HOME REMEDIES, NATURAL TREATMENT FOR MIGRAINES AND HEADACHES IN ADULTS AND CHILDREN
Headache refers to any form of pain in the head or neck. This may come in form of migraines which are severe, pounding pains on one side of the head. Many factors are responsible for headaches some of which are serious while others are not. These include fatigue, dehydration, sleeplessness and stress. Other causes are common cold, viral infection, head injury, dental problems or pain due to sudden swallowing of very cold substances, known as brain freeze.
There are many types of headache but they are broadly classified as primary or secondary headache. The former may be regular and recurring but not life threatening while the latter may be harmless or life threatening.
Secondary headaches become life threatening if they are due to underlying causes such as brain tumors, bleeding, infection or vascular disorder. Migraines are a type of primary headache that comes with symptoms such as pounding pain on one side of the head, high sensitivity to light and sound and sometimes nausea with or without vomiting. Headaches can reduce productivity drastically and are often depressing so in this article, we will discuss headache and how to reduce or eliminate it using home remedies instead of over-the-counter drugs.
Causes of migraines and headaches
Hormonal changes in women
Women experience hormonal changes at various stages of their menstrual cycle. These fluctuations tend to induce headache in a good number of women especially changes in estrogen levels before and during menstrual periods. Some women don’t experience headaches during periods but rather during pregnancy or menopause when many hormonal changes occur as well. Some incidences of migraines are caused by hormonal contraceptives and may worsen it although the drugs help to relief migraines for some women.
Unhealthy foods such as salty and processed foods can contribute to initiating headaches and migraines. Headaches may also be experienced during fasts or if meals are missed. Food that has additives such as aspartame which is an industrial sweetener are major triggers of headaches and migraines. Monosodium glutamate, a popular preservative can also cause or worsen headaches and migraines. Wine and other alcoholic drinks are major causes of migraines and should be avoided together with carbonated drinks or any beverage that contains caffeine.
Most people do more work than necessary and end up getting stressed after they close for the day. This predisposes you to migraines and serious headaches that may disrupt your activities. It is therefore advisable to keep stress level low by engaging in recreational and other activities that help you to relax. Stress may also come from home but do everything to reduce such stress.
People who live in areas where loud music is being played regularly are more prone to migraine attacks. Exposure to intensely Bright lights and sun glare can also cause or aggravate headaches and migraines. Substances with strong smell such as some perfume and plants with strong smell can also induce migraines and headaches.
Changes in wake-sleep pattern.
Irregular sleep pattern is one of the main causes of migraines. The body must be trained to wake and sleep at regular hours without missing sleep or over sleeping. Alternating sleep patterns can cause insomnia over time and result in incessant headaches and migraines.
Engaging in too much strenuous physical activities such as exercise or work that requires a lot of physical activities may result in migraines. This includes sudden involvement in rigorous exercise which alters your body’s chemical balance and so lead to migraines.
Environmental or weather changes
A sudden change of weather can cause migraines due to sudden adjustments the body has to make to accommodate changes in the weather. A change in the environment like moving to a new location has the same effect if the weather is different or there are differences in time zones which interfere with the body’s rhythmic time clock.
Some drugs cause dilation of blood vessels and in the process cause migraines and headaches. Such drugs include Oral contraceptives and nitroglycerin and should not be taken without prior consultation with a healthcare practitioner.
Migraines also have risk factors which determine how and when you are affected. These are factors that have nothing to do with your lifestyle and that you can’t change even though they predispose you to attack from migraines.
Heredity plays an important role in migraine attacks. If your parents or any other relatives have regular migraines then chances are you will get it too. In this case you should avoid lifestyles that make you more prone to the attack since you can’t change your family history. .
Although age has little to do with migraine attacks and may occur in anyone one of any age, it mostly sets in at adolescence and reaches its maximum at 30 years and above after which it becomes less severe especially as women approach menopause.
Unlike age, sex is a key determinant of migraines aswomen are three times more prone to migraine attacks than men. Boys however get more headaches in childhood but the tables turn during puberty until old age although this may be influenced by age as well.
Home remedies for headache in adults
As discussed above, migraines and headaches can occur at any age so there is no difference. Likewise, remedies for adults are also applicable for children unless a doctor says otherwise. The following are proven home remedies that can reduce, eliminate and prevent migraines or headaches.
It is said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apple is a good way to get rid of headaches and migraines when they come knocking. This is possible because apples help to restore balance of acids and alkalis in the body, the disruption of which resulted in the headache. Apple cider vinegar can also be used to cure headaches either by drinking it with water, honey and lemon or by boiling it and inhaling the steam which brings relief instantly. Eating an apple with some salt works wonders for early morning headaches.
Cloves which is a common spice is used as a home remedy to cure headache. It has a cooling property that makes it ideal for relieving pounding migraines. Inhaling the scent from crushed up cloves can bring instant relief. Another method is to mix two drops of the oil with one tablespoonful of coconut oil and table salt and use it to massage the temples until there is relief.
Do gentle exercise
Stretching is known to bring relief in many conditions and headaches or migraines are no exception. Exercising your head and neck region by stretching can reduce headache intensity significantly. This can be done by moving your chin in all directions and bending the neck to the right and left. It is also advisable to turn the head clockwise and anti-clockwise. This will help to relax the muscles and increase blood supply to the head and neck region which will then reduce the headache. Exercise also triggers the release of endorphins which are chemicals responsible for killing pain. This will bring a relief from the headache or migraine.
Use cold compress
Another simple but effective way to calm headaches is to use ice. You may put ice crystals in a nylon bag or towel and apply the cold on the temples, the forehead and back of neck. The cold makes the areas numb and so reduce sensitivity to pain. You may also want to use both hot and cold compresses in turn. Carrying this out with lavender or peppermint oil added to the water gives added advantage.
Peppermint is has natural anti-inflammatory properties that are useful for reducing headaches. It also helps to stop involuntary spasms and so is good for pain relief generally. In fact the fragrance has been shown to induce healing in patients suffering from headaches and migraines. Drinking peppermint tea with honey as often as desired brings soothing relief from headache. Using the oil to massage the temples is also a great way to eliminate headache.
Ginger which is a known remedy for many health issues is also useful for reducing headache and is an effective treatment for common migraines. It acts by stopping the production and activities of prostaglandins which induce contraction of muscles and alters hormonal balance thus causing headache. For best results, ginger tea should be taken as soon as the headache starts and continued until the pain subsides. Chew on the raw ginger roots if you can. It will prevent nausea and vomiting which are common symptoms with severe migraines.
The above are ways to treat oneself at home and try to cure headaches and migraines but if you try everything and the pain persists, it is best to visit a doctor because it may be secondary headache with an underlying cause which may be a dangerous health issue. Also if you are on drugs prescribed by the physician, consult him before using any of the remedies to avoid complications, pregnant women are also advised to consult their healthcare provider before using these remedies as some may be potentially dangerous to them. Thank you for reading and we’ll love to hear from you in the comments section. Good luck.