Every day, millions of Americans experience headache pain. This pain can be caused by a variety of things, and perhaps the only thing more numerous than the potential causes of headaches are the purported solutions.
Everything from surgical intervention to rhythmic breathing has been suggested, and different things seem to work for different individuals. One of the most common remedies is the use of NSAID pain relievers and other over the counter medications to manage the pain. When abused, they can have drastic health consequences (there’s a reason every container has a warning about potential stomach bleeding). Listed below are some of the best all natural headache remedies that carry very few if any potential side effects.
Biofeedback is a process that utilizes electronic sensors to monitor things such as your heart beat, blood pressure, and muscle tension. The goal of the system is to understand what causes your headache, and how to avoid triggering it in the future. For example, the sensors can detect that you have an unusually tense area in your neck. If you learn how to relax this tense area, it can ease the symptoms. A recent study has found that this method is particularly effective with tension headaches and migraines, and it is more cost effect over time than purchasing over the counter medications.
While it may not be ideal for individuals who get squeamish over needles, hordes of migraine sufferers the world over swear by the power of acupuncture. Thin needles are inserted under the skin in an attempt to realign the body’s energy. The needles are often targeted at specific pressure points that have been linked to headaches. A Cochrane review found that acupuncture can be highly effective at preventing chronic headaches and migraines. Sessions cost anywhere from $50 to $120 each, but if you are constantly under siege from headaches, it may be worth a try.
Think of massage as a less aggressive form of acupuncture. The end goal is the massage is to target specific pressure points that seem to be linked to headaches. Often times, massages are excellent at relieving the symptoms of tension headaches. Try and have your upper neck massaged; tight muscles here can lead to some of the most common headaches. Unfortunately, massage will generally only provide temporary relief until a more permanent treatment can be found.
As we have probably established by now, tension headaches are among the most commonly experienced headache varieties the world over. It is believed that they can be avoided entirely if you add stretching to your workouts. Ensuring proper blood flow and circulation can effectively prevent a tension headache before it happens.
A recent study found that aerobic exercise can reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines in chronic sufferers. Individuals who complained of perpetual and frequent migraines undertook a twelve week exercise regimen and almost unanimously found that the symptoms either lessened or went away entirely. Science has not yet clearly established why this is true, but if you are experiencing frequent migraines it is certainly worth a shot. At best you’ll avoid migraines with exercise, and at worst you’ll be healthier overall.