Headaches are so common that most people don’t question ‘why’ they have a headache, they simply pop a pill or two and go about their day.
But it is important to know why you are experiencing headaches, what is the root cause and how you can put a stop to it!
Here are the 3 most common types of Headaches:
Migraine headaches – throbbing pain on one side of the head which can last for days and occur multiple times a month. This type of headache can induce light sensitivity, nausea, stomach discomfort and lethargy.
Stress headaches – mild to moderate pain that may be constant or may come and go frequently. This is usually all over the head and is common in teenagers and university students due to high stress levels.
Sinus headaches – Inflamed sinuses can cause pain on the forehead, bridge of the nose and around the eyes. Usually other sinus symptoms, such as a runny nose, fever and pressure in the ears occur at the same time.
So what causes headaches? In general, headaches occur due to a combination of nerve signals sent from the blood vessels and muscles in the head and neck. Headache triggers include…
- Back strain
- Environmental exposure e.g. second-hand tobacco smoke, smells from chemicals/perfumes
- Sinus infections, colds, fever or throat infection.
- Heredity, especially migraines
- Food allergies
- Hormone imbalance
- Vitamin or mineral imbalance
- Consumption of Artificial sweeteners e.g., Aspartame
Taking ‘over the counter’ medication is the most popular solution to fixing headaches, but I prefer using natural remedies as often as possible. Besides most painkillers deplete nutrients such as Vitamin C, folic acid and melatonin so its better to keep them for times when nothing else works.
I cannot say enough about Magnesium, it is one of the most underrated minerals we have, especially since it is involved in over 300 bodily functions! Magnesium is a relaxant, it calms the nerves, supports neurotransmitter functions, reduces pain and vasoconstriction and is way better than most OTC meds.
Magnesium can be found in nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains so it is important to ensure that some of these are part of your daily diet.
But when it comes to headaches you will need a much stronger dose of Magnesium which can be obtained in Supplement form. In my home we always have Magnesium Bis-glycinate- 200mg. At the first sign of a headache, I take 2 capsules right away. Contact your primary healthcare provider for more information.
2. Gluten Avoidance
Gluten consumption can cause headaches in people who may have a gluten sensitivity or allergy but don’t know it. This can especially be true for those experiencing Migraines.
Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, couscous, semolina etc. If you suspect that this may be the reason you have headaches completely remove gluten from your diet for 3 weeks and see if it makes a difference.
3. Peppermint Essesntial Oil
This oil is always in my handbag! It is such a versatile oil and especially effective for headaches. Peppermint oil is cooling, and it is believed that this increases the blood flow to the forehead and relaxes muscle contractions. Dilute a few drops of peppermint essential oil in a carrier oil such as coconut, almond, olive, jojoba and rub on the painful area including the neck. If possible, try to take a nap afterwards.
4. Chiropractic Care
I have concluded that Chiropractors are magicians, given that within a few minutes they can fix much of the distress in the body- at least for me! When nothing else works for my headaches, my Chiropractor DOES- she tells me the reason I am likely experiencing the headache and fixes the problem right away-phew!
5. De-Stress Bath
A hot Epsom Salt Bath with Lavender essential oil is a great way to relax the body and mind. Epsom salts are Magnesium Sulfate, so they bring in the benefits of Magnesium (as discussed above). Lavender essential oil is a relaxing and calming oil so the 2 work well together.
I recently had a very bad migraine headache which was just not settling down, so I sat in this bath, and it immediately took the edge off the pain. One of the reasons this works fast is because the Magnesium enters the body through the skin, given the surface area of the skin you can imagine how quickly and how much Magnesium is getting absorbed! To make a De-Stress Bath fill your tub with hot water (a temperature that is comfortable for you), add 2 cups of Epsom salt and 10 drops of Lavender essential oil. Soak in the tub for 20 minutes with your eyes closed.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of being hydrated. Whenever I have a non-Migraine headache and I trace back to my water intake of the last 48 hours I can almost always find a correlation. Additionally, the dehydrating effects of coffee, sugary drinks and alcohol deprive our bodies of this essential life force. Be sure to consume a minimum of 7 glasses of water a day plus hydrating fresh produce such as cucumbers, spinach, watermelon, citrus fruits, and berries.
7. Eucalyptus Oil
for Sinus headaches I have found this to be the best remedy. Eucalyptus essential oil opens the nasal passages and releases the sinus pressure whilst cleansing the body of harmful toxins.
For a Steam Inhalation boil some water in a medium pot on the stove, once it starts boiling turn the heat to the lowest setting, add 6 drops of eucalyptus oil to the water cover you head with a towel and bend down for a steam inhalation making sure to keep your eyes closed. Do not touch the pot just bend down close enough to avail maximum steam, do this for a few minutes 3x day.
At bedtime add 5-8 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil to a carrier oil and rub on your chest, back, neck, nose, forehead, and temples to alleviate nasal build up and open the airways.
8. Simple O2
Fresh air is the best form of increasing oxygen in the body and improving blood flow to the brain. The indoor air is so heavily polluted that we must make a conscious effort to enjoy the outdoors as often a s possible. A 15-minute walk in nature can be enough to oxygenate the body and brain and reap the many benefits of fresh air!
Next time your head is throbbing try some of these natural remedies 😊
Health Disclaimer: This information is for educational purpose only.
Always consult your primary healthcare practitioner before making any dietary/supplement/ health changes.