Most people suffer from headaches acutely from time to time during their lifetime, but for some people this can become chronic and maybe be linked to a condition.
The starting point to finding a solution is to identify the type of headache you are suffering from, but this should always be done by a health practitioner.
Types of Headaches
There are various types of headaches, including:
- Tension headaches: This is the most common headache pain; it occurs in the middle and top of the head and can be described as feeling like you have a rubber band around your head.
- Sinus head pain: This commonly causes pain behind the eyes and over the sinuses.
- Cluster headaches: These headaches are a lesser known headache type and the symptoms can present as stabbing, sharp pains in one spot of the head – usually behind one of the eyes, which can often also be watery.
- Migraines: Symptoms include a throbbing pain behind the eyes, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting, tiredness, feeling foggy and more.
What Causes Headaches and Migraines?
Migraines and other head pain may be related to a medical condition or as a result of lifestyle factors. Some of the most common causes include:
- Lack of sleep
- Not eating at regular times
- High blood pressure
- Eyesight strain
- Hormonal changes
- Poor posture
It is also important to take note of any other symptoms, for example like a skin rash, that may accompany any headache, and speak to your health practitioner as soon as you can.
How to Cure Migraines and Headaches Naturally
Below, we share some ways you can cure migraines and headaches naturally, but please remember it is really important to speak to your health practitioner first to understand the reason behind your pain.
How To Treat Tension Headaches Naturally
Tension headaches can be helped by identifying whether this is a physical pain caused by something underlying or whether it is a result of emotional stress. If your tension headaches are caused by stress, there are various ways to tackle this. Meditation, deep breathing, going for a walk, herbal remedies, flower remedies, nutritional therapy, and managing your diary better can all help. It may also be helpful to check your posture or neck at the chiropractor to see if there is a problem.
How To Treat a Sinus Headache Naturally
Sinus headaches may be caused by a pathogen (bacterial, viral or fungal), by an environmental allergen (pollen) or by food intolerance (for example dairy, especially in the case of migraine -cheese, red wine, chocolate, citrus fruits). It is always important to seek professional advice with sinus headaches in case of an infection.
Steam inhalation can be a particularly effective natural remedy for sinus headaches. Using a warm washcloth as a soothing compression can also provide a lot of relief.
How To Treat a Cluster Headache Naturally
The exact cause of cluster headaches is not known. It’s possible there may be a genetic link and it may be triggered by environmental factors such as strong smells from perfumes, petrol and paint. It seems to be exacerbated in people who smoke cigarettes. Avoiding tobacco and alcohol may prove effective in preventing a cluster headache, but treating a cluster headache naturally when one hits can be difficult – if you experience one, getting some rest can be helpful.
How To Treat a Migraine Naturally
As someone who suffers from migraines, I can tell you from personal experience that prevention is much easier than treating a migraine naturally. When you experience a migraine, a cold compress on the forehead can provide relief, or try a wheat bag on the back of the neck to ease the blood vessels. Sleep or rest in a dark room is also helpful.
To try to prevent migraines, make sure you are always well hydrated, well rested and that you eat a balanced diet – avoiding trigger foods. Yoga or meditation can be helpful if your migraines flare as a result of stress.
How To Treat a Headache Caused By a Cold or Flu
Rest is important, as well as hydration, when you are experiencing a headache as a result of a virus. If your head pain is due to a virus then there are some antiviral herbs that may be of assistance, such as Olive Leaf, Echinacea, or Elderberry, but the key may be taking them as a prophylactic measures as a preventative.
If the headache is due to a bacterial infection, this may be more serious which is why it is always important to speak to your health care provider and not self diagnose.
Holistic and Herbal Remedies for Migraines and Headaches
Although migraines have not yet been fully understood, especially as there are various factors that appear to play a role, there have been some well-researched herbal remedies that can help.
There have been mixed results, but the following may be of interest and bring some welcome relief:
Peppermint Essential Oil
Some studies show that dabbing a few drops of this essential oil on your temples may help to lessen the intensity of migraines, but do take care around the eyes as it’s a powerful oil.
Ginger has been widely used for a very long time as a spice and a treatment. Ginger tea is often referenced as a treatment for migraines and it has even been found that ginger powder in a tea had similar effects on reducing migraines as some medications used for treatment.
Tanacetum parthenium, also known as Feverfew, is a flowering plant in the daisy family, Asteraceae.
Some research suggests that Feverfew may help prevent migraine headaches, but results have been mixed.
Butterbur Root, also known as Petasites hybridus, is a type of marsh plant and has been used for medicinal purposes for a long time, and some studies have shown that taking this herb may reduce headaches.
Nutrients for Treating Headaches and Migraines
There are various forms of magnesium on the market and research has shown it could prevent migraines and provide relief. As a muscle relaxant, magnesium can help with tension headaches as well as migraines.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
It’s usefulness in treating migraines is based on the notion that migraine patients have shown to have depletion of energy stores in the cells/ mitochondria.
Coenzyme Q10 is considered an antioxidant and is also involved in cell mitochondrial metabolism and some significance has been shown with migraine relief.