In the course of a year, half of all adults on Earth will suffer from a headache. Headaches are not only painful, but they are also responsible for huge losses in productivity. Curing them is a massive business for producers of pain medications from aspirin to addictive opioids. Fortunately, there are natural remedies for headaches that are worth a try.
Types of Headaches
Headaches are divided into two categories, primary and secondary. Primary headaches are stand-alone occurrences and do not result from an underlying condition. The problem lies in the blood vessels, nerves and muscles that respond to pain. Types of primary headaches include tension, migraine, cluster and sinus.
Secondary headaches result from an underlying cause and might require a visit to the doctor. A hangover headache, of course, is caused by too much alcohol consumption. What some call “brain freeze” (sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia) is also a secondary headache caused by cold foods like ice cream, as are headaches resulting from teeth grinding, TMJ syndrome, or overuse of pain medication (rebound headaches).
The following natural remedies target primary and less serious secondary headaches.
When in doubt, hydrate. Whether you are suffering from a simple hangover or a tension headache, simply drinking more water might improve the situation. Counterintuitively, beverages like coffee, alcohol and sugary drinks can worsen dehydration. Even mild dehydration can be triggering, so keep that water bottle handy.
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, a compound that inhibits pain perception by a polypeptide in the body called substance p. It also reduces inflammation. The method of use requires mixing the pepper with water. A swab is dipped in the mixture and applied to the lower part of the nasal cavity.
Seventy-five percent of Americans are not getting enough magnesium in their diets. This can cause some migraines as well as menstrual headaches. Magnesium sulfate is commonly used in emergency rooms to treat acute headaches.
If you are considering increasing your magnesium intake, consult with a professional first as too much can have negative side effects. Magnesium is present in dark, leafy greens, spinach, and chard. Also, in seeds, mackerel, bananas, yogurt, and avocado.
Nuts, especially almonds, are a good source of salicin, a glucoside also found in willow bark (similar to aspirin). It has been shown to be effective in lessening pain associated with tension headaches. Caution must be exercised because almonds have been known to trigger headaches in some migraine sufferers.
This plant contains a parthenolide that is similar to aspirin in that it constricts blood vessels and reduces inflammation. This eases the pressure of, in particular, migraine headaches. Drinking feverfew in tea form has very few side effects.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been used to treat a myriad of medical complaints from digestive problems to sore throat. In the form of a compress or steamed, it offers relief from sinus headaches. It can also be used in a detox bath along with essential oils like lavender and peppermint.
One easy way to reduce the incidence and severity of tension headaches is relaxation exercise. Try some yoga stretches, breathe deeply to increase oxygen intake and drop your shoulders to relieve some of the shoulder and neck stress that brings these headaches on.
Monosodium glutamate (MSP) is added to many foods to ramp up flavor. Derived from the amino acid, glutamic acid, it is an neurotransmitter trigger that is known to bring on migraine in some people. Because it is considered to be a natural ingredient, it does not need to be listed separately on food labels. Foods that tend to have a high MSG content include Chinese food, processed meat, gravies, soups and soy products.
Ginger root operates in a similar way to aspirin in that it inhibits a fat-producing process that can trigger migraines. If you happen to suffer a migraine with nausea, ginger can help alleviate that symptom.
Lavender and Peppermint Essential Oils
Applying lavender and/or peppermint essential oils to the forehead and temples can help to relax you and relieve muscular tension headaches, as well as some migraines.
Acupressure is the Chinese method of stimulating pressure points on the body which correspond to other body systems and pain transmittal. The neck, a repository of tension, has pressure points for the lymphatic, circulatory, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems. Consult an acupressure chart for pressure points that correspond to your particular type of headache or symptom.
Like acupressure, Chinese acupuncture also targets the flow of energy and pain transmission in the body.
Chiropractic treatment has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and concentrations of free radicals associated with damage to cell structures. Even if treatments don’t entirely banish headaches, they have been shown to be effective in reducing severity in some patients.
Unless your headache is associated with serious underlying problems which require a doctor’s care, there are natural remedies for headaches available to either prevent or treat one of mankind’s most common maladies.
When carefully and accurately prescribed by a well-trained, homeopathic doctor, homeopathic remedies can provide significant relief from acute and chronic headaches. Worldwide clinical research has proven the effectiveness of homeopathy for headaches. Find a homeopathic physician near you at https://homeopathyusa.org/member-directory.html