For the sufferer of chronic headaches and migraines, life can be dismal. While there are many different kinds of medication that may help, it’s generally not a good idea to take them repeatedly for long periods of time.
What is a chronic headache?
If you suffer from any kind of headache for more than 15 days each month, you are what’s classed as a chronic headache sufferer. It is important for you to be checked out by a doctor to rule out any underlying issues but if you decide to go down the natural route rather than the prescription and over the counter drugs route, there are a few things that may work for you to help relieve your pain.
- They key to preventing chronic headaches may lie within a headache diary. If you suffer regularly from headaches it is a good idea to start keeping track of when they occur, how long they last, what food/medications you have consumed before they begin and anything else that may be important in figuring out what the triggers are for you specifically. There are now also apps that are available for monitoring your headaches.
- Making sure you are getting enough sleep may be enough to lessen your episodes. Without enough sleep the body can’t function or heal properly which can cause strain on your overall wellbeing. Eight hours each night is the recommended minimum.
- Reducing your stress levels can also be helpful for chronic headache sufferers. Organising your workload into more manageable amounts or practicing stress reduction techniques such as hypnotherapy and meditation could make a huge difference.
- Avoiding certain foods and drinks such as those containing caffeine and alcohol is a good idea when dealing with chronic headaches and migraines. It is recommended to eat at regular times, don’t let your blood sugar levels drop too low, and try to exercise where possible to increase your overall physical wellbeing.
- Don’t overdo your pain medication. Taking too much medication over a long period of time can prevent it from working and cause your headaches to actually become worse. If you think you are needing to take too much medication, consult your doctor.
Things to try at home
If you are still having trouble with persistent headaches there are some things you can try at home that may help you out:
- Ice packs – These are one of the most commonly used tools for combating headaches. The cold numbs the area, reduces swelling in your blood vessels and brings relief from the pain. Wrap a few ice cubes in a towel and hold to the affected area for ten minutes or so. Heat pads may also help to soothe the pain so it might be worth alternating between the two.
- Ginger – This common root spice is said to help for migraine pain by blocking the chemicals that cause spasms. Drinking ginger tea throughout the day or simply chewing on a piece of ginger root may help reduce your pain but will also help bring relief from nausea.
- Chamomile – Not only will chamomile help you to sleep, it also has anti-inflammatory properties that will help to sooth your headaches. It’s most effective if you make a tea with chamomile flowers but store bought teabags can also be used.
- A massage with lavender or peppermint oil can help with pain. Lavender is known for its relaxing properties whereas peppermint is an anti-inflammatory. Tea made from fresh peppermint or lavender may also be useful.
- People having acupuncture or acupressure therapies have reportedly had hugely successful results. Manipulating the correct pressure points can be extremely effective in reducing pain and preventing reoccurrences.
Quite often, finding the best remedy for headaches and migraines can be trial and error. If your headaches persist it’s best to contact your doctor to rule out something serious.