When most people think of headache remedies, they think of aspirin or acetaminophen pain relievers. However, home remedies for headaches have been around for generations and provide effective relief for millions of sufferers. Anyone searching for a headache cure, however, would do well to first understand what causes headaches and explore the many natural headache remedies that are available to treat them naturally.
A headache is characterized by pain in the upper neck or the head. The different types of headache include the tension headache, the migraine headache, and the cluster headache.
Headaches have multiple causes depending on their type. For instance, tension headaches are generally caused by prolonged physical or emotional tension and stress, while migraine headaches may be hereditary. Migraine headaches are also sometimes caused by an imbalance in serotonin levels, glucose imbalances, changes in hormones and even certain foods. Smoking may cause cluster headaches, which are more common in men. These may also be triggered by the use of certain medications and a disruption in sleep patterns. Tension, migraine, and cluster headaches are all classified as primary headaches.
Another headache classification, known as secondary headaches, are those that are caused by underlying illnesses such as an infection or a tumor growing in the head.
The following are a brief list of symptoms that accompany the different types of primary headaches:
- Pain is generally located behind the eyes
- Eyes may become red, swollen and watery
- Pain in the head lasting between 30 minutes and an hour
- Pain occurs once or twice per day
- Pain often occurs at approximately the same time every day
- A person with a cluster headache may also feel sinus congestion or a runny nose
Cluster headaches can last for days, weeks or months followed by long pain-free intervals before they occur again.
- Pain and/or pressure generally originates in the neck or the back of the head
- As the headache progresses, pain feels more intense in the forehead
- Tension headaches, though painful, are not as severe as migraine headaches
- Tension headaches do not generally have a pattern of occurrence, though some do report feeling them daily
- Intense pain and/or throbbing on one or both sides of the head
- Sensitivity to light, sound and odors
- Some migraines are accompanied by intense nausea and even vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Mental confusion
- Scalp tenderness
- Tender or stiff feeling in the neck
- Perspiring or feeling cold
- Nasal congestion
Most people describe the pain of a migraine as a debilitating sort and, while only one or two of the above symptoms may be experienced, some experience several of the symptoms with the onset of a migraine.
Others have used the following headache remedies in the past to effectively treat symptoms:
- Melatonin supplements
- Cayenne pepper (a spoonful in water works to reduce inflammation and increases circulation)
- Peppermint oil (can be consumed in tea or applied directly to the temples and under the nose)
- Ginkgo Biloba (consumed as a tea or a supplement)
- Feverfew herbal tea
- Dong Quai
- Ginger tea
- Holy Basil
- Magnesium supplements
- Vitamin B2
Headache remedies also involve assessing one’s lifestyle to try to determine the cause of the headache, particularly if they appear to occur in patterns. Avoiding all processed foods, junk foods, foods high in fat and foods containing artificial sweeteners are recommended. Adequate daily rest and daily exercise also help in keeping the body fit and helps maintain adequate circulation.