If you experience occasional headaches, you’re not alone. According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly everyone experiences a headache at some point in their lives. The most common type is a tension headache, which often sets in after excessive stress or from overstraining the neck, jaw, scalp and upper back muscles. Headaches can also occur when someone suddenly stops ingesting their accustomed daily intake of caffeine (also known as a caffeine withdrawal headache), or as a result of sinus pressure (such as from an infection).
Most headaches are benign, which means that they aren’t dangerous. See a physician, however, if you get a headache after trauma to your head, or if you have a headache associated with a high fever and a stiff neck. If you ever experience a sudden and severe headache, be sure to seek medical attention.
What can be done to relieve an occasional headache? Most people grab over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen, but there are many great natural headache remedies available that you may prefer. June is national headache month, so let’s look at some tried and true natural methods for melting away head pain, while at the same time supporting the health of your entire body.
1. Soothe with oils
Apply peppermint oil to your temples and to the base of your skull at the back of your neck. The oil can help bring blood flow to these areas, helping to alleviate discomfort. In Chinese health practices, pain is always associated with “stuck Qi,” and increasing circulation in these areas can help move Qi, thereby relieving a headache. Badger Aromatherapy Headache Soother is a great product to try. It contains a combination of essential oils, including peppermint, lavender and eucalyptus.
2. Help from heat
Wrap a heated therapy pack around your neck and shoulders. Bucky’s Buckwheat Seed Neck Wrap can be warmed in a microwave oven to provide soothing relief to tight, tense muscles. It’s fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and eco-friendly.
3. Wrap it up
Use an herbal wrap, or plaster, on your neck, shoulders and upper back to help reduce tension. Thermacare provides deep, penetrating heat and long-lasting pain relief. It's available in a large, ultra-thin wrap (resembling a bandage) that adheres to your skin and can be left in place for up to eight hours. If you’re on a long flight, this wrap can make a remarkable difference. It can help maintain increased circulation in potentially tight, tense muscles, thus preventing tension headaches. An extra bonus is that the wrap emits no any odor, is comfortable to wear, and can be conveniently covered by clothing.
4. Apply pressure
Press on the mound on the back of your hand between the base of your thumb and the base of your index finger. Applying pressure to this point, known in Chinese medicine as Large Intestine 4, is specifically recommended if you suffer from headaches. By pressing on Large Intestine 4, you are essentially doing acupressure. Press firmly for one minute, then change sides and press the same point on the other hand; alternate three times for best effects.
5. Try Homeopathy
Use homeopathic medicine to help support a pain-free head naturally. Clear Products Clear Headache is an aspirin-free product containing low-dose homeopathic remedies, and some botanical ingredients. The usual recommended dose is two pills every three to four hours as needed.
6. Get a massage
Unwind, relax, and let go with a full body massage. Not only can a good massage work out your muscle kinks, but it can also put you in a peaceful, blissful state of mind. No tension headache is likely to survive a deeply relaxing massage!