When is the last time you opened up the cupboard desperately searching for an aspirin, ibuprofen or Aleve? Over 50 million of us experience some form of a severe headache at some point in our lives. Whether you experience minor head pain or severe migraines, headaches can take valuable time out of your day and your life, and leave you searching for relief.
Headaches come in many forms from the most severe, a migraine to typically the most mild and common, tension type. Cervicogenic, cluster and sinus headaches are among others that one may encounter.
There are hundreds of reasons why an individual can suffer from a headache and as easy as it may seem to grab the common over-the-counter medications such as Advil and aspirin to take away the pain, excessive use can lead to severe side effects including damage to the stomach, liver, or other organs. Even more important than relieving the pain is to discover the root cause of the headaches thereby decreasing or stopping any chance for reoccurrence.
Evaluating why one may be getting chronic headaches and then changing those damaging behaviors or patterns should be the first step. Journaling can help guide an individual to the source. Triggers can be stress, food allergies, dehydration, hypoglycemia, chemical exposure, changes in hormones and many more.
The following alternative treatments can be utilized to both decrease the symptoms, and more importantly, treat the root as to help the body heal permanently without side effects.
Acupuncture: In a recent study, Duke researchers found that acupuncture is more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches after reviewing the results of 31 studies. Researchers found in comparing acupuncture to medication, that 62 percent of the acupuncture patients reported headache relief compared to only 45 percent of people taking medication. Patients in the study showed improvement months following treatment.
Chinese herbal formulations prescribed by a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (O.M.D.).
Meditation, relaxation and/or breathing techniques: Lean back in a comfortable chair, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and relax for at least 15 minutes.
Acupressure of certain points: (1) with one hand press the shallow indentation in the back of the head at the base of the skull, the occipital groove, (2) simultaneously, with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand, press firmly into the upper hollow of the eye socket, right where they straddle the bridge of the nose and meet the “T” of the eyebrow bridge, (3) standing, let your arm hang placing the palm of the hand against the outer thigh and where the middle finger rests press firmly. Press all points for at least five minutes.
Wearing a magnet necklace can help mitigate and prevent headaches as magnets help increase blood flow.
Rubbing either peppermint leaves or peppermint oil into the temples of one’s head shows to be as effective as Tylenol, according to a research study in Germany.
Rosemary, lavender and chamomile essential oils can help ease headaches by rubbing one drop over the area of pain.