headaches  

Natural ways to get rid of headaches

Headaches can be caused by many different reasons. We've all had them. They can really slow us down, especially if they happen on a regular basis. Studies have shown more work days are lost due to headaches than any other reason. It is always important to see a doctor to diagnose the cause of headaches, once anything serious has been ruled out consider some natural ways to ease the pain and help to prevent the onset.

The first step in treating a headache is to figure out why it's there. Many things can cause headaches, such as poor sleep, stress, allergies, eye strain, diet and illness.
Here are some good strategies you can use to treat your headaches without drugs:

1. Exercise. We know we need it, but not all of us get the amount of exercise we require for optimum health. When you exercise, your body produces chemicals, such as endorphins and adrenaline, which help you deal better with headaches and stress. As you already know, stress is a trigger for tension headaches.

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and alleviate stress headaches. You don't have to go to the gym and work out for hours on end to feel the benefits. When you feel a headache coming on, get up out of your chair and start to move. Even if it's just a five-minute walk, it's better than nothing. Regular exercise can help keep those headaches at a minimum. Many people find yoga helpful for dealing with stress. Less stress equals fewer headaches.

2. Use essential oils and herbs. Many people find relief from headaches by massaging a few drops of peppermint, lavender or chamomile essential oil into the temples or the back of the neck. Ensure you're using a quality essential oil.

Herbs can also be helpful. One of the easiest methods to benefit from herbs when experiencing a headache is to drink herbal tea. There are many varieties, including tea blends made specifically for headaches that you can find at your local health food shop. Enjoy a cup of chamomile tea at your desk to help ease your headache. Other teas that help are the same as the essential oils: lavender and peppermint.

See a naturopath if you are experiencing recurring headaches to have a specific herbal tonic formulated.

3. Reflexology. While you probably can't run out during your busy day and get a massage to ease your headache, there is an alternate available: reflexology. In reflexology, points in the feet and hands correspond to parts of the body.

Your toes and the areas right below them correspond to the head, sinuses and ears. Massaging these areas gently can significantly improve a headache. Something as simple as taking off your shoes and rubbing your feet can be relaxing enough to alleviate the symptoms.

4. Use hot and cold. Many times a headache will respond to a change in temperature. Place a cold compress on the back of the neck. You can use ice or a damp cloth that has been in the freezer for a few minutes. If your headache doesn't respond to cold, try a warm cloth instead. Another method is to alternate between hot and cold compresses.

A footbath works really well. Soaking your feet in hot water can provide headache relief. Increase the effect by adding a few drops of essential oil to the bath.

5. Eat properly. Many headaches are diet related. Paying attention to what you eat - or what you don't eat - may give you a clue as to why you're getting headaches. Headaches can be your body's way of telling you that it isn't getting the nutrients it needs to function properly. Often magnesium supplementation can help.

Diets high in fats and preservatives and low in fibre could be making you feel worse. When we consume these foods, our immune system suffers, and we can experience headaches as a result. Dehydration can also bring on headaches so ensure you are consuming enough fresh water. Soft drinks and coffee will make you more dehydrated so drink even more water or better still reduce or avoid these beverages all together.

Rule out allergies. You may be allergic to specific foods so it is important to be aware of what types of foods may be triggering your headaches. Again, a naturopathic approach to your allergies may help.

Be sure to try a few of these methods to naturally treat your headaches. As everyone is different, each response will be different. What works one time may not work the next. So, give these remedies a go and you may find that you will need less pain medication or none at all.