OK, so Christmas is not too far away, the parties will be starting soon, the planning, the preparing and the excitement will commence full force within the next week or too. We can’t wait! but what about those pesky headaches? Sometimes it’s excessiveness that causes them, and other times it’s poor posture or even a trapped nerve. We’ve come up with 8 natural ways to relieve your headache, they are worth a go and far healthier that popping a pill every time!
So, we know headaches can be caused by many things – muscle tension, stress, clogged sinuses, dehydration, and problems with our diet and that painkillers will help or just mask the symptoms, but there are natural methods to ease the pain and help prevent them in the future.
Here are our 8 natural ways to help relieve your headache.
1. Up your intake of magnesium
Several studies have suggested that increasing magnesium levels can reduce the number of headaches you endure. Often those who suffer from severe headaches such as migraines, have low magnesium levels. Magnesium may help with the visual and sensory changes that occur when you experience a headache and can help to block brain chemicals which transmit pain. To increase your magnesium levels we’d suggest increasing the amount of dietary fibre, beans, seeds, nuts, whole-grains, broccoli, leafy greens, and dairy products in your diet (rather than supplements unless advised to by your GP).
2. Stay hydrated
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of headaches. Having enough water can be a pain reliever in itself – and many of us aren’t getting enough as we consume too much coffee and sugary drinks which can dehydrate us. It’s a good idea to keep a bottle of water with you and sip it throughout the day. As a rule of thumb six to eight glasses a day is a good target, read more in our ‘How much water to drink’ blog and find out how much you should be drinking.
Many of us sit in one position at a desk all day. This can put pressure on our muscles and neck, and cause tension headaches. Ensure you move around and have a break every 30 to 60 minutes. Move your chin upwards and downwards, left and right, and bend your neck sideways towards each shoulder. You can also try to slowly rotate the neck in clockwise and anticlockwise directions to help the shoulder and neck muscles relax. It’s also a great idea to make sure your workstation is set up correctly too, read our blog here.
4. Use soothing essential oils
Peppermint, lavender, thyme, and rosemary essential oils can be used to help relieve stress and encourage blood flow in the head. They smell great too, perfect!
Put a few drops of peppermint or lavender oil into your hands and then rubbing the oil on your forehead, temples and back of neck. If the smell is too strong dilute it down by mixing the oils with almond, grapeseed or coconut oil.
5. Up your intake of B vitamins
These vitamins are involved in the production of neurotransmitters including serotonin. A deficiency in serotonin can cause headaches. Vitamin B2 may help reduce the frequency and the duration of migraines, and B3 helps to improve blood flow, helping to ease vascular headaches.
6. Use herbs and spices
Ginger helps to reduce inflammation of blood vessels in the head, helping to ease the pain of headaches. Try drinking ginger tea once or twice a day, or using a paste of ginger or cinnamon powder (made with water) can also be applied to the forehead. Basil is also a natural analgesic and muscle relaxant – great for combatting tension headaches caused by muscle problems. Drink or inhale the steam from basil tea. Or you could try inhaling the scent of crushed cloves to help beat pain.
7. Cider vinegar and hot water
Apples and cider vinegar both help to restore the body’s acid-alkaline balance. They can help fight off headaches, and inhaling steam from a bowl of boiling water and cider vinegar (or adding it to hot bath water) can help to clear sinus headaches.
8. Chiropractic care and good posture
We know Chiropractic care is a great way to deal with muscle pain and injuries, but did you know it is fantastic for treating headaches and of course it is drug free!
There are many causes of headaches, some of the milder headaches are the results of overindulgence AKA ‘The morning after’ – over eating, drinking or smoking!! Others may be due to eye strain, poor diet, poor lighting, bad posture (again it’s worth checking your workstation if you are at a desk all day – read more here) tension in our bodies and even trapped nerves.
Research shows that the most common types of headaches response well to Chiropractic care.
It’s worth booking a consultation with your local Chiropractor to discuss your symptoms. They will be able to asses your condition and advice on the most appropriate course of treatment.
NB Clinical trials have shown that chiropractic treatment can help headaches. One study showed 22% of chiropractic manipulation patients reported a 90% reduction in headaches, and 49% said headache intensity had been significantly reduced. Chiropractors use spinal manipulation to reduce tension headaches and migraines. A study by the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College showed how beneficial chiropractic treatment can be for headaches – with 613 of 729 subjects reporting good and excellent outcomes from their chiropractic care. Find out more about the study here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8775024.
If you would like to try Chiropractic care for your headaches, please do give us a call on 01803 329799 (Torquay clinic) or 01626 774222 (Teignmouth clinic) and speak to one of our friendly reception team.