What is the headache?
The headache, also known as cephalalgia, is the symptom of pain anywhere in the region of the head or neck. Headaches can occur as a result of many conditions whether serious or not. There are a number of different classification systems for headaches. The most well-recognized are that of the International Headache Society.
Headaches and how to get rid of it with natural remedies
What Are the Types of Headaches?
There are several types of headaches you should know.
Tension headaches: Tension a headache, also known as a tension-type headache, is the most common type of a primary headache. The pain can radiate from the lower back of the head, the neck, eyes, or other muscle groups in the body typically affecting both sides of the head. Tension-type headaches account for nearly 90% of all headaches. Tricyclic antidepressants appear to be useful for prevention. The evidence is poor for SSRIs, propranolol and muscle relaxants. For the treatment of a tension headache, ibuprofen is effective.
Migraine headache: Migraine is a primary headache disorder characterized by recurrent headaches that are moderate to severe. Typically, the headaches affect one-half of the head, are pulsating in nature, and last from two to 72 hours. Associated symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, or smell. The pain is generally made worse by physical activity. Up to one-third of people have an aura: typically a short period of visual disturbance which signals that a headache will soon occur. Occasionally, an aura can occur with little or no headache following it. Migraines are believed to be due to a mixture of environmental and genetic factors.
Cluster headaches: Cluster a headache (CH) is a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent, severe headaches on one side of the head, typically around the eye. There are often accompanying autonomic symptoms during a headache such as an eye watering, nasal congestion and swelling around the eye, typically confined to the side of the head with the pain. A cluster headache belongs to a group of primary headache disorders, classified as the trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias or (TACs). A cluster headache is named after the demonstrated grouping of headache attacks occurring together (cluster). Individuals typically experience repeated attacks of excruciatingly severe unilateral headache pain. Cluster headache attacks often occur periodically; spontaneous remissions may interrupt active periods of pain, though about 10–15% of chronic CH never remit. The cause of a cluster headache has not been identified.
Sinus headaches: Sinus headaches are headaches that may feel like an infection in the sinuses (sinusitis). You may feel pressure around your eyes, cheeks and forehead. Perhaps your head throbs. However, many people who assume they have headaches from sinusitis, including many who have received such a diagnosis, actually have migraines or tension headaches.
Hormone headaches: Headaches in women are often associated with changing hormone levels that occur during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Chemically induced hormone changes, such as with birth control pills, also trigger headaches in some women.
What are the natural remedies for relieving pain and tension of headaches
1. Ice Pack
The cold from ice helps reduce inflammation that contributes to headaches. Plus, it has an effect on the pain. Only applying an ice pack to the back of your neck can give you relief from a migraine headache. You can also place a washcloth dipped in ice-cold water over your head for five minutes. Repeat the process several times. Alternatively, you can use a bag of frozen vegetables as a cold compress. Within half an hour you will feel some relief.
2. Hot compressor cold compress
Headaches are tricksy little things, with what clears them up for one person totally triggering them for another. There’s evidence to support both hot and cold compress treatments, and it all has to do with the muscles and blood vessels. Some headaches are caused, at least in part, by expanded blood vessel pressing on nerves. For these, applying something cold to the area can constrict those vessels and relieve some of the pressure causing the throbbing ache. Other headaches are caused by tension and anxiety, and cold tends to tighten up muscles that then pinch nerves and enlarge blood vessels. You’ll have to play around to see if you’re someone who benefits from cold/ cool treatment or hot/warm, while some people find alternating between the two works best. You will need cold compress (such as a bag of frozen peas, a bag of ice, or a cold pack), hot compress, such as a towel soaked in very warm water. Find a quiet place to lie down, preferably where you can dim the lights or turn them off. Place the cold or hot compress on your forehead and relax. At some point, try switching to the back of your head, or the top, depending on where the pain is concentrated. You can also try a cold compress at one location and a hot compress on another, either on your head or place the hot compress on your shoulders if your headache is from tension. Do this for as long as you feel you need to. Try sipping fresh water through a straw if you can manage during or after the treatment, and make sure to ease back into your daily routine don’t just dash onto a crowded street in blinding sunlight. Here’s how to make a good hot compress at home that won’t least its heat as quickly as a warm washcloth.
3. Apple cider vinegar for a headache
Apple cider vinegar has a lot of benefits for health such as weight loss, enhance digestion, minimize acne and dandruff, lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, treat vaginal infections, relieve symptoms of hemorrhoids and much more. Also, it has been used to relieve everything from scurvy to hay fever, and just about any other ailment that falls in between. Some modern day studies have proven its effectiveness in treating certain illnesses. If you find yourself coming down with a throbbing headache, try getting some quality apple cider vinegar time into your day in the form of a steam-style treatment. What you will need are 1/4 cup of Apple cider vinegar, 3 cups of boiling water and a cup of fresh cool water. Pour ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar into a large bowl, and then fill the bowl halfway with boiling water. Place a towel over your head so that it drapes over the bowl, trapping the steam, and hold your face over it. Make sure your face is not so close that it gets burned by the steam. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes, or when the water starts to cool down, breathing in and out deeply the whole time. When you’re done, use the towel to pat your face dry, and go drink a glass of cool water. You will get the best result!
4. Peppermint oil:
Peppermint oil has been exploited for medicine for years already. It has a lot of benefits for health. Especially, it has a wonderfully soothing effect when you’re suffering from a headache, easing the discomfort and clearing your mind. It can be applied to various places, and people who use it find that it works quickly to relieve pain. If you have sensitive skin and find that it irritates it, try diluting it with a bit of olive oil or water. What you really need is Peppermint oil. Massage the peppermint oil onto your temples, the back of your jaw, and forehead. You will feel a cooling sensation upon applying it. Breathe deeply, and if possible, find a quiet place to relax and sip some cool water.
5. Eat less chocolate
It is believed that eating chocolate can get rid of headaches in many people while it may be not for some people. The culprit may be phenylethylamine (PEA). PEA is the chemical in chocolate that may cause the blood vessels to expand and contract. However, it’s also a natural mood enhancer, stress reliever, and memory enhancer. So once again, it may have more good than bad for some people. The chocolate and headache connection is still unclear.
6. Drink enough water
On average we don’t drink enough water daily, and that alone is cause for a headache. Coffee, alcohol, sugary drinks all can dehydrate you (hence the pounding headache that comes along with a hangover) and should be avoided. As soon as your head starts to hurt, drink a tall glass of water, and then sip throughout the day. Gradually the pain will start to ease up, and you will be hurting less and well-hydrated to boot. Simply drinking water may seem too obvious or simple to actually work as a headache remedy but it can, and often time’s does. We humans often just seem to feel the need to make things more complicated than they are. You use your head for a lot of things, maybe not all things, but hopefully for a lot of them, and a throbbing pain in your noggin can really make it hard to function. While over-the-counter painkillers may temporarily relieve the discomfort, they’re not going to prevent headaches from returning full force or worse- in the future. Give some headache home remedies a shot, and you’ll end up saving yourself a headache (probably lots of headaches) in the future. Try this to get the best result.
7. Chewing ginger-root
Prostaglandin synthesis is a process that takes place in some animals (including humans) that make lipid (fat) compounds within their cells. Those fatty substances are like little chemical messengers that mediate biological processes, like inflammation, and alerting neurons to pain. Certain enzymes spark off the prostaglandin synthesis, while some drugs, such as aspirin, inhibit the synthesis. Ginger root, a natural alternative, is thought to inhibit the synthesis as well. On top of that, if you’re getting knocked with a migraine, it can help quell your nausea. Simply sip a nice steaming cup of ginger-root tea and relax while you wait for your headache to ease up. You will need 3 quarter size slices of ginger root, 2 cups of water. Slice 3 slices off of a piece of raw ginger root, with each being roughly the size of a quarter. Gently simmer the pieces of ginger in 2 cups of water, covered, for 30 minutes. Use something to remove the pieces of ginger and transfer to a mug, or if you prefer, leave them in. Sip slowly and breathe in the steam if you want.
6. Lavender Oil
Simply smelling the soothing scent of lavender essential oil can be of great help in relieving tension headaches. Research suggests that it can also help improve migraine symptoms. Put a few drops of lavender essential oil on a tissue and inhale it. You can also add two drops of lavender oil to two cups of boiling water and inhale the steam. Another option is to mix two or three drops of lavender essential oil in one tablespoon of carrier oil such as almond oil or olive oil and massage your forehead with it.
9. Relaxation techniques such as meditation:
Relaxation techniques such as meditation are effective for chronic headaches as measured by headache parameters. Patients with chronic headaches have been showed to have low levels of cortisol that normalized with the practice of meditation over time.
According to the Medscape, acupuncture may be helpful for patients experiencing frequent or chronic TTH. A review of eleven studies involving 2,317 patients found evidence to support acupuncture as a valuable, nonpharmacologic tool for episodic or chronic TTH. Two of the studies reviewed compared acupuncture to the treatment of acute headaches or routine care only and found statistically significant and clinically relevant short-term (up to 3 months) benefits of acupuncture over control for the response, the number of headache days, and pain intensity. According to several studies, massage may also be an effective therapy for individuals suffering from TTH. Massage can relieve tight muscles in the back of the head, neck, and shoulders, which may in turn relieve headache pain.
Prevention tips for headaches
Here are some useful prevention tips from the Medscape:
- The patient should avoid known headache triggers to the extent possible. For example, disturbances in the sleep cycle can induce attacks. Strong emotions and excessive physical activity may also induce attacks.
- Tobacco may slow responsiveness to medications. Narcotics may expedite the transformation of episodic cluster headache to chronic cluster headache.
- According to the Medscape, one study of exercise for migraine prevention (40 minutes 3 times weekly for 3 months) reported a mean attack reduction of 0.93 during the final month of treatment, which was not significantly different from the reductions achieved in the control groups using topiramate or a relaxation program. However, most studies of aerobic exercise in migraine patients have not found a significant reduction of headache attacks or headache duration, although regular exercise has been shown to reduce pain intensity in many patients.
Additional sources: The International Headache Society, Medscape, WebMD, Mayo Clinic, everyday roots.
- What is the headache?
- What Are the Types of Headaches?
- What are the natural remedies for relieving pain and tension of headaches
- 6. Drink enough water
- 7. Chewing ginger-root
- Prevention tips for headaches