We all know that health is very important to a fulfilling life. In fact, most people have compared health to wealth and declared that they would much rather give up much of their wealth in order to have good health. But really, just as we cannot have perfect wealth, can we also have perfect health? I daresay most of us — if not all — have experienced very minor but nonetheless just as irritating health problems in our lifetime.
Maybe it’s just me, but ulcers are an unavoidable part of my life. Most mouth ulcers are quite harmless, and caused by local trauma such as biting on your lip by accident. However, this doesn’t make them any more pleasant, and they also look terribly ugly to behold. What is worse is when there are multiple ulcers occurring at around the same spot, like a crop of ulcers. One might even lose one’s appetite.
The good thing is that ulcers tend to heal by themselves without intervention, mainly because our saliva is a good healing agent. Maintaining oral hygiene and using an antiseptic mouthwash can speed up healing, since they prevent inflammation. You’ll also do well to avoid spicy or hot food to reduce irritation to the area.
There are many suggested solutions out there, from salt to Vitamin C to even iron. The official medical websites suggest to use a soft toothbrush when brushing your teeth, stick to soft food when eating, and also reduce your stress levels such as by meditating or doing yoga. These are really basically coping mechanisms to wait out the 10 days to a fortnight required for your ulcer to heal.
2. Sore throat
Sore throats are also very common and very irritating, especially because they often don’t come in isolation. Sore throats tend to lead to fevers, or to coughs, and neither of these ailments are particularly appealing either. I choose sore throats specifically because one can lead a pretty functional life even with it, but it’s just as annoying as ulcers.
Usually sore throats are caused by viral or bacterial infections. If you don’t want to visit a doctor to get lozenges (which I admit can’t help sometimes), you can try using paracetamol, which help in the management of pain in the throat. Steroids are also useful, though I doubt we carry steroids around at home. And of course the conventional way of getting around sore throats is by gargling with salty warm water, resting your voice and avoiding air pollution!
I know many people who often suffer from headaches, and their lives are impacted negatively by them. Some of you may know that actually, our brain tissue is not sensitive to pain because it lacks pain receptors. The pain we feel is caused by the disturbance of pain-sensitive structures around the brain. There are all kinds of causes of headaches, and migraines especially are quite elusive in character. Generally people who are likelier to suffer from migraines are people with a family history of migraines and women, primarily women who are taking birth control tablets or have any other hormonal imbalance.
The best way to heal headaches is of course painkillers, but you may also want to adjust your upper body posture, which may be the cause of your headaches. Some people swear by acupuncture, though studies also show that it may be a placebo effect. Of course, learning relaxation techniques is also good for you, whether physically or mentally. There are therapists you can look for to help you in muscle relaxation and also psychological adjustments. And lastly, consider a change in your diet. Caffeine, monosodium glutamates and alcohols can cause chronic headaches, and chronic headache sufferers should also avoid chocolate, processed meats, cheese and nuts. But naturally these causes and treatments differ from individual to individual, and if downing that glass of wine has always made you feel much better, maybe you should continue with it (though you should note that headaches may be delayed).
My ulcer doesn’t feel any better after writing this entry, but all of you poor sufferers out there who are ailing as much as I am, take comfort in the fact that your condition is very common and nothing to be afraid of! We are all not perfectly healthy people and never will be.