Do you or a loved one suffer from headaches?
Perhaps you walk down the cleaning aisle of the supermarket and feel queasy, or your 3.30pm sugar crash is the time a headache shows up to annoy you? Or maybe its a monthly head pain occurrence before your period?
It is important to understand that headaches are a way of your body telling you that something is out of balance. There are many potential culprits to your niggling head tension, so rest assured, I’l be stepping you through many ways to support your body to prevent and naturally alleviate the next wave of pain.
REDUCE YOUR STRESS LEVELS
Stress and tension are one of the most common causes of headaches and migraines. When there is ongoing stress in your life, this will contribute to a state of Magnesium deficiency. Magnesium plays an important role in relaxing the muscles of the body, therefore supporting your Magnesium status should be addressed to both prevent and treat tension and pains in the body.
You can have regular Epsom salt or Magnesium Chloride baths, or use a Magnesium Chloride spray, to enhance topical absorption of Magnesium. Alternatively, you can take Magnesium orally, but there is a great difference in absorption with the different forms. I opt for a Magnesium Biglycinate, which is well absorbed and won’t cause loose bowel movements with high doses.
Peppermint, Lavender, Rosemary, Roman Chamomile, Coriander, Cardamom, Frankincense or Wintergreen essential oils are beneficial short term treatment for tension based headaches. Aside from Wintergreen, you can diffuse these, or dilute any with a carrier oil and massage one or more oils into the temples, neck and forehead. I encourage you to patch test on your wrist before apply to the site of the headache. You can learn more about pure, high quality doTERRA essential oils and their uses by getting in touch over here.
Myofacial release is beneficial to release tight jaw muscles, and massaging an acupressure point the web in between your thumb and index finger, can prove effective to reduce headache pain.
Adequete sleep will also encourage lower stress levels and prevent headaches. Learn about how you can achieve restless sleep here.
BALANCE YOUR HORMONE HEALTH
I’ve previously discussed the importance of gut and liver health for balanced hormones. When these areas are compromised, a condition known as Oestrogen dominance can occur for women, leading to symptoms in the lead up to menstruation.
Among breast tenderness, fluid retention, mood swings, Oestrogen dominance can cause headaches, and in some cases, migraines in the luteal phase (second half) of your cycle. You can read about Oestrogen dominance here and find recommended treatment in my book: Balanced, The Natural Way To Healthy Hormones.
If you’re seeing a Naturopath, or Integrative GP, you can have accurate saliva or urine hormone tests performed, to take out any guess work when striving for balanced hormones.
Fingers crossed you’re all over this one already. The importance of adequate levels of water can not be overstated. Our brains are 80% water, so when you starve the body of clean, filtered water, your brain tissue can shrink, triggering pain receptors. There is also a lowered delivery of oxygen to the brain, causing the blood vessels to dilate and leads to swelling and inflammation- 2 contributors of more pain. These dehydration headaches are usually characterised by pain that worsens with movement.
Reduce dehydrating alcoholic and caffeine rich drinks and reach a safe daily water intake, by spreading it out and consuming between 60-100mls per waking half hour (for adults). Drinking this high strength coconut water kefir along with herbal teas, counts towards this consumption. More water is required, when exercising.
You may associate chiropractic care to back pain, however treatment and preventative chiropractic adjustments can play a major role in overcoming headache severity and frequency. Poor spinal alignment can create issues with blood and oxygen flow to the brain, contributing to headaches.
Dr Jake Georgonicas, explains how Chiropractic Care can help to prevent and treat your headaches.
“… a common reason for patients presenting to our chiropractic clinic is headaches- specifically cervicogenic headaches. These types of headaches often occur in combination with neck stiffness and/ or pain and often the neck is the primary trigger and cause of the headache.
As a chiropractor, when treating these headaches I will focus on returning proper biochemical movement to the joints of the neck, using gentle manipulation and stretching. Once these joints are free to move, the muscular tissues around the joints relax. This allows the return of normal blood flow to the surrounding tissues, including the base of the skull and in some cases this can provide significant relief to headache and migraine sufferers. ”
NOURISH YOUR GUT HEALTH
Within the folded tissue lining the Gastrointestinal tract, there are an astonishing 200-600 million neurons, which allow communication back and forth to the brain. These messages ultimately affect our stress levels, state of mood, our memory, concentration and decision-making.
When things go wrong in the gut, (such as the development of inflammation from food intolerances), this can play a role in the development of headaches. The MSG (Monosodium Glutatmate) food additive, along with amine rich foods, such as chocolate and wine, and sulphur rich foods, such as wine and dried fruit, are common culprits.
Encourage healthy digestion by incorporating bone broths, fermented foods and eliminate personal food intolerance triggers, as well as taking digestive enzymes with your meals support digestion and absorption of nutrients.
If you’ve eaten something that has caused a digestive upset, followed by a headache, Lavendar, Peppermint and Rosemary essential oils can be helpful to reduce the pain, when applied to the area, diluted. Rosemary can also be added to your hands, before cupping over your nose and mouth, to breathe in the remedial oil for around 1 minute.
Adding turmeric and ginger to a juice, smoothie, broth or meal, can also help reduce unwanted inflammation and can aid in alleviating the pain of headaches.
On the topic of diet, it’s important to nourish your body to keep your blood sugar levels balanced and therefore avoid ‘sugar crash’ headaches. Eliminating refined sugar, limiting natural sugars and ensuring your blood sugars remain balanced with protein and good fats in your main meals (along with loads of vegetables over the day), is a great place to start. If you have further trouble, adding cinnamon to your meals and taking a chromium, lipoic acid and gymnema supplement may be beneficial. You can find more info within the pages of Balanced, The Natural Way To Healthy Hormones.
SUPPORT YOUR DETOX PATHWAYS
When your elimination organs become overwhelmed with an array of toxins, such as a additives within your diet, chemicals in cosmetics, fragrances in your environment, BPA in your takeaway coffee cup lid along with air pollution and heavy metal exposure (just to name a few), a build up effect can occurs in the body and contribute to side effects such as headaches and migraines.
Supporting your elimination organs is therefore crucial to take a toxic load off of the body. Along with supporting gut health, I outline some of my favourite ways to encourage healthy detoxification in Balanced, The Natural Way To Healthy Hormones. You can avoid toxins through your cosmetics by using natural skin and body care, such as my recommendations here.
GO NATURAL TO PREVENT & TREAT HEADACHES
If you’re a regular sufferer headaches, consider these natural ways to both prevent and treat headaches. Support your body holistically, by focusing on building resilience to stress, getting regular nervous system support through chiropractic care, striving for balanced hormones, staying hydrated with filtered water, supporting your gut health, balancing your blood sugar levels and encouraging healthy elimination of toxins from your body. It will take time and dedication, but by addressing each of these areas, you can reduce your headache frequency and severity, as well as allowing your body to recover quickly.
If symptoms persist, you should rule out more chronic causes of the pain, by visiting your GP and optomitrist.