This time of year, things can get very stressful. It’s pretty common that a headache will follow. Your first instinct may be to pop an over-the-counter remedy like an aspirin or Advil, but there are more natural ways to treat headaches without the side effects of those medications. You can even do things that prevent stress overload and headaches from occurring in the first place. Allergies, a poor diet, lack of sleep, eyestrain, low blood sugar, hormones and other things can be triggers, and when we get stressed out we forget to pay attention to those things.
A headache happens when nerve signals are sent from the blood vessels and muscles in the head, telling you something isn’t working quite right. Sometimes just taking a quiet moment will eliminate the pain, and other times a headache needs a little more help. Here are some tips to treat headaches in a holistic way.
· Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration. Not being hydrated is the first suspect in a headache onset. Adding a lemon to your water helps.
· Apply an ice compress directly on the source of the pain, like your neck, upper back, forehead or temples.
· Take a hot shower or soak your feet in warm water to divert blood flow from your head down your body.
· Get a massage, a chiropractic adjustment or acupressure to release tension. This can reduce oxidative stress in the body.
· Step away from the computer screen. Get up and move around and focus on something that is far away. Look out a window now and then.
· Exercise. Get the blood circulating. Yoga can relax the body and spirit and release stress.
· Get some sleep. If you are tired you become an easy target for headaches. If you can, grab a quick rest in a dark, quiet place if you get a headache at work.
· Use aromatherapy. Lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus oils work wonders.
· Take your Vitamins and supplements. Magnesium is one of the best headache remedies. People who have a history of bad headaches often have low levels of magnesium. B vitamins are important for neurotransmitters like serotonin, which can be deficient in people who suffer from headaches.
· Eat Healthy. Cut out the processed foods, especially sugar and salt. Foods like milk, butter, cheese, cream, red meat, red wine, caffeine and chocolate are often triggers. Avoid foods with nitrites and sulfites. Having a gluten sensitivity can also cause a headache.
· Add ginger root to boiling water. This homemade tea reduces inflammation in about the same amount of time as it would take an aspirin to work. Eat an apple instead of having that cup of coffee in the afternoon.
· If you wear glasses, make sure they fit properly. And don’t wear tight hats.