Author: Maria Kuzmiak, Wellness Writer
Headaches are one of the most common complaints presented to doctors. Headaches, of which there are several types, can be caused by anything from stress and eyestrain to sinus infections and problems with blood vessels. No matter what kind of headache you experience, if it is a chronic problem, your quality of life is probably suffering needlessly. The good news is that several natural remedies offer very effective headache relief.
If you suffer mostly from tension headaches, the best remedies are those that promote muscle relaxation, while migraine sufferers may do better with remedies that have anti-inflammatory properties. Other underlying causes of headaches, such as infections or dehydration, can also be treated naturally. Here are six effective ways to reduce headache pain without drugs:
Magnesium, an essential mineral that acts as a muscle relaxer, may be deficient in chronic headache sufferers, particularly those who typically get migraines. Taking a magnesium supplement or eating more magnesium-rich foods may help to reduce the occurrence of these headaches. Nuts and seeds, particularly pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflowers seeds, Brazil nuts and almonds, are rich sources of magnesium. Other sources include cocoa powder and dark chocolate.
Since headaches can be caused by food allergies and sensitivities, it’s a good idea to pay attention to your diet to see if your headaches are triggered by the foods you eat. Some of the more common headache-causing foods are caffeinated beverages, certain cheeses, food additives, alcohol and very cold foods like ice cream.
Applying essential oils to the forehead or neck can help alleviate headaches. Peppermint and lavender oils, for example, are said to be effective in reducing headache pain. Oils like lemon balm and rose have a calming effect that can also help if you are prone to stress-related tension headaches.
Many headaches are actually caused by dehydration. Drinking a large glass of water every few hours can help to prevent headaches and even alleviate them if you drink the water as soon as you feel a headache coming on.
White Willow Bark
White willow bark is an herbal remedy whose active ingredient, salicin, is related to the active ingredient in aspirin. In fact, willow bark is often called “natural aspirin”. Aspirin is salicylic acid, a synthetic form of salicin. Unlike aspirin, however, white willow bark will not upset the stomach.
An aromatic herb native to southeastern Europe, feverfew has anti-inflammatory properties that make it useful as a remedy for migraine sufferers. The herb has been used to treat headaches for nearly two thousand years. A study in England showed that people who took feverfew for four months had fewer and less severe migraines than those who did not take it.
If you’re not sure what kind of headaches you suffer from, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor and get a full evaluation. Once you know more about the type and cause of your headaches, you will be able to choose the best approach to treating and preventing them.