As a recent article discussed here, acupuncture can effectively relieve headaches, as well as treat their underlying causes. In fact, headaches are one of the conditions most commonly seen in acupuncture clinics today. It can offer powerful relief without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause.
There are also several natural ways to relieve headaches besides the use of acupuncture.
The Headache Point
Large Intestine 4 is such a powerful acupuncture point for headaches that is often referred to as "the headache point". It is located on the padded area of your hand between the thumb and index finger, between the first and second metacarpal bones. Massage this point with your thumb on both hands for approximately 30 seconds.
Peppermint oil has a calming and soothing effect on the body, and is often used to treat headaches. Rub peppermint essential oil across your forehead and temples to relieve a tension headache or inhale a peppermint steam treatment to treat a sinus headache. Adding 10-15 drops of peppermint oil to a warm bath is another great way to relax, help reduce muscle tension and relieve a headache.
Research suggests that capsaicin can help relieve cluster headaches. In one study, people with cluster headaches rubbed a capsaicin preparation inside and outside their noses on the same side of the head as the headache pain. Within five days, 75 percent reported less pain and fewer headaches.
Feverfew is a medicinal herb that has been used since ancient Greece for swelling and inflammation. Studies have shown that feverfew limits inflammation of blood vessels in the head and can reduce headaches. Feverfew generally takes up to four to six weeks to take effect. Sip tea or take a feverfew supplement daily.
Numerous clinical studies have shown that ginger can be used to relieve headaches. Researchers believe it does so by relaxing the blood vessels in the head and diminishing swelling in the brain. It also activates natural opiates in the brain that relieve pain, and it reduces prostaglandins, which are responsible for causing inflammation.
7 Healthy Habits for Headache Sufferers
Diet - Eat regular meals at regular times to avoid your blood sugar from falling too quickly. Also, avoid foods and drinks that are known to trigger headache attacks including processed meats, aged cheese, alcohol, and foods and beverages that contain aspartame.
Sleep - Maintain a regular sleeping schedule, including weekends and vacations.
Stress - Stress is one of the most common headache and migraine triggers. Implement stress reduction techniques into your daily life.
Exercise - Exercise stimulates the body to release endorphins, which are brain chemicals that improve mood and relieve stress, which are known headache triggers.
Headache Diary - Keep a diary of when your headaches occur, along with any triggers, and share the information with your healthcare provider.
See Your Healthcare Provider - Make an appointment with your healthcare provider to specifically discuss your headache.
Be a Partner in Your Headache Care - Be informed, be a participant in your treatment and be an advocate for your headache care.