Chances are, you’ve had a headache or migraine at least once in your life. Some people have to deal with chronic headaches and often regularly rely on over the counter medicine or even pain medication to relieve headaches. But, there are ways to relieve headaches naturally. Instead of reaching for the advil next time you start feeling pressure or pain in your head, try a few of these natural remedies to help treat your headache.
You have probably heard that you need to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water every day, hydration is an important part of preventing and relieving headaches. I also recommend drinking clean, purified water to avoid chemicals and toxins that can be found in tap water. When your reaching for a cup to drink out of, opt for a glass rather than a plastic cup to avoid chemicals that can be released when plastic is exposed to heat. Bottled water companies increasingly use BPA-free plastic, but other chemicals can seep out of bottles when they’re exposed to heat (like in your car) or sit around for a long time. Some of these chemicals can be endocrine disruptors.
Research shows that spinal manipulation – one of the primary treatments provided by doctors of chiropractic – may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck. Chiropractic adjustments ensure the spine is in proper alignment and there is minimal irritation to the nerves exiting the spine. The nerves leaving the neck send messages to the upper shoulder muscles, neck muscles and skull. When these nerves have increased pressure caused by spinal misalignment, tension and inflammation of the muscles occur. Tension in the muscles of the neck and shoulders is a major reason behind headaches and migraines.
Improve your posture and stretch.
As mentioned above, most headaches are caused by muscle tension in the neck. We engage in more sedentary activities than ever before with more and more hours spent in a single fixed position or posture (like sitting in front of a computer). This can increase joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back, and scalp, causing your head to ache. Taking the time to stretch and getting up and moving throughout the day can help to release tension and prevent muscles from become tight and inflamed. Try getting up from your desk or changing positioning every 20-30 minutes.
I’ve mentioned the benefits of magnesium before and it’s just as good for headaches as it is for sleep. A low magnesium count can cause more frequent headaches. Taking magnesium every day can reduce the frequency of your headaches, among other health benefits. Magnesium is inexpensive and very easy to find, so try incorporating it into your health routine instead reaching for OTC medicine.
Using essential oils like peppermint oil or lavender oil can help to relieve headache symptoms. Peppermint oil stimulates skin blood flow in the forehead, and it soothes muscle contractions. Research has shown that the use of lavender oil is a safe and effective treatment of migraine headaches. To use essential oils to relieve a headache or migraine, apply a couple of drops to your forehead and temples, or you can also diffuse the oil to have the relief surround you.
Take a B-complex vitamin.
Many B vitamins help form neurotransmitters, like serotonin. A deficiency in serotonin can sometimes be found in people who suffer from migraines. Vitamin B2 may reduce the frequency and duration of migraines, while vitamin B3 calms vascular headaches by opening up blood vessels to increase blood flow. Taking a daily B-complex vitamin, I recommend this option, can provide many health benefits as many of us are deficient in some B vitamins.
Apply heat or ice.
When thinking about using temperature to relieve a headache, many people aren’t sure whether they should use a hot or a cold compress. The answer is that it varies depending on the type and cause of the headache, and the individual. Those with tension headaches might prefer using a warm compress, while people with migraines often prefer cold. Whether you are fighting a migraine or fending off a tension headache, either hot or cold can offer pain relief. So, if you try one with no success, give the other end of the temperature spectrum a try and see idea which works best for you.
What natural headache remedy works best for you?