If you are using over-the-counter or prescription drugs to manage frequent headaches, you should know that there are several alternatives that can help relieve the pain and even reduce the frequency.
Chronic pain is never enjoyable, and chronic headaches create many problems beyond the pain, as they reduce productivity and impact important relationships too.
Here are six techniques to try if you experience frequent headaches or migraines. You can also get help through our integrative clinic in Hong Kong.
Temperature Treatment For Frequent Headaches
Headaches often originate in neck or even shoulder stress. While the results are different for various people, it can be worthwhile to experiment with applying hot or cold packs to the neck and/or shoulders. Try a hot pack first, and if that doesn’t work, cold may help. Don’t try switching from hot to cold immediately, though. It’s usually best to wait until the next occurrence. For some people, immersing their hands and wrists in cold water offers relief. For others, a hot shower can relieve some pain.
Magnesium Reduces Headache Frequency
For some people who experience frequent headaches, particularly migraines, taking magnesium supplements can cut the frequency of headaches by as much as half. Because many adults are magnesium deficient, there’s usually no down side to trying it, although if you have medical conditions you should check with your doctor first. Magnesium also tends to drop blood pressure slightly, which could be why it provides headache relief for some. Magnesium citrate is a commonly available form to start with. Two to three hundred milligrams is a typical starting dose for an adult. More can be taken eventually, but too much too fast may cause loose bowels. Magnesium citrate is often used as a natural remedy for constipation.
Aromatherapy For Headaches
Often, frequent headaches and stress are closely related, so aromatherapy seems to provide relief for some sufferers. You need to be cautious, however, as some scents can make a headache worse. Try quality pure essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus or lavender.
Stretching and Exercise
Although exercising for a headache is probably not the first thing that comes to mind, some light stretching and activity can sometimes provide relief. Exercise releases stress and tension, and triggers the body to create endorphins which relieve pain naturally.
Certain dietary choices may be triggering your headaches. You could get an allergy panel done to be sure of issues, but sometimes it’s enough to avoid some common foods that trigger headaches. These include:
- alcohol (especially red wine)
- processed meats (nitrates)
- foods containing preservatives
Acupressure For Headache Relief
Acupressure can be particularly effective for headache relief. It’s extremely fast-acting for some types of sinus headache. There are pressure points inside the eyebrows, just above the nose, which can be pressed with the thumbs. Use a firm pressure. Another set of pressure points is at your hairline, just above the outside of your eyes.
Try gently massaging your temples – or have a loved one do it. There are other pressure points at the base of the skull, on the shoulders and on the hands and feet that can provide relief. Some of these you can learn to use yourself. We have therapists on staff who can help you discover what works for you.
If you suffer from frequent headaches, please consider trying some alternative therapies. They’re safer than pills with fewer side effects, and some are very effective.