Alternative Remedies for Headache Relief

We’ve all had them—headaches that just won’t go away.  You try the traditional 2-3 Tylenol tablets, but still, no relief.  Maybe it’s time to try a non-traditional remedy.
Headaches are defined as pain that occurs in one or more areas of the head, face, mouth, or neck.  The pain can be mild or possibly debilitating, interferring with daily activities.  Most headaches are classified as tension headaches, stemming from a number of factors like stress, the environment, menstration and muscle tensions, the flu or even alcohol.  But headaches that prevent you from performing daily activities are most likely migraines.
Here are a few alternative remedies to help cure that nasty headache:
  • Feverfew.  This medicinal herb is said to inhibit the release of serotonin and prostaglandins, limiting the inflammation of blood vessels, causing a headache.  Capsules or tablets can be found in almost any health food market.  But be aware that they may take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to become effective.
  • Magnesium.  Magnesium is used for stabilizing blood vessel walls and aiding in regular sleep patterns, which are vital for those with migraines.  You should notice some relief with regular, 200mg magnesium supplements twice a day.
  •  Calcium and Vitamin D.  Because women, more than men, are likely to have calcium deficiencies, they tend to suffer from more migraines, especially during premenstral phase of their menstrual cycle.  According to Susan Thys-Jacobs, M.D., “the hormones that regulate calcium react negatively with high levels of estrogen and progesterone, which causes a deficiency that can trigger migraines”.  She recommends taking 100 mg of calcium and 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D with food.
  •   Acupuncture.  Acupuncture can be a helpful tool in relieving and calming the blood vessels that trigger tension headaches and migraines.  Do your research when looking for a qualified acupuncturist.  Choose a practioner who holds a full doctorate degree in Chinese medicine, as they are required to go through several years of training.
  • Nutritional therapies.  Many times, migraines can be triggered by the foods we eat.  Dietary avoidance is a therapy commonly used.  Additives, tyramine-containing foods (cheese, tap beer, some fruit, many processed foods, soy, nuts), sugar substitutes and missing meals all contribute to both tension headaches and migraines.  You may want to try eliminating wheat, sugar and milk products from your diet to see if the headaches occur less often and always consult a doctor before making any drastic dietary changes.
  • Aromatherapy.  Peppermint, sandlewood, rosemary and eucalyptus, when used in aromatherapy, have been shown to have calming and relaxing effects.  Lavender also works well to relieve stress and can be used in a diffuser, bath or even a few drops on your pillow. 
  • Chiropractic manipulation or massage.  Tension in the head, neck or back may be relieved with the use of chiropractic treatment or massge.  Many complications in this region add to headache pain; and although this therapy may not completely solve your problem, it may bring some temporary relief to your aching head.

Do you have any alternative therapies that have helped relieve headache pain? 

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