Most of us have experienced a headache at some time in our lives. But before you head straight for the medicine cabinet to reach for a painkiller, consider what your body might be trying to tell you. The body communicates through symptoms. If you’re experiencing pain somewhere, there may be a reason. Natural headache remedies can help to relieve headache pain in a more holistic way that addresses potential causes.
There are many different types of headaches that you can experience. The three most common types of headaches people experience are tension headaches, migraine headaches and cluster headaches. There is a lot of overlap in these categories and the different types of headaches are not completely distinct.
Tension headaches happen when the muscles of the skull contract. Pain can feel like pressure or squeezing in your head.
Migraines are a throbbing pain that can cause sensitivity to light and noise, and make you feel nauseous. This type of headache can last from hours to days.
Cluster headaches are an extremely intense pain that often occurs behind the eyes. They can be described as throbbing, burning or piercing pain. Cluster headaches can come and go throughout the day with attacks happening multiple times within a day, sometimes lasting days to weeks.
Other common headaches you might experience include sinus headaches, hormonal headaches, chronic headaches or allergy headaches.
Causes of Headaches
Just as there are a variety of different types of headaches, there are a variety of different causes of headaches. Your lifestyle plays an important role in the pain that you experience.
For example, dehydration is a very common contributor to most types of headaches. Many people don’t drink enough water. The sensation of thirst is a sign that your body is already dehydrated.
Diet can also affect headaches. Eating too much sugar can be a cause, as can eating a diet containing food allergens. For example, there has been research that links gluten intolerance and celiac disease to an increased incidence of migraines1.
Some of the other lifestyle factors that can contribute to headaches include:
- Lack of sleep
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Staring at a TV or computer screen for too long
- Poor posture
- Alcohol consumption
- Loud noises
Making lifestyle changes including drinking plenty of water, and avoiding food allergens may help to prevent headaches from occurring. If you live a sedentary lifestyle where you sit for most of the day try getting up to stretch more often. Making sure you’re not slouching is also important because good posture can help prevent muscle tension.
If headaches do still happen, here are some natural ways of helping to reduce the pain.
Natural Headaches Remedies
1. Drink Ginger Tea
Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that have been studied for pain relief and nausea. Try drinking a cup ginger tea. It’s easy to make and delicious to drink. Ginger may be particularly good for migraine sufferers because it can help to settle your stomach in cases where nausea is an issue as well.
2. Use Peppermint Essential Oil
Applying peppermint essential oil to the hairline can help to reduce the pain that comes with tension headaches2. Peppermint oil may help to relax muscles in the head and neck. Use alone or combined with lavender oil.
3. Get a Massage
A massage helps to break up tension and relieve tightness in tender muscles that may be contributing to your headache. You can go to see a massage therapist, try self massage, or even use a massage pillow to help relieve the pain.
4. Drink Lots of Water
If you start to feel the onset of a headache, get a glass of water and if you can, lie down in a comfortable spot for a few minutes. The body can often be dehydrated before you realize it, and dehydration is a common cause of headaches. Remember that coffee, sodas and some teas can have a dehydrating effect on the body, so you might need to drink even more water to make up for any loss.
Chew on this
There are many different types of headaches. The most common three include, migraines, tension headaches and cluster headaches. They can be caused by a variety of different factors.
Like all health conditions, diet and lifestyle play a huge role. Dehydration and food allergens are common factors. As are stress, lack of sleep and poor posture. Adjusting your lifestyle and using natural headache remedies is the best approach for holistic pain relief.
How do you deal with a headache naturally? Tell us in the comments below.