us had this virus back in December or January (remember that really really bad cough that was going around?? Hmmm....). We will make it through!
If you want as little risk as possible, the best thing you can do is stay home. Don't expose yourself or others, stay in as long as you don't need to go out and avoid social gatherings. This is a reasonable recommendation until the virus naturally makes its way through more of the population.
The next best thing you can do is wash your hands. Yes. Washing your hands is still the #1 #1 #1 thing you can do to prevent spreading the virus. Wash your hands with soap and water, don't touch your face.
There is also a lot of misinformation out there about Coronavirus, how it spreads and what can or cannot kill it. The Who actually put together a great list of Mythbusters - I highly recommend you check it out!
Here in the US we are still in the early stages of our curve. Yes, it is still likely to get worse before it gets better, but please please realize that we have only just started widespread testing. That means that our numbers could be artificially high in the next 5-10 days. This will be a more accurate picture of what is actually going on, not necessarily representative of a terrible and immediate increase in cases. So please, breathe deep, don't panic, read the statistics and not just the media. The raw data is going to give you a better sense of what is going on compared to a journalists' opinion and synthesis of it.
Good places to get accurate information are the CDC, The WHO Situation Dashboard and your local Department of Health website for your specific county. They will have a Covid19 page at this time - I know Multnomah and Clark County both do.
But I digress - in addition to quarantine and social distancing, staying positive and taking small steps to improve your immunity can go a long way. Stress is also bad for the immune system, and panic itself can be like a virus - if you've seen those empty toilet paper shelves at the store I am sure you can attest to that! Don't be infected by panic - stay calm, stay safe, and do all the little things you can do to keep calm and carry on.
Here is an excellent hand out from Functional Nutrition Lab about some of the Immune SuperHeroes out there that we can mix into our daily routine. Stay focused on what you can do instead of what you can't do and together, we will make it through!
Tension headaches are the most common types of reported headaches that usually consist of a dull ache in the head coupled with tenderness in ones scalp, neck and shoulder muscles. It’s often also described as having a sensation of pressure or tightness reaching the sides and the back of the head as well as the forehead.
Types of Headaches
Although the root cause isn’t yet fully understood, doctors have placed tension headaches into two separate categories. The first being Episodic Tension Headache which can last between 30 minutes and one week. This type of tension headache often occurs less than 15 days in a given month during a 3-month span but these types of headaches can become chronic. The second categorized headache is a Chronic Tension Headache; this type lasts hours and may continue into several days. Victims of chronic tension headaches occur for more than 15 days in a given month and may last up to 3 months at any given time.
It’s important to note that Tension headaches differ from migraines but can often be difficult to differentiate between the two. Migraines are known to disturb vision, can include nausea and vomiting and are usually made worse with physical activity.
These headaches can be caused by a number of items including stress, food, head injuries and so on.
Acupuncture and Tension Headaches
Acupuncture is used to treat headaches through the act of needle stimulation. As the needle stimulates the nerve, hormones such as endorphins are released from your brain throughout your body which then stimulates your immune and circulatory system. Studies claim that this is what relieves migraines and tension headaches.
Acupoints for Headaches
LI-4 - also known as "Union Valley" or He Gu, is the acupuncture point in the “fleshy” area between your index finger and thumb. It can be used to address many conditions, including stress, neck pain, headaches, allergies, stuffy nose, eye problems, toothaches and it can even improve your immunity. This point is also used to promote labor, so it should not be used when pregnant.
Drilling Bamboo- Located in the indentations on either side of the spot near the bridge of the nose where it meets the eye brows. Apply pressure to both points in this area with your index fingers for 10 seconds at a time.
Gates of Consciousness- Place your index fingers at the base of the skull in the parallel hollow areas between the neck muscles that run vertically. Press firmly upwards on both sides of the neck for 10 seconds at a time to relieve headache pain.
Foods to Avoid
If tension headaches are a factor in your life, a list of foods to avoid are as follows:
Fermented and/or pickled foods
Meats such as bacon, hotdogs, salami and cured meats
Foods and drinks that may contain caffeine
If you notice any of these foods aggravating your condition, you may way to remove the above foods from your diet and slowly work them back into your diet, if any of them start causing you headaches, it’s recommended to no longer eat that food.
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.