Headache Relief: A Natural Cures Blog Carnival

Mal di testa / Headache
Photo Credit: Aldo Aldoz

Headache Time

by Peggy Webb, Guest Blogger, Local Nourishment.org

We live in a very time-pressed society. Between caring for our children, our aging parents, demands of work and home, spouses and friends, commuting, preparing food (hopefully) for meals and the constant cleaning up that every day requires, we have precious few moments to really slow down and breathe.

I have the luxury of working at home. My daily commute is twenty steps to the desk where I work. My lunches are spent with my family, and the dress code is decidedly casual. I also have the disadvantage of working at home. Depending on how early I rise in the morning, I might have 20 minutes to be alone with my thoughts before the constant conversation and urgent needs of the six other humans (and two cavies) with which I share a house begin making demands of me. It is a rare thing to think a thought through from beginning to end, and even more unlikely one job will be concluded before I am asked to move on to another.

But taking time is essential when you are presented with a family member who needs attention for a physical complaint. The best answer for “Mom, I have a headache” is not “Take an aspirin.” The best answer is “Where and how does it hurt?” Take a moment and ask a few questions. Does the headache fall into one of these patterns?

1    Sinus headaches generally attack the facial area with pressure and sharp points of pain which gets worse when you bend over.
2    A migraine, with its one-sided pain that worsens with light and noise, is often accompanied by nausea.
3    A sudden onset headache with “exploding” and excruciating pain that subsides slowly over the course of an hour can be a cluster headache.
4    Headaches that feel like your temples are being squeezed in a vise and coincide with tension in the shoulders and upper back are usually tension headaches.

Each type of headache has its own location, character, and duration, and each responds to different treatment.

The first treatment I recommend to family members with headaches (no matter what “flavor” they are) is to lie down in a quiet, dark room for 20 minutes. This solves most of the headaches we encounter during the day. If pain persists, treatment might take a variety of courses.

A sinus headache is usually treated with a cold pack to the face. Ice can be tough on the delicate tissues of this area, but a cold, damp washcloth can be very soothing. Because lying flat can cause sinuses to fill and hurt more, I usually recommend the sufferer recline with his or her feet up and head elevated during treatment. Sinus headaches are frequent in our home in springtime, and treating allergies are an important part of avoiding them.

Migraines can be torture for days on end, but if you are quick to act, they can be stopped before fully developing. Rather than starting with prescriptions that change the electrical and chemical function of the brain, we start with a small snack of carbohydrates and protein. Sometimes, regulating blood sugar is enough to stop a migraine cold. When that is ineffective, we reach for Feverfew, an herb that has shown promise among migraine sufferers.

I suffered with cluster headaches frequently as a teenager, and thankfully, they are becoming less frequent as I age. The symptoms—screaming pain, facial numbness, blindness in one eye, and deafness in one ear—are nothing short of horrifying the first few times you experience one. There are few treatments, but some have reported a small dose of caffeine once the worst of the attack is over can keep it from returning the same day. Others say caffeine can trigger an attack. The best remedy is the one that works for you. I’m sorry to say that because of their intense, immediate onset, finding an effective treatment is often difficult.

If you get a headache from driving, or after a certain number of hours at a desk, check your posture. Stress in the shoulders, poor neck alignment, and pressure on the lower back can create tension headaches very quickly. A few deep breaths with your eyes closed (not while the car is in motion, please) can relax you and lower your blood pressure. Taking a five-minute break to stand up, stretch, walk about, and count your blessings can be just what your body is begging for. Taking five minutes to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine can triple their effectiveness.

There can be other triggers of headache pain. A misaligned lower jaw, food sensitivities, even certain types of lighting can bring about a headache.

If you are dealing with a recurring headache—say, a child who complains of a headache every night after bath—check the environment. Is their bath water too hot or cold? Is there mold in the bathroom? Are the bath products strongly scented? Do they pull their heads back at a muscle-wrenching angle while washing their hair? Don’t forget to look back a couple hours. Perhaps a sugary dessert is causing a blood-sugar crash and they need a small piece of cheese before bed.

Aromatics applied to the forehead can help in some cases. A paste of ground cinnamon and clove oil or peppermint oil (test a patch for skin reactions first) can help. Even just sniffing a lovely, relaxing essential oil like lavender, clary sage, or other scent you love can provide relief. Scalp massage feels lovely and is very de-stressing. Back and neck rubs are a godsend when your head is aching.

Adding cayenne pepper to foods can restore balance to circulation problems that are common among migraine and cluster headache sufferers. As always, check with a doctor about embarking on any course of self-treatment at home.

So take the time to really think about the next headache you or a loved one experiences. It doesn’t take much longer than popping an aspirin and can set you on a path of mindful healing.

Peggy-Webb

Peggy Webb is a homemaker, mom of six and blogger. She’s not a doctor, nutritionist or other health care professional, just a student nutrition and herbal health. Her articles are not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your own trusted healthcare professionals about your concerns and questions. Visit Peggy’s blog at LocalNourishment.org.

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Comments

  1. Barbara Grant says:

    I have found when I have a sinus headache something warm on my face feels good. I heat a cloth bag filled with flax seed in the microwave (about its only use) and lay it across my eyes and nose. This helps my headache go away quickly.

  2. There are many natural methods that treat headaches and will also prevent them if used on a daily basis. Feverfew has been shown to prevent migraines as well as treat them. Additionally, ginger and gingko biloba may act as a preventative for headaches. Check here for more Info The Prevention & Treatment of Headaches

  3. Other headache remedies I have found very helpful…migraine headaches which affect the eyes are considered a ‘liver’ headache and can be helped tremendously by taking some fresh lemon juice or lemon in water. My husband gets migraines especially in the spring and has always been able to get them under control quickly with lemons, and the sooner he gets some after the headache starts the quicker it ends. And of course lemons are cheap and everywhere. You can get lemons with water at any restaurant including we have stopped and asked for them at fast food restaurants before when we had no other options.

    Other remedies include something sweet or something salty. Some headaches could be considered expansion headaches and some could be considered contraction headaches. An expansion headache is usually from too many expanding factors in your day including yoga, too much sleep, too many sweets etc. and can be helped by a quick shot of something really salty, such as soy sauce. Contraction headaches are from too many contracting factors such as too much animal products, weight lifting, tasks that require deep concentration, etc. and can be helped by something sweet although preferably not something loaded with refined sugars: fruit, dried fruit, etc. And of course the value of water and proper hydration can’t be ignored in headache prevention either.

    Lots of great ideas in this article. This is a great resource to add to my arsenal in headache treatment! Thanks
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  5. i never know lemon can help to relief the migraine symptom! Thanks for the tips

  6. I think we should not use pills to cure acne.We should use natural remedies to cure acne because natural remedies have no side effect as compare to pills.

  7. Yes, headache is the major problem at present. Stress can cause to headache. It’s better to use natural remedies for headache relief.drinking a large quantity of water is very effective during headache problem. homeremediesfinder suggest to avoid smoking and alcohol and try to take a diet with rich in vitamin c.

  8. Some priceless information here. A friend of mine has headaches every other day and refuses to go to the doctor about it. I’m definitely going to share this advice with her and hopefully things will start to improve and she’ll stop suffering!

  9. I have suffered from migraines and bad head aches for years. This is a terrible affliction and affects every day life. I’m glad I came across this site as there is lots of great information here that I can start implementing at once. Thankyou

  10. Anonymous says:

    People around the world continue to turn to chiropractic care for headache problems. It was estimated in 1995 by the National Institutes of Health that already about 48 million people in the USA used chiropractic treatment, and the numbers around the world are growing. A recent trial done for a PHD thesis at Macquarie University, showed that 60% of migraine sufferers had a reduction in their symptoms during the course of the treatment. They reviewed headache chiropractor and other chiropractic services since 1923, and found a success rate between 72% and 90%. The benefits at times seemed to last for years after the treatments.
    Chiropractic services seem to be most successful in the treatment of back problems, headache and migraine. In a study published in 1995 that related to tension headache, in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. It found that headache chiropractor care did provide some benefits.
    Chiropractic services deals with subluxations (misalignments of vertebrae causing nerve irritation) anywhere along the spinal column, not just in the lower back. Sometimes the vertebrae of the spine become misaligned or lose their range of motion for one reason or another. This misalignment puts pressure on nerves leading to and from the brain. A chiropractor helps put them back in place by using gentle and highly skilled adjustments.
    Going to a headache chiropractor services is a safe and effective way to treat headaches or migraines without drugs. The idea behind chiropractic is not that the condition itself is treated, but that the body is able to heal itself. Some people have dramatic results, and become completely headache free. Some migraine sufferers find complete relief. Others find relief simply from some symptoms or after effects of the migraine attack. The best thing to do is find a chiropractor that you’re comfortable with, and track the results of the treatment over time.
    Cautions:
    There are three things to remember when considering headache chiropractor treatment. First, always talk to your doctor and let her know what you’re doing. You especially need to see your doctor if you’re having new symptoms. Second, choose your chiropractor carefully. Third, remember that headache chiropractor treatment is not a treatment of conditions. It helps the body heal itself. That means that chiropractic care often goes along with other treatments and general healthy living.

  11. Anonymous, I couldn’t have said it better. We get many types of headache sufferers in our clinic. The usual results are that with chiropractic they have fewer headaches.

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