Soothing Your Headache Naturally: 9 Holistic Headache Remedies for Migraine and Tension Relief18 July 2023
- Headaches are a common problem and can be caused by many different factors, including stress, dehydration, poor diet, hormones, or lack of sleep.
- Relief without medication is possible, and many natural remedies for headaches can help.
- Natural remedies, such as acupressure, massage therapy, essential oils and aromatherapy, can help relieve pain and tension.
- Medical cannabis can be used to treat headaches, and some studies have shown that it is effective at preventing migraines in people who suffer from them regularly.
- Headache treatment is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some people may find that certain treatments work better for them than others, and some may experience relief from combining different treatments.
Headaches are unwelcome visitors that can strike any time, leaving us in pain and discomfort. Finding relief is often a top priority, whether it’s a tension headache, migraine, or cluster headache.
While over-the-counter medications can provide some relief, many people are seeking natural remedies to help alleviate their symptoms. From essential oils to herbal teas, there are numerous options to explore that can help you find relief without relying on synthetic drugs.
In this blog, we will delve into the world of natural remedies for headaches, highlighting the most effective and holistic approaches to help you find relief. As we dive into the various natural remedies, we’ll also review the medical literature to help you understand how effective these approaches are.
Natural treatments like medical cannabis offer an alternative to the synthetic drugs typically prescribed for headaches. At Lyphe, we believe in the power of natural medicine, and we want to help you find relief. If you’re interested in trying medical cannabis for headaches, contact us today!
Understanding Headaches: Types, Causes, and Symptoms
Before diving into natural remedies, it’s essential to understand the nature of headaches and the various factors contributing to their occurrence. This knowledge will help you identify the type of headache you’re experiencing and enable you to choose the most suitable natural remedy for your specific situation.
Types of Headaches
Headaches can be broadly classified into three main categories:
- Tension Headaches: As the most common type of headache, they are often defined as a tight band around the forehead or constant pressure at the temples or back of the head. They are typically mild to moderate in intensity and can last 30 minutes to several days.
- Migraines: These are characterised by a throbbing or pulsating pain, usually on one side of the head, and can cause nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last a few hours to several days and can be severely debilitating.
- Cluster Headaches: These are less common but extremely painful and often described as a sharp, burning sensation around one eye or temple. These can occur in clusters or cycles, with multiple headaches happening over several weeks or months, followed by periods of remission.
Causes of Headaches
Various factors can contribute to the development of headaches, including:
- Stress and anxiety
- Poor posture or muscle tension
- Lack of sleep or irregular sleep patterns
- Hormonal changes (like during menstruation or menopause)
- Environmental factors, including bright lights, loud noises, or strong odours
- Dietary triggers, such as caffeine, alcohol, or specific foods
- Underlying medical conditions, such as sinus infections or high blood pressure
Symptoms of Headaches
While the primary symptom of a headache is denoted by pain in the head, different types of headaches can present additional symptoms, including:
- Tension Headaches: Dull, aching pain along with tenderness in the scalp, neck, or shoulders; and a feeling of tightness or pressure around the head.
- Migraines: Throbbing or pulsating pain along with nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to light, sound, or smells, and visual disturbances (like flashes of light, blind spots, or zigzag lines).
- Cluster Headaches: Intense, burning pain around one eye or temple along with redness, swelling, or tearing in the affected eye, nasal congestion or runny nose, and restlessness or agitation.
Now that we have a better understanding of headaches, their types, causes, and symptoms, we can delve into the world of natural remedies and explore various ways to alleviate the pain and improve overall well-being.
9 Natural Headache Relief Options
As we navigate the world of natural remedies for headaches, it’s important to remember that each person’s experience is unique. What works for one person may not work for another, so exploring different remedies is crucial to finding the best solution for your situation.
1. Medical Cannabis
As the use of medical cannabis gains traction in various therapeutic applications, its potential role in treating headaches has become a topic of interest.
Studies have shown that cannabis can be used for symptom management disorders, including cancer, chronic pain, headaches, migraines, and psychological disorders (like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder). Although clinical evidence supporting cannabis for headache treatment is still limited, research is ongoing, and some studies show promising results.
How Does Medical Cannabis Work?
Medical cannabis contains several active compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). These compounds are known as cannabinoids.
THC is the most widely known cannabinoid, and it is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. On the other hand, CBD is non-psychoactive and has been shown to have analgesic (painkilling) properties. Research suggests that THC and CBD can effectively treat headaches through different mechanisms.
Meanwhile, the ECS plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes, including pain, inflammation, and immune responses. By interacting with the ECS, medical cannabis may help alleviate headache pain and reduce inflammation, providing comfort for those suffering from headaches and migraines.
How Can Medical Cannabis Help With Headaches and Migraines?
Many individuals have reported benefits from self-administered cannabis for pain and headache relief. Anecdotal reports also suggest that cannabis use can help with comorbid conditions such as sleeplessness, impaired ability to function, and mood disorders (like anxiety).
Moreover, 61% per cent of 145 medical cannabis users who were self-treating with cannabis reported a 50% or greater decrease in monthly migraine attacks, according to a 2016 cross-sectional survey published in Pharmacotherapy. The survey also indicated a long-term decrease in migraine frequency and medication use.
Beyond self-reports, however, few published studies have examined the effects of cannabis on headache pain. A systematic review of the efficacy of cannabis in treating migraine headaches by Cureus in 2022 found that medical cannabis could potentially reduce migraine duration and frequency. However, the review notes that optimal doses and forms for therapeutic success still need to be identified.
Furthermore, another systematic review published in Frontiers in Neurology suggests that medical cannabis could be a promising alternative therapy for migraines in adults. The researchers noted that the effectiveness and safety of medical cannabis make it a desirable option as opposed to current migraine medications that often come with side effects.
It’s important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and risks of using medical cannabis for headache treatment. As always, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your healthcare routine, especially if you have chronic or severe headaches.
At Lyphe, we are committed to providing you with the most up-to-date information on alternative therapies. If you have any questions about medical cannabis for headaches and migraines, please contact us today!
Dehydration can be a common cause of headaches, especially tension headaches and migraines. According to a 2022 article published in Current Pain and Headache Reports, dehydration alone (without any underlying conditions) can cause headaches.
Ensuring you drink enough water throughout the day can help prevent and alleviate headache symptoms. Aim for at least eight glasses (64 ounces) of water daily, and consider incorporating hydrating fruits and vegetables into your diet.
3. Essential Oils
Essential oils can help with headaches and migraines by providing relief through their various properties, such as anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and calming effects.
Some of the most popular essential oils for headaches include the following:
- Lavender Oil: It is known for its calming and soothing properties, making it useful for stress-induced headaches.
- Peppermint Oil: This oil has a cooling effect and can help relax tense muscles, which may alleviate tension headaches.
- Rosemary Oil: It has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, which can help reduce headache pain.
- Chamomile Oil: This oil has proved beneficial for congestion relief, helping with sinus headaches by clearing nasal passages.
To use essential oils for headache relief, you can dilute a few drops in a carrier oil and apply it to the temples, neck, or wrists, or use an aromatherapy diffuser. It is important to choose high-quality, pure essential oils and consult with a healthcare professional before using them, especially if you have chronic or severe headaches.
4. Herbal Teas
Herbal teas can help with headaches by offering various health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and calming effects.
Some of the most effective herbal teas for headache relief include the following:
- Ginger Tea: It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can help control pain by blocking prostaglandins, compounds that activate the body’s natural response to inflammation.
- Chamomile Tea: This tea has calming and soothing effects that can help reduce stress and tension, which may alleviate chronic migraines.
- Green Tea: This tea has been shown to act against nervous system disorders that cause pain and headaches.
These herbal teas can be consumed as a natural and gentle remedy to alleviate headache pain and provide relief. Moreover, they contain powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help reduce the risk of developing chronic headaches.
5. Cold or Warm Compress
Applying a cold or warm compress to the affected area can help alleviate headache pain. Cold compresses can help constrict blood vessels and reduce inflammation, making them particularly useful for migraines. Warm compresses can help relax tense muscles and ease tension headaches. Experiment with both types of compresses to find the most effective relief for your headache.
Acupressure involves applying pressure to specific points on the body to relieve pain and tension. According to randomised controlled research published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, one month of acupressure treatment is superior to one month of muscle relaxant treatment for treating chronic headaches. The report also mentions that effects last for six months following treatment.
The LI4 point, located between the thumb and index finger, is commonly used to alleviate headache pain. To use acupressure, apply firm pressure to the LI4 point for several minutes, then release and repeat on the other hand.
7. Yoga and Stretching
A 2019 systematic review and meta-analysis published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine suggests that yoga can help decrease headache frequency, duration, and intensity. Practising gentle yoga poses and stretches can help relieve neck, shoulder, and back tension, which can contribute to headaches. Incorporate poses such as child’s pose, cat-cow, and neck stretches into your daily routine to help prevent and alleviate tension headaches.
8. Sleep and Relaxation Techniques
Getting adequate sleep and practising relaxation techniques can help reduce stress and prevent headaches. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night, and try incorporating relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation into your daily routine.
9. Dietary Changes
Certain foods and beverages can trigger headaches in some individuals. A 2019 review published in The Journal of Headache and Pain shows a clear connection between diet and headache frequency and intensity. Common dietary triggers include caffeine, alcohol, aged cheeses, and processed meats. Meanwhile, a diet rich in omega-3 can help prevent headaches from occurring.
Keeping a food diary can help you identify potential triggers and make appropriate dietary changes to reduce headache frequency.
Conclusion – Natural Migraine Treatments
In conclusion, the world of natural remedies for headaches offers a wide range of options to explore, from hydration and essential oils to yoga and medical cannabis. As we strive to find relief and improve our overall well-being, it’s essential to keep an open mind and be willing to experiment with various remedies to determine what works best for our unique situations.
As with any treatment, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your healthcare routines. This is especially true if you suffer from chronic or severe headaches.
If headaches or migraines are something you frequently have, it might be time to consider medical cannabis treatment. Lyphe makes it easy to get started with medical cannabis, so you can finally find relief from your chronic headaches. Book an appointment today and see how medical cannabis can help you!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you cure a headache naturally?
There are several natural remedies to help alleviate headaches. Some of these include drinking water, napping, sipping a caffeinated drink in small amounts, and taking medical cannabis medication.
What gets rid of headaches quickly?
Several methods may help alleviate headaches quickly. Over-the-counter medications, warm or cold compress, and relaxation techniques are just some of the many quick-acting headache remedies.
What should I drink to stop headache?
To help stop a migraine, you can try to drink a small amount of caffeinated drinks to relieve the pain in the early stages. It’s also important to stay hydrated and prevent dehydration-induced headaches.
What herbs are good for headaches?
Several herbs are known to help alleviate headaches, including peppermint, willow, and ginger. Note that the effectiveness of these herbs may vary depending on the individual.
Is ginger good for a headache?
Yes, ginger is considered to be good for headache relief. Ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate headache pain.
Anheyer, D., Klose, P., Lauche, R. et al. Yoga for Treating Headaches: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. J GEN INTERN MED 35, 846–854 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-019-05413-9
Arca, K.N., Halker Singh, R.B. Dehydration and Headache. Curr Pain Headache Rep 25, 56 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11916-021-00966-z
Hsieh, L. L.-C., Liou, H.-H., Lee, L.-H., Chen, T. H.-H., & Yen, A. M.-F. (2010). Effect of acupressure and trigger points in treating headache: A randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 38(01), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1142/s0192415x10007634
Okusanya, B. O., Lott, B. E., Ehiri, J., McClelland, J., & Rosales, C. (2022). Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Migraine in Adults: A Review of the Evidence. Frontiers in Neurology, 13, 871187. https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2022.871187
Rhyne DN, Anderson SL, Gedde M, Borgelt LM. Effects of medical marijuana on migraine headache frequency in an adult population. Pharmacotherapy. 2016;36(5):505-510.
Sherpa, M. L., Shrestha, N., Ojinna, B. T., Ravi, N., Kumar, V. S., Choday, S., Parisapogu, A., Hoang-Vu Tran, H., KC, A., & Elshaikh, A. O. (2022). Efficacy and Safety of Medical Marijuana in Migraine Headache: A Systematic Review. Cureus, 14(12). https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.32622
Zargaran, A., Borhani-Haghighi, A., Faridi, P., Daneshamouz, S., Kordafshari, G., & Mohagheghzadeh, A. (2014). Potential effect and mechanism of action of topical chamomile (Matricaria chammomila L.) oil on migraine headache: A medical hypothesis. Medical Hypotheses, 83(5), 566-569. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2014.08.023
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