Headaches that happen only occasionally can be dealt with in a few simple ways listed below.
For more recurrent headaches go back to basics and look at your diet, environment and lifestyle.
Its easy to be distracted by the pain of a headache and to miss the obvious, so take a few minutes to centre using your breath. Focus within yourself and feel what your body maybe trying to tell you. This might be that you are hungry, or thirst, or poor posture and so on. Follow this with a few deep breaths and allow your body to relax before acting on what else it is your body needs.
Take a break from your stressful hectic headache causing day but taking 10 mins to sit quietly undisturbed and meditate. The time spent is a good stress buster and is a worthwhile investment in your health. If you are new to meditating, imagine your most favourite, relaxing, place to be, and remember what it’s like to be there. Remember how it feels. See in your mind’s eye the details, such as colours, smells, patterns, this technique helps you to stay in the image uninterrupted by thoughts, and this is meditating!
- Hot and cold compress
Using just 2 face cloths, soak one in hot water, and one in cold water. Wring out both and place the cold one on your forehead, and the hot one on the back of your neck. Tension headaches can originate in neck tension, and the warm compress increases circulation and relaxes the muscles. The cold compress constricts expanded blood vessels and soothes the throbbing.
Massage has many benefits for headaches. In the hands of an expert massage therapist any contributions to the headache by bad posture, tight muscles, stress are all massaged away! Too easy!
A word of warning however, if your headache is a detox headache from giving up sugar, coffee, alcohol etc, then a massage may accelerate the detox and cause a worsening of symptoms and possibly nausea.
- Essential oils
Mix 3 drops of lavender and 1 drop of peppermint in the palm of your hand, then carefully massage this blend into the back of your neck and your temples, being careful to keep away from eyes as the peppermint will sting. The lavender is relaxing, the peppermint works like both a cool and a warm compress.
To clear a foggy head and help you focus inhale basil or rosemary.
As some scents can trigger headaches in other people nearby, less is more, and just a drop or 2 is all that is needed to make a difference.
Ginger sliced into your favorite herbal tea is a gentle way to get the anti-inflammatory benefits to help soothe your headache..
Turmeric is everyone’s favourite anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. The active component of turmeric is curcumin. Try a curcumin supplement before reaching for a pharmaceutical pain reliever, as it will be gentler on your stomach.
Feverfew a herb traditionally used for migraine, this should be taken regularly to prevent them.
As with any herbs, it is best to consult a herbalist or naturopath to prescribe the right one for you and ensure there are no interactions or contraindications.
Magnesium can help with tension headaches as it is involved with muscle contraction and relaxation.
Magnesium deficiency has been found to occur when there is high blood pressure, and headaches can be a symptom. Its a good idea to get a regular blood pressure check.
Dehydration is a common cause of headaches. It may be simply not drinking enough water, or it might be drinking diuretics such as coffee and alcohol, either way, a headache may be your body’s way of asking you to drink more water.
If you have a sweet cravings combined with thirst and headaches, it may be worth getting your blood sugar levels checked for possible insulin resistance or diabetes.
And if you need more reasons to drink more water, see our article:
Water: 10 Reasons Why You Should Be Drinking More
Headaches are the body’s way of saying something is out of balance, it’s time to stop and pay attention. What is your body telling you?
Maria Mitchell is a qualified herbalist, energy healer, aromatherapist, meditation, workshop facilitator and author – with a passion for helping you find solutions for pain, stress, insomnia and addictions. You can learn more about Maria here
To learn more about headache relief join Maria in her Pain Relief Workshops and find out how you can find a better way than just living with pain.
- Geiger H, Wanner C. Magnesium in disease. Clin Kidney J 2012;5(Suppl 1):i25-i38.
- Jahnen-Dechent W, Markus Ketteler M. Magnesium Basics. Clin Kidney J (2012) 5 (Suppl 1):i3-i14.