Headaches can be debilitating at worst and a nagging inconvenience at best. They can affect work and school productivity, and a bad headache can simply put you out of commission, no matter what your vocation. Taking medications can help relieve pain, but some of these pain relievers have side effects (such as stomach pain) and, if taken over too long a period, pain relievers can cause a rebound effect (in the form of another headache) when you stop taking them.
Some of the common causes of headaches are muscle tension, dilation and constriction of the blood vessels in the brain, food sensitivities, and hormone fluctuations. Once you've seen your health care practitioner and have ruled out anything serious, there are some natural approaches to headache relief that you can try.
- Cramp Bark (Vibernum opulus)
As the name of the herb suggests, Cramp bark helps alleviate muscle tension and cramps. Vibernum prunifolium is also sold as "Cramp bark," but it is generally used to relieve uterine cramping. Cramp bark (Vibernum opulus) is touted as a prevention and treatment for muscle tension headaches. It is generally taken in capsule form, but a tea made from the bark can also be taken.
The relaxing effect of massage can help ease muscle tension and increase circulation, both of which might help a headache. There are massages you can do yourself in your own home or ask someone else to do them, or you can go to a professional for headache relief and prevention.
Muscle tension can cause bone and joint misalignment, say chiropractic practitioners, and then the misalignment exacerbates the muscle tension as muscles work to pull the bones back into alignment. Getting an adjustment at a chiropractor can bring almost instant headache relief, and seeing the chiropractor regularly (say once a month) can help stave off future headaches.
This daisy-like little flower is considered by some herbalists to be a very effective remedy for headaches, particularly migraines. While there are many ways to take it, capsules are probably the easiest and have the fewest side effects. You can take feverfew regularly to prevent migraine attacks.
You might have heard of white willow for pain relief; but actually, various willow (Salix) species can help relieve pain. The precursor to aspirin, the inner bark of the white willow can provide pain relief for headaches. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect. White willow (and other willow bark) is usually taken in capsules.
- Stress Management
It's generally understood that stress and headaches are interconnected. Engaging in regular stress relief may help prevent the onset of headaches. Stretching, meditation, Yoga, Pilates, and other methods can help align the body and reduce stress.