Headaches/Migraines: Natural Cure & Prevention

headache

Most people (frequently or infrequently) experience headaches at some point in their lives. Below are natural therapies that have been effectively shown to ameliorate headaches and/or migraines:

Stress reduction: Integrative therapies like yoga, therapeutic touch, and relaxation techniques, reduce migraine attacks by decreasing levels of stress. A common stress-reduction is to focus on slow and natural breathing through the nose.

Regular sleep patterns: It is important to get consistent sleep each night. Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is typically recommended by healthcare professionals.

Regular exercise: Regular aerobic exercise reduces tension and can help prevent migraines. If a doctor agrees, choosing an aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming, or cycling, may help decrease migraine attacks. Warm up slowly, however, because sudden, intense exercise can cause headaches.

Diet:

  • Avoid dietary amines: chocolate, cheese, citrus and alcohol
  • Avoid food additives and colorings
  • Eliminate foods and drinks containing aspartame (NutraSweet) – source of many chronic headaches
  • Increase fiber (by eating vegetables) and complex carbohydrates
  • Avoid sugary foods and caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. Make sure to drink plenty of water and try not to skip meals.

Herbal remedies. These are the most effective herbs for treating headaches/migraines. They have sedative, anti-inflammatory or anti-spasmodic effects.

- Peppermint is commonly available in “essential oil” form, which may be therapeutically applied to the temples & forehead or used for aromatherapy.

- Feverfew is a leafy herb typically taken in capsule form.

- Butterbur may be taken in tablet form.

 

Hydrotherapy. Apply a cool, moist towel to the forehead. And if possible, place your feet in a small tub of warm water (98-100 degrees F). If blood is congested in the head, doing so will draw blood away from the top to the lower parts of the body, decreasing vascular tension.

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Massage. If you can’t find a friend to gently massage your shoulder/neck area, take a few minutes and practice giving yourself a scalp massage. Try and locate those areas with relatively high tension.

Another option is to place a tennis ball on the floor softly beneath the muscles of the lower neck, between the shoulder blades and along your spine. Roll over the ball slowly, or leave it in a single area of high tension. All the while taking slow, deep breaths. Massage will relieve pressure points and improve circulation, including occluded areas in the back that may radiate up to cause pain in the neck.

Foam rollers are great for this as well!

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References

“Migraine.” (2013): n.pag. Natural Standard. Web. 11 May 2013. <http://www.naturalstandard.com/databases/conditions/all/condition-migraine.asp?

“Natural Medicines in the Clinical Management of Headache.” n.pag. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Web. 11 May 2013. <http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/ce/CECourse.aspx?cs=CP&pm=5&s=nd&pc=12-105&searchid=41098172

L. Vicky Crouse, ND and James S. Reiley, ND, . “Headache.” (2008): n.pag. Natural Medicines Protocol for doctors. Web. 11 May 2013. <http://www.naturalopinion.com/nmp/lib-ncnm.html>.

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