Most people at some point may suffer from a headache. Symptoms range from a sense of constriction, aching, or mild to severe pain in one or more parts of the head and/or the back of the neck and even the upper shoulders. The majority of headaches don’t indicate a serious disorder and, in non-chronic cases, may be relieved by simple changes in diet or lifestyle. Natural remedies have an excellent track record supporting people with such ailments, so try one or more of the following:
Often headaches are the result of dehydration. If you feel a headache coming on, a large glass of filtered, tepid or room temperature water can rehydrate you quickly, and the warmer temperature reduces strain on the body. Adding a tiny pinch of Himalayan pink or grey salt, or a splash of coconut water to your water can help replenish electrolytes (important mineral constituents for nerve conductivity and general health). Drinking caffeinated drinks can be diuretic, causing the body to lose water. Coffee, black tea, energy drinks and cola should be reduced gradually (if you wish to lower the possibility of withdrawal headaches) and replaced with green tea which has less caffeine and is better for you.
Try Herbal Tea
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), Ginger root (Zingiber officinale) and Skullcap (Scutellaria sp.) are all traditional herbal remedies for headache relief, and are a good swap for tea/coffee. Buy ready-made blends or simmer herbs gently on the stove for 15 minutes, (1 tablespoon of herb to 3 cups of water). Strain and serve.
Sniff Essential Oils
Peppermint and rosemary essential oils have been found effective for certain types of headache, as has lavender. Sniff regularly when you feel a headache coming on. Opt for pure, organic essential oils as ‘fragrance oils’ may be synthetic and they don’t have the same healing qualities. A couple of drops of essential oils in the shower can create a lovely therapeutic steam, especially good in clearing a sinus headache brought on by a cold or the flu.
Gentle neck and shoulder massage with a drop of lavender in jojoba oil is great for stress-induced tension headaches. Warming the stress-prone areas like the neck and lower back with a hot water bottle or warmed wheat bag can also bring relief.
Sometimes a headache is the result of being over-tired. Avoid alcohol, screens and large meals in the couple of hours before bed, to increase your chances of a restful night’s sleep.
Seek Professional Help
Headache can be a symptom of other health problems. If you have severe or persistent pain, consult a suitably qualified health professional. If all other causes are excluded, something in your diet or lifestyle may be causing a problem. Common triggers include certain foods, additives, seasonal and hormonal fluctuations. A naturopathic nutritional therapist can help you identify possible triggers and how to address them.