Image from Scientificamerican.comMany, many people suffer from headaches - tension, hormonal, sinus, migraine...sometimes I feel like I get in a rut where I am popping ibuprofen every afternoon. I don't like doing that. If you feel the same way, here are some simple, natural ways to ease headache pain, and ward off daily headaches.
Yes, it means we have to be a little more responsible - but wouldn't you rather be responsible than be in pain? (some people actually answer No to that question - if that is you, this won't help you.)
We'll start with pain management:
- Aromatherapy: These oils can ease the pain of headaches. Peppermint, Lavender, Pink Grapefruit. You can apply one or two drops to the inside of your wrists, rub together, and inhale deeply. You can even use them all together if you like! Just mix about 1 drop peppermint, 3 drops lavender, and 2 drops p.grapefruit in 2 Tablespoons of a carrier oil - massage this on your temples, and your neck/shoulders (better yet, have your hubby do that for you). ***peppermint oil should NOT be used on pregnant/nursing women or children under 2***
- Ice: This can be one of the most effective ways to treat any kind of pain. Ice numbs the nerves and causes them to STOP sending pain signals to the brain. This breaks the pain cycle. Often when I have a headache, I put an icepack at the base of my neck and it really helps. Just last night, I had a sinus headache, and the ice pack felt better on my forehead, so that's where it sat as I fell asleep. Ice also reduces inflammation, which can be a major cause of headaches.
- Shunt: This involves both ice and heat. Run a footbath, or a regular tub, with hot water. Place your feet in the water. Place an icepack on your head. This will draw the blood away from your head, to your feet and should ease some of the discomfort.
- Hydration: I will confess, I am the worst at this one. I like to drink coffee - not water. But I do feel better when i drink water - and dehydration has been proven to be a major cause of headaches (especially ones that occur at the end of the day).
- Exercise: Doesn't it seem like this is the remedy for everything? Why can't we just be lazy....I guess we can and that's why we're in pain. As you probably know, exercise increases endorphins (natural pain killers), it increases circulation, and does a myriad of other important things. (blah blah blah just go exercise.)
- Massage Therapy: Especially useful for tension headaches, or stress-induced headaches. Your L.M.T. can release the tension in your muscles, reducing the constraint on your nerves. This does not have to be painful "deep tissue" massage. Just a simple, slow massage can melt away many layers of tension. A light scalp massage can be helpful too - this is a good one to use on your kids.