Almost everyone has a headache once in a while, but when the pain becomes persistent, it can be debilitating. Before you reach for an over-the-counter remedy or prescription medication that can cause serious side effects including dependency, consider how these natural remedies can help you manage or eliminate headache pain.
Regularly stretching your back, neck, and shoulder muscles can stop headache pain before it starts. When you’ve been sitting at your computer too long and feel the tension starting to build, try a few simple shoulder shrugs and work your neck through its natural range of motion. As your awareness of muscle tension builds over time, you’ll become better attuned to when your body needs a break.
Headache triggers may be lurking in your diet. Consider eliminating these common culprits:
- Nitrates and nitrites found in bacon and processed deli meats
- Sulfites, found in dried fruits, red wine, and aged cheeses
- Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and energy drinks
- Monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer found in many processed foods
A skilled chiropractor will evaluate your headache and develop a comprehensive treatment plan that includes a wide range of proven natural remedies including nutrition, exercise, ergonomics, and more.
Heat and Cold
Headaches have many causes and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to calming the pain, but for the discomfort of migraines, applying ice directly to a throbbing temple can help. The reason it works isn’t clear, but research suggests it causes irritated blood vessels to constrict, easing the pounding.
For headaches due to tension in your neck and shoulders, apply warm packs to relax the muscles and improve blood flow to the area. A warm shower is helpful, but microwaveable warm packs are convenient and portable.
Scents are very personal and for some, can trigger headaches, but essential oils of peppermint, rosemary, and lavender have anti-inflammatory and stress relieving properties that may ease symptoms. For sinus pain, eucalyptus oil is an effective natural decongestant.
If you’ve noticed tenderness in your neck and shoulders before a headache, tight muscles may be to blame. Knots of muscle fibers and connective tissue in these areas can be the starting point for an ache that encompasses your head like an ever-tightening band.
Regular therapeutic massage can loosen tight muscle fibers and improve the circulation needed for healing, but self-massage techniques are easy to learn and can be performed anywhere.
Dim the Lights
A migraine sufferer’s first line of defense against pain is to seek a darkened room. Why wait? Bright lights that cause glare can provoke headaches. Replace harsh cool lighting with softer white and yellow hues.
Headache pain is hard to live with, but by making these natural remedies a part of a self-help management approach, you can get back to enjoying a full life with as little pain as possible.