Do Natural Remedies for Migraines Work
By Susan M Keenan
Published July 27, 2007
The Different Types of Headaches
Tension headaches, while painful, create a dull and persistent pain that typically begins in the back of the neck and extends to the base of the head. Additionally, the pain with a tension headache can extend to the neck muscles. The pain might also develop into a throbbing or pulsing sensation. Tightness might also be held in the area of the headache. Irritability and insomnia commonly accompany this type of headache with a resultant feeling of fatigue. Tension headaches are common and experienced by many women.
Cluster headaches are best described as several intense headaches that occur closely together in clusters. The occurrence might last for as short a duration as several weeks or they might last for as long a duration as an entire year. This type of headache pattern, while less common, is also treated less successfully than other types of headaches, specifically if they persist for lengthy periods of time.
Migraine headaches are best described as severe headaches that begin in one area of the head and then spread to other areas. This type of headache is often preceded by a visual disturbance such as what is best described as flashing lights or localized blindness.
Additionally, this type of headache might also be preceded by episodes of depression, restlessness, irritability, or loss of appetite. This type of headache is extremely painful and typically increases in intensity with exposure to light. Natural remedies for migraines have the most success if they are incorporated at the onset of any visual disturbance that occurs prior to the full-blown migraine.
Herbal Remedies for Headaches
Peppermint oil has been known to produce some relief from tension headaches by providing a relaxing effect that relieves pain. Drink a cup of peppermint tea, which is said to relax the body, thereby reducing stress and tension. Drinking a cup of chamomile tea should also produce the same results.
Feverfew has been known to produce some relief from migraine headaches by decreasing the severity and duration of the headaches. Some users of this herbal supplement have also reported a reduction in the frequency of migraine headaches. Drinking a hot cup of Feverfew tea can help to reduce the discomfort of a headache.
Cayenne, also commonly known as paprika, chili pepper, or red pepper, has been known to produce some relief from cluster headaches, as well as other types of ailments. Typically, cayenne is ingested as a supplement or used as a daily spice in one’s diet.
Massage remedies for headaches work best if they are used at the first sign of a headache. Once the headache has taken hold, it will take much longer for the massage to be of any benefit. For this exercise, you will use the pads of your fingertips.
Gently press your finger pads along the back of your neck, your temple, and gently rub your scalp.
Essential oil of peppermint or of lavender can be used as natural remedies for headaches. Simply rub a few drops of the oil on your temple, your hairline, and the nape of your neck. In a few minutes, you should begin to experience some relief from the headache’s pain and discomfort.
Specific supplements are sometimes suggested to produce relief from headaches. In particular, magnesium and calcium are said to relieve muscular tension, which should relieve the stress and tension leading to the headaches. Glucosamine sulfate supplements are recommended for relieving or reducing pain.
Other Natural Remedies for Headaches
Changes in temperature have long been used in treating the relief of headaches. Hot or cold compresses can be applied to the affected areas in an attempt to encourage relief. Specifically, you should target the nape of the neck, the top of the head, or the forehead with your efforts.
Additionally, alternating between hot compresses and cold compresses is believed to have beneficial effects.
If you do not have a compress, create one of your own using a soft washcloth or small towel. You can do this for either hot or cold treatment. An ice pack wrapped in a clean cloth also makes a good substitute for a cold compress. Use one of the softer versions of ice packs instead of the hard plastic ones. Heating pads can be used in place of a hot compress.
It’s best to sit or lie down in a darkened room when trying to relieve the pain of a headache. Light seems to worsen the effects of headaches for some individual’s. If you have the luxury of time, you might even be able to fall asleep while using a hot or cold compress. If you do intend to take a nap, avoid using the heating pad since the electrical cord can become entangled around your neck, wrist, or arm.
During the Treatment of Headaches
No matter which of the natural remedies for headaches you decide to try, you should also try to follow as many of the following tips as possible for a better chance at success in treating the headache until you relieve yourself of its pain. Whether you have a constant headache or a migraine, you should avoid chewing gum or eating chewy candy. Additionally, you should stay out of direct sunlight. Remain indoors, preferably in a darkened room. Fluorescent lighting is a known trigger for some women of migraines. Avoid anything that is cold such as ice cream, Italian ice, Popsicles, or cold drinks with ice cubes. Cold freezes can trigger headaches or worsen ones that already exist.
Continuing Treatment of Headaches
While you are dealing with the treatment of your headaches, you should pay attention to things that might be triggers for them. For example, do you always seem to develop a headache after eating certain foods?
Even though the caffeine in coffee is considered by some to be a reliever of constant headaches, in some individuals, it can be the trigger.
If you have headaches on a regular basis, it is important to set up an appointment with your physician and to receive a physical to determine the underlying cause for them. It is possible that a medical condition that you are unaware of is at the root cause of your headaches. In fact, one of the best things that you can do before going to the doctor is to keep a headache diary. Keep track of all of your headaches including frequency, duration, suspected triggers. Moreover, you should also keep track of any of the natural remedies for headaches that you have tried, making note of the ones that worked and for which type of headache they were successful for relieving.
Always Consult Your Physician First
Although it is helpful to get health information by reading and talking with friends, make sure you consult your doctor first before trying any new treatment or changing your diet. Remember that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate the strength, purity or safety of herbs and supplements. Be sure to always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, speak with your doctor before taking medical action or changing your health routine. This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. LifeScript disclaims any liability for the decisions made by its readers based on the information provided.