For many of us, the knee jerk reaction to a headache is to take some over-the-counter painkillers. Of course sometimes this truly is the only thing that helps, but before you rush to the tablet cupboard why not consider a natural approach?
Below we look at some tried and tested natural ways to help with headache pain.
Note: If your headaches are frequent/severe, be sure to seek advice from your GP.
1. Keep a headache diary
When a headache strikes, note down what you’ve had to eat and drink, how you’re feeling (stressed, calm?) and how much sleep you’ve had. Learning your headache triggers will go a long way to prevent future episodes.
2. Eat small meals frequently
When your blood sugar gets low it can trigger headaches. Try to keep this in check by eating smaller meals more frequently and snack between meals. Try to keep foods healthy and nutritious to avoid inflammation.
3. Stay hydrated
Dehydration is a common headache trigger. Ensure you are drinking plenty of water and avoid dehydrating alcohol where possible!
4. Apply hot or cold compresses
Applying hot or cold compresses can help, depending on the nature of your headache. This is all linked to muscles and blood vessels expanding/contracting. Try both and see which works best for you.
5. Look at improving your posture
Tension headaches can be caused by poor posture, this can be especially true if you are sat at a computer all day. There are various techniques and therapies that can help with this, we recommend the Alexander Technique and Bowen therapy.
6. Try peppermint oil
Aromatherapy is helpful for a number of concerns, with peppermint oil recommended for it’s cooling, pain-relieving properties. Apply a little mixed with olive oil to your temples and forehead, massaging and breathing deeply.
7. Enjoy some pumpkin seeds
Magnesium is known to help relieve headache pain. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, so enjoy a handful often to keep your levels topped up.
8. Get a massage (or massage yourself!)
Many tension headaches are caused by tense neck and shoulder muscles. If you can get these relaxed, it may help to prevent future headaches. Invest in regular massage treatments, ask a partner/friend to give you a shoulder rub or simply take 10 minutes to relax and massage yourself.
9. Stretch out and relax
Stress is a big culprit for tension headache sufferers, so it’s important to get this under control. Taking time out every day to stretch your body and relax your mind is crucial. Try yoga, Tai Chi and/or meditation.
10. Try feverfew
Feverfew is believed to be especially helpful for migraines. This is down to the plant helping to relax constricting blood vessels and reducing inflammation. You can take feverfew in a number of different ways, we recommend speaking to a herbalist for more information.