Headaches can be caused by many things, and treatments usually vary. Most people use over-the-counter medications to obtain relief from headaches. However, pain killers are not the perfect solution as they cause many unpleasant side effects.
To get rid of headaches safely and effectively, here are some alternative therapies you should try. (h/t to AskDrSharh.com)
Biofeedback therapy is a mind-body therapy that can help change the way your body functions. With the help of feedback instruments, which measure bodily functions, a practitioner can teach you how to create physiologic changes to improve your physical and mental health. Because physical and mental tensions often cause or worsen headaches, biofeedback therapy coupled with relaxation techniques can help you control and prevent headaches. In fact, these non-invasive approaches have been found to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches by up to 60 percent.
Stress is one of the most common triggers of headache and is a risk factor for the onset of chronic migraines. Therefore, learning how to manage your stress levels can greatly help alleviate migraines and headaches. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can also help prevent stress-triggered migraines.
Mild to moderate exercise
Regular exercise can help prevent headaches and migraines in more than one way. Some of the benefits of exercise include helping with sleep, improving your mood and reducing stress, the biggest migraine trigger. When you exercise, your brain also releases natural pain killers called endorphins, which can help relieve headaches. Endorphins are also known to promote a sense of well-being.
Cold therapy has been used as a remedy for headaches for more than a century. Since cold can constrict blood vessels, it can reduce the transmission of pain signals to your brain. Applying a frozen neck wrap at the onset of a migraine also cools the blood flowing to the carotid artery in your neck, which helps reduce inflammation in the brain. This, in turn, helps reduce the pain caused by a migraine.
Despite the effectiveness of cold therapy, some people may find relief from having something warm pressed to their skin instead. Although not scientifically proven to relieve migraines, heat therapy has been found to benefit people with tension headaches. Because heat helps dilate blood vessels, promotes blood flow and relaxes tense muscles, heat therapy can relieve tension headaches, which are caused by tense scalp or neck muscles.
Acupuncture is a healing art developed by ancient Chinese healers to help balance the flow of qi, or life force, inside a person’s body. Today, acupuncture is widely used to treat pain and promote overall health and wellness. According to research, the stimulation caused by the insertion of needles into strategic acupuncture points can boost your body’s natural pain killers, which can help with headaches or migraines. Large-scale clinical studies have consistently shown that acupuncture provides better pain relief than conventional treatments.
An antioxidant naturally produced by your body, CoQ10 is said to offer heart benefits. But levels of this antioxidant decrease with age, so people often take CoQ10 supplements to help treat or prevent heart conditions. Research has found that CoQ10 can also help with headaches and migraines. According to an Iranian study, supplementing with CoQ10 can help reduce the frequency and severity of headaches. It could also make them shorter in duration.
A large body of evidence links magnesium deficiency to mild and moderate tension headaches. Magnesium deficiency has also been identified as a risk factor for migraine occurrence. Meanwhile, placebo-controlled trials show that taking magnesium salts helps provide tremendous relief from headaches. Magnesium oxide, magnesium pidolate, magnesium sulfate and magnesium glycinate are some of the magnesium salts often used for headaches and migraines.
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), a medicinal plant from the daisy family, is traditionally used as a remedy for fever, headaches and arthritis. In fact, feverfew has been called the “medieval aspirin” because of its effectiveness at relieving pain. According to studies, taking two to three fresh feverfew leaves or a dry leaf capsule daily can help reduce the number of migraines for chronic migraine sufferers.
Doing relaxation exercises like deep breathing and yoga can also help with headaches and migraines. Deep, deliberate breathing increases the flow of oxygen to your brain, which can help relieve migraines. Some yoga poses, on the other hand, help ease stress and muscle tension – two common triggers of headaches and migraines.
Fixing yourself a cup of tea can benefit you in the long run if you suffer from repeated headaches. Some herbal teas contain powerful compounds that can help you relax, promote good blood circulation, bring down your stress levels and even provide some pain relief. The best herbal teas for headache relief are ginger tea, clove tea, peppermint tea, willow bark tea, feverfew tea and chamomile tea.
Essential oils are known to help treat common complaints like headaches and migraines. Like herbal teas, essential oils contain helpful compounds that can provide relief from stress, calm your mind and body and soothe away pain. To alleviate headaches, use essential oils like peppermint, lavender, rosemary, chamomile and eucalyptus. Remember to dilute them in a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil first before applying them topically. (Related: Essential oils that halt headaches.)
Preventive therapy is beneficial for those who suffer from headaches and migraines. To avoid the unpleasant side effects of conventional medications, try the remedies listed above to safely and effectively prevent or deal with migraines and headaches.
Watch the video below to learn about quick and simple home remedies for migraine.