How to get rid of a headache without drugs
Avoiding medications may prevent future headaches.Headaches. For those of us who get them, they can be painful, annoying and even debilitating depending on their severity. While the simplest solution for many is an aspirin or two, physicians warn that the overuse of over-the-counter pain medications can actually cause headaches to worsen and become chronic. For those looking for an alternative, there are many holistic and natural headache remedies available.
A close relative to the ancient Chinese healing method acupuncture, acupressure helps alleviate headache pain by stimulating channels of energy termed meridians. A trained acupressure specialist uses his or her fingertips to apply pressure, relieving headache (and other types) of pain. Some simple acupressure techniques can be done at home. For example, to relieve the pain of a tension headache, push down on the top of the skull for 30 seconds, three times in a row, while breathing deeply.
Headaches caused by muscle tension or misalignment can be relieved by massage or a visit to the chiropractor. Chiropractors can re-align the spine, taking the pressure off the muscles and nerves, which in turn will relieve the pain. Massages not only help you relax your mind which alone can help alleviate headache pain, but relax your muscles as well, working out knots that can cause pressure and stiffness. Certified massage therapists specialize in headache relief and know how to work the back of the neck, occipital area, shoulder area and trapeziums, the tension of which can all contribute to headache pain.
- Bryonia (Wild Hops) – Considered most effective on headaches described as "splitting."
- Iris (Blue Flag) – Best for migraine headaches with visual aura.
- Sanguinaria (Blood Root) – Best for migraines with vomiting.
- Spigelia (Pink Root) – Considered most effective on "left side" headaches accompanied by stiff neck and sore shoulders.
- Rosemary, lavender and chamomile oils- Gently rub a drop of oil on the area where you have the most pain.
Dehydration is one of the major causes of headaches so making sure you drink enough water is important in preventing them. Once you have a headache, drinking water may help alleviate the pain as your body re-hydrates.
It is estimated that many types of headaches are caused by stress. Tension headaches and pain caused by tight muscles are two examples. Learning simple relation techniques can help soften these muscles, taking the "squeeze" of susceptible areas of the shoulders, neck and forehead.
A great way to encourage your muscles to relax is a heat pack. Simply warm the pack to a comfortable temperature, place on the affected area and breathe, willing your muscles to loosen and your body to soften and relax. Many (myself included) find that headaches brought on by stress hurt most around the base of the skull, down into the neck.
The heat works great for this type of pain, however for headaches caused by eyestrain and migraines, cold packs often have better results. One method is to place a cold pack on your head while at the same time placing a heating pad on your feet. This is believed to stop the dilation, which is often the cause of headache pain and will allow you to get rid of a headache without drugs.
Throughout the day, check for tight or rigid muscles and take a few moments to stretch and loosen them before the tightness can result in a headache. When at home, take a few minutes for yourself to close your eyes, stretch and relax in order to ward off headaches.
Migraine headaches are often caused by diet. Known offenders are chocolate, cheese and red wine amongst others. Preventing headaches may mean eliminating these from your diet. Once you have a headache however, there are some foods, which can help alleviate the pain. One of these is cherries. Anthocyanins, a natural pigment in cherries may help prevent tension headaches. Another food that may help is chili peppers. Capsaicin, which gives peppers their bite, may help prevent cluster headaches. While downing a chili pepper may not seem appealing, the severe pain associated with cluster headaches may make the bite of the pepper well worth it.
Exercise gets the blood flowing and releases natural endorphins, both of which can help ease the pain of a headache. Take your exercise outside into the fresh air and you have a double dollop of natural remedy.
Studies show that oxygen may be beneficial in reducing the pain associated with cluster headaches and help sufferers get rid of a headache without drugs. Cluster headaches are extremely painful, generating waves of pain usually around one eye and can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Cluster headaches are especially debilitating due to their nasty habit of returning, sometimes up to eight or 10 times a day. Oxygen, which is available by prescription, helps those who suffer from cluster headaches. These headaches are caused by an increase of blood flow to the brain and breathing pure oxygen counteracts this, reducing the pain and frequency associated with these types of headaches.
The above natural remedies will help you get rid of a headache without drugs.