10 Natural Remedies to Relieve Headaches & Migraines
We all know how debilitating headaches and especially migraines, are. There are various reasons why headaches and migraines develop, the most common reasons being: dehydration, hormonal, stress/tension related, due to muscle contraction, skeletal displacement or nerve issues. Did you know that 3/4 migraine sufferers are women, most likely due to the hormonal nature of many headaches and migraines?
Treating the underlying cause of frequent or even occasional headaches and migraines is always the first port of call and is something that can often be managed by ensuring that you are getting enough sleep, are sufficiently hydrated, that you reduce and manage stress & tension in your life and by addressing any food intolerances or allergies. Like any other symptom, headaches and migraines are a sign that there is an imbalance in the body that needs to be addressed. It is a sign that we need to slow down and listen to what is going on in our physical and mental bodies rather than just pushing on through ignoring our own signals. Natural therapies are very effective in helping to diminish and in many cases remove the congestion or imbalances that lead to repeated headaches and migraines.
It is important to address the issue as soon as you notice symptoms as this really is the window of opportunity to help you manage these and in most cases get rid of them – by supporting the underlying cause, not by suppressing it – naturally, before they build up and suddenly become unbearable. The aim of this post is to help you out when you actually have or feel a headache coming on as this is when you’re going to be reaching for your usual pain killers. This is a habit that you can break and forthwith begin healing naturally with the tips below. As individuals, certain remedies are more effective for us than others so it would be beneficial to try a combination of the below to see which method of relief suits you best:
- Hydrate: dehydration is a major cause of headaches. On the first sign of symptoms drink a big glass or two of body temperature water.
- Fresh air: go for a walk or at least stand outside and take a few deep breaths to relieve congestion and stuffiness which can lead to headaches.
- Massage: find a quiet spot (the office bathroom will do), close your eyes and gently massage both temples and/or the part of your head where you feel the pain for a few minutes. You can also use a drop of essential oil.
- Reflexology: hold the points in the image below for at least 2 minutes to disperse pain. You can also rub essential oils on these points. Do NOT use this point if you are pregnant or think you may be.
- Cold water: if you are at home, sit your feet in a bucket of cold water for 5-10 minutes, dry them off really well then wrap them up in warm socks. This will bring the blood that is building up at head level down to help warm your feet.
- Apple cider vinegar: place a compress of ACV mixed with water on your head or use it as an inhalation.
- Essential oils: use a couple of drops of lavender or peppermint oil; in an oil burner; on your pillow/a handkerchief; blended in a massage oil; soak a face cloth in water mixed with a couple of drops, ring it out and place it on your head or back of your neck; simply hold the bottle of essential oil under your nose and take a few deep breaths.
- Magnesium: is known to help relieve headaches. Take a supplement, rub magnesium oil on your skin or eat magnesium rich foods such as nuts or make a green juice with spinach, banana (potassium), berries (antioxidants).
- Acupressure mat: this is a wonderful item to have at home as it is great at relieving stress, tension, back pain and helping to disperse tension that leads to and accompanies headaches and migraines by stimulating thousands of acupressure points.
- Alternative on-hand pain killers to have at home: Homeopathy: always have a homeopathic remedy to hand that you can reach for instead of using medication. Different remedies match different types of headaches but a homeopath or local health food store will be able to advise you on a general nerve relaxer. Turmeric (curcumin): is an effective anti-inflammatory spice. Either make a tea using turmeric powder by adding 1 tsp to hot water, add turmeric to your meals or purchase curcumin based ‘pain killers’ in health food shops.
Have you found relief from regular headaches or migraines using natural therapies? Which remedies work especially well for you?