Headaches are one of the most common ailments. They pay no regard to age, gender or health status, plaguing most everyone from time to time — and creating a reason for drug companies to reap huge profits by selling magic, headache-relieving pills. Headaches generally fall into three categories: cluster, tension and migraine. Knowing which type of headache plagues you will help you find a natural treatment, even if you are new to herbal and homeopathic remedies.
• Cluster headaches generally affect one side of the head and can cause intense pain for a few days before disappearing and reappearing later.
• Tension headaches are often described as creating a “tight band” of pain around the head. Tension headaches are often accompanied by pressure or a feeling of throbbing in the head or neck. The pain can be mild to moderate, changing with intensity during the day.
• Migraine headaches cause severe pain, usually on just one side of the head. Migraine headaches are characterized by impaired vision, sensitivity to light and nausea.
If you’re used to popping an aspirin every time a headache springs up, consider the dangers of taking over-the-counter painkillers — and consider one of these natural approaches instead.
Natural Home Remedies for Headaches
Magnesium can be relaxing to the nervous system and can help relieve migraine headaches and prevent tension headaches. While you can take 200 mg of magnesium two to three times daily, magnesium is best absorbed through the skin, so consider taking an Epsom salt bath for headaches that won’t go away.
Capsaicin, an active compound in cayenne peppers, can help relieve pain by interfering with the transmission of pain signals between the brain and the body. Try rubbing a bit of capsaicin cream on the inside of your nostrils to relieve pain from migraine headaches.
Cut out processed foods. Food additives including MSG (monosodium gluatamate), nitrates (found in processed meats), and the artificial sweetener Aspartame have all been linked to headaches. To reduce your chances of getting a headache, stick with whole foods and dig a little deeper into the ingredients list to find additives that are often overlooked. For example, sulfites in the wine you drink may cause you to have headaches when you drink. Experiment by trying sulfite-free wine. For more on potentially dangerous food additives, check out the article Hazardous Substances in the Kitchen.
Keep a headache diary. It’s easier to find a cure for your headache if you can track when and where they occur, as well as what kind. When you feel a headache coming on, make a note of the day and time, as well as what you’ve had to eat within the past 24 hours, how long (and well) you slept the night before, and other details such as any unusual stress or circumstances in your life. Once the headache has passed, record how long it lasted, where the pain occurred and what techniques you used to make it stop.
Acupuncture or acupressure can help with pain relief from all three types of headaches. Acupuncture involves inserting very tiny needles at strategic points on the body to relieve pain. Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but does not use needles. Massage can also relieve pain from tension headaches.
Practice good posture. Poor posture can trigger all three types of headaches, but sitting up straight can help keep strain off your muscles and prevent them from tensing up.
For more natural solutions, check out the post Natural Relief From Headaches, Even Migraines.
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