Unfortunately, headaches have become common-place in today's stressful, fast-paced society. Nearly all adult men and women have at least one headache a year, according to the American Headache Society, and the pharmaceutical companies have lined the drug store shelves with all kinds of over-the-counter medications which promise to bring instant, long-lasting relief. But there are many natural ways to relieve a headache, without resorting to the harmful drugs found in those OTC medications.
Before we treat the symptoms of a headache, we must first try to find the root cause, so we can prevent future headaches from taking hold. Possible causes for headaches include:
- Stress - From work, school, etc. Anything that causes tension and tightening of neck and back muscles.
- Sleep - Lack of adequate, restful sleep (around 7 hours a night).
- Diet - Foods high in sugar, salt, some grains, and a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Dehydration - Proper hydration is key; we need around half our body weight, in ounces, of water per day!
- Eye-strain - From computers, televisions, mobile phones, etc. Our eyes are not meant to handle so much screen time.
In addition to managing the causes listed above, natural remedies for headaches include:
- Essential Oils - Clary Sage, lavender, and even eucalyptus and peppermint oils all have relieving effects on headaches. Dilute a few drops into some coconut oil, then massage into your temples, neck, or upper back.
- Acupuncture & Acupressure - Either a visit to a licensed acupuncturist or practicing acupressure on yourself. Try squeezing the soft spot of skin between your thumb and forefinger, which is said to be a pressure point for relieving headaches. There are many other pressure points on the head and body that respond well to acupressure.
- Exercise & Yoga - A great way to relax, stretch, and practice deep breathing exercises to bring oxygen to the brain and relieve pain and tension is yoga. Also, a brisk walk or jog can increase blood circulation and help the whole body relax.
- Herbal Teas & Supplements - Fever few (tablets or tea) can reduce the severity of headaches, white willow bark tablets have aspirin-like qualities and can relieve the pain associated with headaches. Also, drinking a tea made of peppermint or chamomile can soothe and alleviate discomfort.
- Massage - There's nothing like a good head massage to relieve pain and pressure from a headache. Apply pressure to the temples, top of the head, sides of the head, or wherever the source of pain is.
- Food - Eating foods high in vitamin E, like almonds, avocado, and wheatgerm can help thin the blood, allowing it to flow more easily and relieve tension. Also, foods high in magnesium, like broccoli, beans, nuts, and spinach are known to prevent headaches and reduce their severity.
Do you have any natural methods that you use to relieve the pain and pressure associated with headaches and migraines? What about prevention tips? Please share in the comments!
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