Headaches affect millions of people each day. Those of us that have to deal with them on a regular basis not only complain of pain, but also aggravation, loss of focus, added stress, and irritability. Because headaches and migraines are so common, I often have people ask me for natural remedies or tips to deal with them in order to avoid continuous use of over the medications and all of the potential side-effects that come along with them.
Read below and find 6 natural, helpful tips to reduce headaches:
1. Magnesium - Magnesium is a popular headache remedy simply because it’s much safer than taking a painkiller. Many people who suffer from chronic headaches, especially those with heart disease, diabetes, and those on diuretics for blood pressure, are actually magnesium deficient. Taking 200-600mg of magnesium a day (oral or intravenous) has been shown to reduce headache frequency. You can also increase magnesium intake by eating more beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables.
2. Peppermint & Lavender Essential Oil - Both of these oils possess numbing and cooling effects - making them effective headache reducers. When applied on the skin, peppermint oil generates a long-lasting cooling effect. It also stimulates blood flow to the skin and reduces muscle tension. Lavender oil is commonly used as a mood stabilizer and sedative. Try combining these two oils and rub a few drops into your forehead, temples, and back of your neck for natural headache relief.
3. Posture & Chiropractic - Chiropractic adjustments and proper posture help to alleviate unnecessary stress and pressure on muscles, ligaments, nerves, and joints. Reducing this stress puts your body in a state of ease, reducing headaches (specifically those caused by tension in your neck and upper cervical spine). A recent clinical study showed that 73% of participants reported a “significant reduction” in headaches following chiropractic adjustments.
4. Herbs: Feverfew & Butterbur - Research shows that consuming feverfew reduces the frequency of migraine headaches and headache symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and light sensitivity. The recommended dose is 50-100mg of feverfew extract. Butterbur is a herb that reduces inflammation and blocks headaches. Doses of 75mg twice daily seem to work best.
5. B-Complex Vitamins - Serotonin is a brain neurotransmitter that is found in lower than normal amounts in many migraine sufferers. Many B-vitamins are involved in the formation of Serotonin, so naturally it would make sense to supplement these B vitamins if your intake is low. Studies indicate that vitamin B2 may reduce the frequency and duration of migraines, while vitamin B3 calms vascular headaches by dilating blood vessels to increase blood flow.
6. Cayenne Pepper - Cayenne pepper improves circulation in your body and reduces acidity. The capsaicin in this spice treats pain and inflammation as it depletes our body’s stores of substance P (neurotransmitter of pain signals to the brain). Less substance P means less pain is perceived by our brains. Cayenne can be taken orally in food, or topically by mixing it into natural muscle rubs.
References: J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2012 May, Phytomedicine. 1995 Oct, Pediatr Clin North Am. 2000, Public Health Nutr. 2000 Dec, Hum Psychopharmacol. 2011 Oct, Clin J Pain. 2000.