Do you suffer from headaches? If so, we don't have to tell you how disruptive and painful they can be. Headaches are one of the most common health problems plaguing people today, and more than 90% of headaches fall into the categories of tension headaches, migraines, cluster headaches, or headaches caused by overuse of medication.1
Before you head to the medicine cabinet, consider some natural ways to avoid and ease headaches. Combined with the tips we share below, these natural ingredients taken as dietary supplements may help to reduce headache pain or help you to avoid headaches altogether.
- Butterbur. Butterbur is a shrub in the sunflower family that supports healthy blood flow in the head, soothes respiratory irritation, and may calm the nervous system. It has also been shown to reduce the frequency of headaches.3
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that is already present in every cell in your body. Cells use it to produce energy for growth and maintenance. As a supplement, CoQ10 helps support cardiovascular health, boost energy, speed up recovery from exercise, and may help prevent the onset of migraines.4
- Feverfew is a flowering plant that was used as a medicinal herb by the Greeks as early as the First Century AD. Feverfew is most commonly used today in health supplements to support blood vessel tone and nervous system health, and is a plant that may help prevent migraines.5 It is available in a variety of forms, including capsules, liquids, and teas.
- Riboflavin is a B vitamin found in foods such as eggs, nuts, and green vegetables. High doses of riboflavin have been shown to reduce the frequency of migraines.6
- Low magnesium levels in the body have been linked to migraine headaches. Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral that supports many bodily functions and is particularly important for the muscles and nerves. While you can supplement with magnesium, it is important to consult your physician before adding magnesium to your diet.7
- White Willow Bark is commonly known as “nature’s Aspirin” because it converts to salicylic acid in the body. Salicylic acid is the pain-relieving ingredient found in Aspirin.8
Other Ways to Prevent and Soothe Headaches
A headache is your body's way of telling you that something is wrong. Sometimes, your body is telling you that it is overtired or not getting the proper nutrition that it needs. One simple way to help avoid a headache is to make headache hygiene a regular part of your life. According to the American Migraine Foundation2, headache hygiene is "the practice of taking care of yourself in a way that will reduce the likelihood, frequency, intensity, and severity of headaches".
How can you do this? Try starting with small, easy lifestyle changes.
Make sure you are eating frequent, healthy meals, and getting good, regular sleep. In other words, take care of your body and your body will take care of you!
Avoid Headache Triggers
It’s also important to identify and avoid headache triggers. Triggers are factors that contribute to a headache but don’t directly cause it. While they vary for individuals, common headache triggers2 are:
- Foods and beverages, such as red wine or caffeine, and
- Environmental, such as traffic on your daily commute.
These are common triggers, but you may have one that applies only to you. Try keeping a headache journal or using the notes app on your phone to identify triggers and monitor how often you have headaches. A journal can assist in determining patterns unique to you, and can help your healthcare provider find a tailored solution to help relieve your headaches. Get to know your triggers, and avoid them as much as possible.
If You Feel a Headache Coming On
Despite your best efforts to eat well, get plenty of rest, and avoid triggers, you feel a headache coming on. Can anything help? An ancient text asserts, "Blood is the source of life and health." (Leviticus 17:11). The next time a headache is on its way, consider relieving the pain by increasing blood flow in the entire body through these methods:
- Visit your chiropractor or acupuncturist. Chiropractors and acupuncturists can help to alleviate pain by using methodologies that increase blood flow in the body.
- Take a hot (and cold) shower. The contrast between temperatures is thought to increase blood flow in the body. Make the water as hot as you can handle it, and as cold as you can stand it. The hot water will relax your muscles, and the cold water will send blood to your organs...and it may help to relieve the pain of your headache!
- Use Peppermint oil. Peppermint oil is known for its soothing properties, and a drop of Peppermint oil traced across your forehead while breathing in its fragrance can assist blood vessels to open and may help make you feel better.
Natural ingredients, good sleep, and a little TLC will go a long way to keeping headaches at bay… and may save you a trip to the drugstore!
Do you have healthy lifestyle practices that you’d swear by to prevent or soothe your worst headache? Connect with us on Facebook to share. We'd love to hear from you.
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