Headaches are a symptom, not an illness in themselves. There are a few possible causes and most of these can be treated without reaching for the painkillers. Resourceful home remedies can provide gentle, quick, and lasting relief. Stress, overexertion, sensitivity to weather, low blood sugar, colds, dental problems, and psychological issues can all trigger a headache.
Tension headaches involve cramping of the neck and shoulder muscles and respond well to acupressure treatments. Migraines, a specific type of headache, take the form of pulsating pain on one side of the head, often accompanied by sensitivity to light and noise, nausea, vision abnormalities, and neurological problems.
Possible triggers include alcohol, caffeine, cheese, and the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG), plus a lack of sleep, stress, and hormonal influences.
Home Remedies –
• Rest for a few minutes on the sofa and place some ice cubes wrapped in a cloth on your forehead.
• Rub a few drops of lemon balm, peppermint, lavender, or rosemary essential oil on your temples, forehead, and neck (not suitable for people with neurodermatitis or children under two years).
• After removing the white inner skin, place them inside of a lemon peel on your temples for a few minutes.
• Sprinkle cooled, strained lime flower tea on a cotton cloth and place the cloth on your forehead like a headband.
• For a relaxing neck compress wrap flaxseed, chopped onions (warmed in a pan of hot water or microwave) or hot mashed potatoes in a cotton cloth and hold on your neck until the compress cools.
• Eat your greens. Studies suggest that migraine sufferers may have low blood levels of magnesium and could benefit from magnesium therapy. Dark-green, leafy vegetables, nuts, and fruits are good sources of this mineral.
• Posture plays an important role in tension headaches, so pull those shoulders back and stand up straight.
• If a migraine strikes, head for a quiet, dark room for a little rest to help relieve the pain.
• Freshly boiled tea made from white willow bark contains salicin, a natural relative of the acetylsalicylic acid used in many common pain medications. To prepare the tea: Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried white willow bark in 1 cup (250 ml) cold water and boil briefly. Let steep for 5 minutes, strain, and sip a cup at a time, several times a day.
• If a headache is caused by nasal or sinus congestion, perhaps from a cold or hay fever, try a little bathwater aromatherapy. Put some eucalyptus or peppermint oil in the hot bathwater for inhalation and relaxation.
• Caffeine makes pain medications 40 percent more efficient, so drinking small amounts may help hasten and increase relief unless you are sensitive to it.
• If you take aspirin or ibuprofen frequently, stop. These drugs can cause “rebound headaches” that starts when a dose of medication begins to wear off.
• Avoid any form of nicotine as it constricts blood vessels.
• Limit alcohol consumption. Its toxic metabolic products increase the risk of a headache.
• Red wine and chocolate can trigger headaches in those with sensitivities.
• Get enough sleep and rest.
• Exercise such as jogging, walking, and swimming encourages circulation and reduces stress.
• Feverfew doesn’t just prevent fever; it reduces the frequency and intensity of migraines in those who take it regularly. Used for thousands of years by healers around the world, the herb can be grown in your garden, in a balcony pot, or picked up in supplement form from a pharmacy or health food store
When to Consult a Doctor –
If unexplained headaches persist, make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible.