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holistic methods for headaches

Holistic Methods for Headaches

  1. headache

It is an understatement to say that no one enjoys a headache. An otherwise great day can be ruined entirely by a headache. Many people resort to NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) – aspirin, ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, etc. – to combat their headache. A migraine is another beast entirely. Typically affecting one side of the head, and often accompanied by nausea and disturbed vision, a migraine can lay someone up for a day or two, depending on the severity. The word “migraine” comes from the Greek hemi- meaning “half” and kranion meaning “skull,” affecting, as it often does, half of a person’s head. Any weapon against a migraine would be extremely valuable indeed – particularly when it spells prevention. Some factors have been isolated that can cause headaches, including migraines:

  • Food additives – Pesticides, preservatives, and chemical additives, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), can all play a role in migraines. The body is not built to assimilate such compounds. Additionally, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are increasingly suspect, to put it mildly. Using foods labeled “organic” and “GMO-free,” and checking the ingredients will help you make the right decisions.
  • Alcohol – Many people are hypersensitive to alcohol. It is essentially fermented organic material and poisonous to the body.
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners – Processed sugar has long proven an enemy of good health, as well as being addictive and detrimental to your teeth. Be on the lookout for artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharine, and Splenda. Aspartame is widely known as containing poisonous properties. Studies have linked aspartame to headaches, migraines, dizziness, tumors and even cancer. The FDA has admitted to 92 symptoms attributed to aspartame from submitted complaints. It took decades to put warning labels on cigarettes. Check the ingredients of products labeled “sugar free” as these could contain aspartame.Nature has provided plenty of items to satisfy your sweet tooth, such as stevia, honey, and fruit.
  • Allergies and irritants – Many people are sensitive to airborne particulates such as mold, pollen, harsh paint, and even heavy perfume. Have you ever gone to a shopping mall, and as soon as you opened the door, been hit with a concentrated barrage of headache-inducing cheap perfume odor? A good argument for outdoor malls. Allergies can also be at the root of headaches. Professional testing can be done for airborne mold spores. A full battery of specialized allergy testing may be needful if you suspect allergies are a factor.
  • Lack of sleep – Failure to get a good night’s sleep, or getting insufficient overall rest, can cause headaches. Calcium and magnesium – which can be taken as a hot drink – and the essential amino acid tryptophan, are known to help relax muscles and joints so you can sleep.
  • Lack of exercise – Rigorous exercise releases endorphins, neurotransmitters that are your body’s natural analgesics (pain relievers). Your body is not made to sit immobile at a desk, day after day. You’ve got to get out and get some exercise, preferably with fresh air and sunshine.

Certain supplements – vitamins, minerals, herbs – are known to ease and even prevent headaches:

  • Vitamins and minerals – B Vitamins: in particular, B1 (Thiamin) and B3 (Niacin) have known pain-reducing characteristics. Calcium and magnesium, and tryptophan – in addition to helping with sleep – are also good for easing pain. When you lose bodily fluids, such as through sweating or exercise, you can get cramps, headaches, dizziness, and even nausea, so it is vital to replenish lost electrolytes, potassium, and sodium. Consumption of sodium (salt) may need to be regulated if you are at risk of high blood pressure, as directed by a medical practitioner.
  • Herbs – Lavender, ginger, peppermint, and cayenne, to name a few, are in the herbal playbook for pain relief. You can get supplements, make herbal tea, or use herbal hot packs on the head, neck, shoulders, and back.
  • Water – You’ve got to keep yourself hydrated. Many aches and pains are simply due to lack of water.
  • Other remedies – Massage, acupuncture, homeopathic remedies, and other techniques exist as alternatives to painkillers.

Heavy painkillers can lead to abuse and addiction. If you suffer from headaches, the above information could help you lead a drug-free and pain-free life!

 

Sources:

2 Comments

  • Amanda

    This is something that I am soooo tired of seeing. I do not think I have gone through a day without hearing an advertisement for some of these headache drugs. I remember whenever I used to get a headach I always thought that the way that you handled these was by taking these drugs, when in actuality, I began to handle headaches a lot differently and I noticed a sizable difference in how they went away. My new method of handling is to drink a bunch of water and then take a nap. This was a world of difference as instead of taking a drug, I was able to treat the problem and make it go away. I also believe that there is a direct coorelation to the diet and water intake of someone and the frequency with which they get headaches. I also think it is true that a headache is a symptom where the body is telling you that something is not right with it, and if you simply pop a pill, then you will not find the root cause of the headache. I also have noticed that when I consume a lot of sweets, I tend to get headaches more often than when I do not have the sweets. I have seen a lot of press on aspartame as well as other sweeteners and these just seem to be chemicals that wreak havoc on the body and as a result of that leads to more drug intake. I know that there are a lot of simple solutions like the B vitamins in treating these. Being that I used to be a drinker I often times experienced the side effect of alcohol called a hangover, and this is really some vitamin deficiency. It is weird to think that people do not know the root cause of this by now, but that just goes to show you the way that the culture has conditioned us to thinking that there is a way to pop a pill to handle the problems. I also like how they are pointing out that allergies and mold could have something to do with the amount of headaches a person has, as there is not as much that is advertised about that, although I have seen more ads about the dangers of mold in a house so I think this is starting to be seen. Overall I got a lot out of this and I think it is very helpful in getting at the root of the problem.

  • Walter

    I think that this is a spot on article. There is indeed a direct correlation to what we eat and drink and take and the amount of headaches that people get. I have found a good solution and that is taking Niacin and B1. Sure the niacin can be a little uncomfortable and make you feel prickly, but this is nothing compared to the pain that is gotten from a headache and that is to say nothing of a migraine. I know that there is a lot of drugs that are out there to treat headaches, but these are not an answer to this. They only cover up the pain and I feel that more people need to know about the natural ways to handle these things. It is interesting what they say about MSG as well as aspartame as these are so common I think they are in a lot of the things that we eat. And do not think that this does not have something to do with the amount of headaches that people get when they have a crappy diet and do not exercise. I myself do not exercise like I do, but I also try to not eat as bad of food. Sure I mess up and it is tempting when I get a headache to take a pill, but what is more important is the fact that there are indeed natural ways to handle headaches. I think that there is a lot to be said about this and I feel that this does a good job of laying out very practical solutions that can be used to handle headaches.

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