Headaches are a symptom, not an illness in themselves. There are a number of possible causes and most of these can be treated without reaching for the painkillers. Resourceful home remedies can provide gentle, quick and lasting relief.
Tension headaches involve a cramping of the neck and shoulder muscles, and respond well to acupressure treatments. Migraines, a specific type of headache, take the form of pulsating pain on one side of the head, often accompanied by sensitivity to light and noise, nausea, vision abnormalities and neurological problems.
• Rest for a few minutes on the sofa and place some ice cubes wrapped in a cloth on your forehead.
• Rub a few drops of lemon balm, peppermint, lavender or rosemary essential oil on your temples. forehead and neck
• After removing the white inner skin, place the inside of a lemon peel on your temples fora few minutes.
• Sprinkle cooled, strained lime flower tea on a cotton cloth and place the cloth on your forehead like a headband.
• For a relaxing neck compress wrap flaxseeds, chopped onions (warmed in a pan of hot water or microwave) or hot mashed potatoes in a cotton cloth and hold on your neck until the compress cools.
• Fat your greens. Studies suggest that migraine sufferers may have low blood levels of magnesium and could benefit from magnesium therapy. Dark green, leafy vegetables, nuts and fruits are good sources of this mineral.
• Posture plays an important role in tension headaches, so pull those shoulders back and stand up straight.
• If a migraine strikes, head for a quiet, dark room for a little rest to help relieve the pain.
• Freshly boiled tea made from white willow bark contains salicin, a natural relative of the acetylsalicylic add used in many common pain medications. To prepare the tea: Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried white willow bark in 1 cup (250 ml) cold water and boil briefly. Let steep for 5 minutes, strain and sip a cup at a time, several times a thy.
• If a headache is caused by nasal or sinus congestion, perhaps from a cold or hay fever, by a little bathwater aromatherapy. Put some eucalyptus or peppermint oil in the hot bathwater for inhalation and relaxation.
• Caffeine makes pain medications 40 percent more efficient, so drinking small amounts may help hasten and increase relief, unless you are sensitive to it.