Natural Headache Remedies
Almost 10% of the American population report to have suffered from severe and debilitating headaches this past year. The cost for medical expenses for this type of ailment is $1 billion dollars in one year! So if you are one of the unfortunate ones to be adding into this statistic, you have probably tried everything to get rid of your headaches. Here are some hopefully fresh ideas to try that are all natural and could just be the ticket.
Biofeedback is an alternative diagnostic device that uses electronic sensors to monitor body functions including muscle tension, skin temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. The data from the device is communicated to you by either sounds or computer images. This monitoring feedback can then teach you how to control your body’s response such as releasing tight muscles or decreasing blood pressure to prevent headache pain. Recent behavior therapy studies conducted on biofeedback shows that this method of headache management is more cost effective than prescription drugs.
Therapeutic massages have been showing great promise for headache sufferers. Often just the simple process of rubbing your temples can bring relief. Also getting a neck, back, head or shoulder massage can reduce or even eliminate a headache. In a recent study at the Headache Clinic of Denver, people with migraines who had six weekly massage sessions had less frequent migraines and better sleep during the massage weeks and the three following weeks than a control group.
Headache-relieving stretches can release muscle tension that may be causing the pain. Consider adding these simple stretches the moment you feel a headache coming on. Try these three stretches to increase your neck range of motion bend your chin forward, upward and then toward each shoulder; then do a couple shoulder shrugs where you shrug up, up and forward and then up and back; and neck isometrics by pressing your palm into your forehead and holding against slight pressure and then by pressing a hand on each side of the head, first one side and then the other. Each of the stretches should be repeated 3-5 times.
According to the National Pain Foundation, daily or at least every other day exercise like walking, biking, hiking or participating in sports can reduce headache intensity and frequency. The medical journal, Headache conducted a study where patients that did not exercise regularly were put on a 12-week cycling program. Participants reported an improved quality of life and reduction in the number of migraines and a decrease in the intensity of the pain.
There have been some reported studies showing people with migraines found that spiritual meditation reduced headache frequency and improved pain tolerance more than secular meditation and muscle relaxation. Various meditation techniques can be used to focus attention and quiet the mind from distractions such as chronic pain.
Deep breathing, soothing music and other relaxation techniques can help people reduce the intensity of their headaches. There are many benefits reported by using a progressive muscle-relaxation technique.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a tension-reducing method that involves the progressive tension and relaxing of specific muscle groups. Starting with the muscles in your face, you completely tense all the muscles and hold the tension for several seconds (do this to the count of ten), completely relax for the same amount of time, then repeat the process with the next set of muscles (the neck, the shoulders, etc.) until every area of your body has been relaxed. With practice, you can learn to completely relax your body within seconds and keep from storing up tension and stress.
Heat and cold
Here’s a simple trick that is safe for everyone and can provide some immediate relief. To reduce neck tension, apply heat to the back of your neck. Another easy trick is to put an ice cube on your temple. This is said to break the pain cycle. The technical reason this may work is that the artery that supplies blood to the brain sits behind bone at the temple. Migraines are often due to inflammation in this area. Lowering the temperature of the blood passing through that area can often reduce or completely stop the throbbing.
The new kid on the block which has actually been around for thousands of years is using Essential Oils to obliterate headache pain. My husband has just fallen in love with my YL Peppermint Essential Oil. He has had an allergy headache for weeks that has not responded to anything. When I pulled out the peppermint oil and was literally chasing him around the house, he thought I was crazy. Three days later, if I have the oil in my purse and he can’t find it, he’s hunting me down. Simply rub 2 small drops of Therapeutic Grade (most oils you buy are not therapeutic grade) of Peppermint Oil on your temples. And for an added benefit (if you are using Young Living Oils) you can then lick your fingers and have a powerful germ fighting breath freshener! (Warning: Do not ingest other essential oils that say not for internal use as they are cheap imitations and can be harmful to your health). If your headache is due to sinus congestion, use YL R.C. Essential Oil Blend to clear up congestion on your chest and throat.
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