At some stage or another, we’ve all experienced the discomfort and pain of headaches. For most people, headaches just come and go infrequently, normally as a sign of stress or imbalance in the body.
However, for some, headaches can be incessant and painful, to the point that they can greatly impact the ability to function properly in normal life.
The big problem today is this...
We have been trained to believe that the solution to a headache is an over-the-counter drug like Aspirin or Paracetamol, but this does nothing other than suppress the underlying cause.
Yes, it will create short term relief, but the drug has also added toxicity to the body which can lead to dependency and side-effects for other symptoms down the road.
The key is to understand what causes headaches in the first place and the best way to soothe headaches, naturally, without invasive medicine and the associated effects.
Read on to learn about the most common types of headaches, the main causes and what you can do about by practicing Self Care.
Common Types of Headaches
Tension (stress) headaches tend to come and go and are experienced by people of all ages in response to general life stresses and pressures. They normally cause mild to moderate pain, which can become chronic if the source of tension is not removed.
Cluster headaches can cause intense pain which can feel like burning behind their eyes. They are usually in response to hormonal imbalances, certain foods or stress and show up in groups or ‘clusters’, making them more pronounced.
These debilitating headaches can last anywhere from days to weeks and although they might go away for an extended period, they often reoccur down the track unless lifestyle adjustments are made.
Mainly affecting the area around the nose, cheeks and behind the forehead, inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis) can lead to sinus related headaches, that can be uncomfortable at best and excruciating at worst. It’s often accompanied by swelling, a runny nose and in some cases, fever during a cold or flu.
A common concern of pregnancy is headaches and nausea.
Pregnancy headaches come on without warning and often start and stop suddenly.
Even though researchers believe hormonal changes are the cause of these headaches, it is likely that the significant emotional and physical changes that accompany pregnancy, also contribute to them.
Most headaches experienced during pregnancy, come on in the first two trimesters. They usually subside or disappear by the end of the second trimester.
Migraines can be excruciating headaches caused by spasms and constrictions of the arteries leading to the brain. Regular migraines are usually a sign of chronic dehydration and also overwhelming stress.
Causes of Headaches
Headaches can be caused or brought on by:
- Stress and Tenstion
- Adrenal Fatigue
- Colds & Flu
- Eye Strain
- Hay Fever
- High Blood Pressure
- Magnesium Deficiency
- Motion & Travel Sickness
- Processed Caffeine
- Vitamin or Mineral Deficiencies
Water is the #1 Remedy for Headaches
Although a headache medication may get rid of the discomfort temporarily, it does not get to the main cause of the headache, which is usually dehydration of the brain.
If you experience a headache, the first thing you should do is immediately drink 1 litre of good clean water as soon as you can. Your brain gets first call on any water entering the stomach, absorbing it through a process known as capillary precipitation, where it gets rapidly absorbed into the frontal lobes of the brain.
Interestingly, the weight of the human brain is approximately 2 litres of water. And this water - known has hydronium fluid - should be replenished every 24 hours.
There's even medical scientific research that shows that 95% of headaches are caused by dehydration, but no one seems to care.
When the capillaries and blood vessels don't get enough water to function, they constrict to hold on to the water they have - and this constriction is what causes the pain, commonly known as a headache.
Put simply, a headache or migraine is a clear sign or signal that your body is in short supply of water. In other words, the cause is dehydration and the cure is water!
Always remember, that your body is composed of about 60% water and your brain about 73% water, so this should highlight for you just how important drinking enough water every day actually is.
You can learn more about water in our blog, Water: Nature's Best & Why It's Critical to Life
In addition to drinking more water to stay hydrated, you should also kick up your intake of high-water-content and magnesium rich fruits and vegetables which include:
- Citrus Fruits
- Green Peppers
More About Migraines
What is a migraine?
A migraine headache is a form of vascular headache.
It is caused by a combination of vasodilatation, which is an enlargement of blood vessels, and the release of chemicals from nerve fibres that coil around the blood vessels.
The temporal artery enlarges during a migraine. The temporal artery is an artery that lies on the outside of the skull just under the skin of the temple. Enlargement of the temporal artery stretches the nerves that coil around the artery, causing the nerves to release chemicals. The chemicals can lead to inflammation, pain and further enlargement of the artery, which magnifies the pain..
What causes migraines?
Besides dehydration being the typical primary cause as already described, certain foods can also contribute to the problem, including commercial chocolate and wines that contain sulphites, preservatives and other chemicals.
Excessive tiredness, work stress and hormonal imbalances can also play a role in the development of migraines.
Migraine attacks may also be triggered by:
- Extreme Dehydration
- Alcohol or caffeine infused chemicals
- Allergic reactions
- Bright lights, loud noises, and certain odours or perfumes
- Stress and Tension
- Motion Sickness
- Lack of fresh air
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Commercial chocolate
- A lack of salt in the diet
- Foods containing tyramine, such as smoked fish, chicken and livers, monosodium glutamate (MSG) or nitrates like bacon, hot dogs and salami
- Menstrual cycle fluctuations, birth control pills
- Physical or emotional stress
- Skipping meals
- Smoking or exposure to smoke
- Migraine headaches
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Numbness, tingling or weakness
- Sensitivity to light or sound.
The warning signs that a migraine is coming, may include seeing stars or zigzag lines, having tunnel vision or temporary blind spot.
Symptoms that may linger even after a migraine has gone away include:
- Feeling mentally dull as though your thinking is not clear or sharp
- Increased need for sleep
- Neck pain.
How to Remedy Migraines Naturally
If you suffer from regular migraines, the number one solution is to begin drinking 3-4 litres of water each day.
At the first sign of an impending migraine, drink 1 litre of cold water and lay down for at least 30 minutes.
Sometimes, at the onset of a migraine, lying down in a dark room with a cold pack can help.
Stress management techniques, such as relaxation and massage, can help limit pain. They may also make them happen less often. Learn more in my blog, Stress Management without Harmful Addictions
Avoid any processed foods that contain food colourings, preservatives and/or refined sugars and go with a heavily plant-based diet, at least until the problem subsides.
Natural Remedies for Headaches & Migraines
To relieve the pain of a headache, massage the scalp and the soles of the feet with olive oil. You may also rub olive oil on the neck, shoulders and upper back. Follow by taking a hot shower.
Pure Essential Oils
Pure Essential Oils can be very effective in soothing and moderating headaches and migraines. Here is a selection of oils that can help:
Just the scent of Peppermint Pure Essential Oil can relieve headache pain.
Add a drop of peppermint essential oil behind the ears and underneath the nose. Inhaling the fragrance may also take the edge off a headache. You can also warm 1-2 drops of oil in your hands, by rubbing together. Cup your nose and mouth with your hands and inhale deeply about six times, exhaling away from your hands.
When applying a couple of drops to the skin, it can stimulate blood flow and help to soothe contracted muscles which can be additionally beneficial for some types of headaches.
Thanks to lavender’s mood stabilising and sedative qualities Lavender Pure Essential Oil can offer relief to migraine headaches when inhaled for 15 minutes or more every hour until symptoms subside.
As a result of its inherent muscle relaxing and pain-relieving properties, Basil Pure Essential Oil can be effective for treating tension and sinus headaches. Add a few drops to a bowl of boiled water then place a towel over your head and bowl and breathe in the steam for around 10-15 minutes.
Our Golden Re-Leaf Pain Relief Oil is a special blend of essential oils and 24k medicinal gold. In addition to its muscular and inflammation pain-relieving properties, when applied to the back of the neck and temples, as well as used aromatically, it can help to alleviate the pain associated with migraines.
Herbs for Headaches
- Butterbur -reduces inflammation caused by headache triggers
- Feverfew - can reduce the occurrence of headaches and migraines
- Ginger - helps thwart and prevent migraine headaches
Take a mineral bath. Create your own relaxing “health spa” bath to relax your muscles and relieve tension. Add one cup of sea salt and one cup of baking soda to a warm bath. Soak for 20 minutes. To address any magnesium deficiencies that may be contributing to your headaches, you can also add Epsom Salt, Magnesium Flakes or Magnesium Oil into the mix. Learn more in our blog: Magnesium Deficiency: Symptoms, Causes & Remedies
You can also add in a few drops of the essential oils above as well as some Apple Cider Vinegar for enhanced results.
Reflexology is a therapy that works on the principle that there are reflexes on the feet and hands that correspond to all glands, organs and other parts of the body. In terms of treating headaches, there are several points on your feet and one on the hand that when pressed can help to give some relief to headaches and migraines.
The Main Takeaway
Headaches are one of the most common ailments experienced in today's world. They are the easiest to cause and the easiest to fix. Any type of headache or migraine is usually a sign of dehydration of the brain, first and foremost.
Yes, there may be other factors like stress or hormonal changes that can contribute to headaches, but always the first port of call should be to drink more water. After that, find ways to relieve the source of stress by changing your environment as best you can and by embracing some of the other natural tips mentioned in this blog.
Tolman Self Care.