Headaches, one of the most common medical complaints according to the World Health Association, come in many forms and degrees of severity. If you suffer from tension headaches, sinus headaches, rebound headaches, cluster headaches or migraines, you are likely far too familiar with the pain, pressure, sound/light sensitivity, nausea and other symptoms that this common ailment can bring on.
While treating the root cause of headaches such stress, allergies, food sensitivities, anxiety, neck/spine misalignment, high blood pressure and emotional distress is the ultimate goal towards finding a long-term cure, treating the immediate pain is vital. In an effort to avoid the damaging effect of excessive use of over-the-counter or prescription pain medication, we’ve turned to holistic remedies that are known to greatly reduce the symptoms associated with headaches and migraines.
Magnesium is important for functions in the body like nerve transmission and blood sugar control. Evidence implies that a deficiency in magnesium is more common for migraine sufferers, and that around 75 percent of Americans are not getting enough magnesium. Magnesium-rich foods include seeds, fish, beans, bananas and avocado. Alternatively, supplements like magnesium oxide can also provide a boost to your magnesium levels.
2. Essential Oils
A number of studies have been conducted that show the benefits of using certain essential oils for headaches. These oils are most effective when applied topically to the area of concern but can also be beneficial when diffused using a high-quality diffuser and cold filtered water.
- Rosemary Oil: Rosemary oil has been historically used to treat head pain and contains anti-inflammatory properties.
- Peppermint Oil: Peppermint is commonly used to treat headaches and leaves a cooling effect on the skin. It’s suggested to apply to your temples to give relief from tension head pain.
- Lavender Oil: For headaches that are triggered by stress or anxiety, lavender is a go-to remedy.
- Eucalyptus Oil: This is a great option for headaches due to sinus pressure. It helps open nasal airway and relieve tension.
3. Hot or Cold Compress
The type of headache you have depends on whether to use a hot or cold compress on your skin. Generally, a cooler compress is good for minimizing inflammation and relaxing muscles. Vascular headaches and migraines, for example, usually do respond better to a cold compress for this reason. A warmer compress is usually a good option for a tension headache, as it works to relax muscles and tension.
4. CBD Oil
Studies show that CBD oil (or full spectrum hemp oil) has helped alleviate pain for those who suffer from migraines. CBD interacts with the receptors in the endocannabinoid system to promote painkilling and anti-inflammatory effects. Generally, CBD oil is administered sublingually in the form of a tincture, but can also be taken as a capsule or isolate.
Commonly known as a cooking spice, ginger root has been used in natural remedies for thousands of years to aid upset stomach, digestion and nausea. It has also been known to help with similar migraine symptoms. Ginger contains approximately 200 substances in its oils that have anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties. Those who have headaches can drink ginger tea or ground ginger root and mix it in a cup of water. Alternatively, there are tablets and capsules available.
If you suffer from tension headaches specifically, basil is a great option for reducing symptoms. It works as a muscle relaxant to help relieve pain caused by tension in the head. It is suggested to make basil steam by adding fresh basil leaves in a pot of hot water and creating a “tent” with a towel over your head. After 10 to 15 minutes, the headache should begin to subside. It can also be ingested by adding a few leaves into hot water with honey.