Headaches. We’ve all had them. They can suck the life and productivity right out of us.
Studies have shown more work days are lost due to headaches than any other reason.
If we believe the commercials that bombard us, the easiest way to deal with headaches is to pop a few pills. While taking medication can cure the headache, there are steps we can take to ease the pain naturally and even prevent it in the first place.
The first step in treating a headache is to figure out why it’s there. Many things can cause headaches, such as poor sleep, stress, allergies, eye strain, diet and illness.
If you get regular headaches, you may want to see your physician to rule out the possibilities of migraines, a need for glasses, or some other physical reason. While you’re there, be sure to ask about ways to alleviate your headaches naturally. They may have suggestions that can help.
Here are some good strategies you can use to treat your headaches without drugs:
1. Exercise. We know we need it, but not all of us get the amount of exercise we require for optimum health. When you exercise, your body produces chemicals, such as endorphins and adrenaline, which help you deal better with headaches and stress. As you already know, stress is a trigger for tension headaches.
* Exercise is the number one way to reduce stress and alleviate stress headaches.
* You don’t have to go to the gym and work out for hours on end to feel the benefits. When you feel a headache coming on, get up out of your chair and start to move. Even if it’s just a five-minute walk, it’s better than nothing.
* Regular exercise can help keep those headaches at a minimum. Many people find classes such as aerobics and yoga helpful for dealing with stress. Less stress equals fewer headaches.
2. Try essential oils and herbs. Many people find relief from headaches by massaging a few drops of peppermint, lavender or chamomile essential oil into the temples or the back of the neck. Ensure you’re using a quality essential oil.
Herbs can also be helpful. One of the easiest methods to benefit from herbs when experiencing a headache is to drink herbal tea. There are many varieties, including tea blends made specifically for headaches.
* Enjoy a cup of chamomile tea at your desk to help ease your headache. Other teas that help are the same as the essential oils: lavender, peppermint and wintergreen.
3. Reflexology. While you probably can’t run out during your busy day and get a massage to ease your headache, there is an alternate available: reflexology. In reflexology, points in the feet and hands correspond to parts of the body.
* Your toes and the areas right below them correspond to the head, sinuses and ears. Massaging these areas gently can significantly improve a headache. Something as simple as taking off your shoes and rubbing your feet can be the natural cure you’re seeking.
4. Use hot and cold. Many times a headache will respond to a change in temperature.
* Place a cold compress on the back of the neck. You can use ice or a damp cloth that has been in the freezer for a few minutes.
* If your headache doesn’t respond to cold, try a warm cloth instead.
* Another method is to alternate between hot and cold compresses.
* A footbath works as a natural cure. Soaking your feet in hot water can provide headache relief. Increase the effect by adding a few drops of essential oil to the bath.
5. Eat properly. Many headaches are diet related. Paying attention to what you eat – or what you don’t eat – may give you a clue as to why you’re getting headaches. Headaches can be your body’s way of telling you that it isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to function properly.
* Diets high in bad fats and preservatives and low in fiber are not going to help you get better. When we consume this type of diet, our immune system suffers, and we can experience headaches as a result.
Be sure to try a few of these methods to naturally treat your headaches. The truth is, not all headaches will respond the same way. What works one time may not work the next. As always, inform your doctor if you cannot find relief through these methods or with over the counter medication.