Remedies for headaches – orthadox and complementary

methods to get rid of headaches


Here at Chez Green, we adopt a balanced approach to health and wellness. We love our GP for his diagnostic skills, access to medical tests and for his expertise in treating acute conditions. For every day niggles or chronic conditions where the medical approach has run out of options, we like to dig into other complementary methods.

Headaches are something that plague a huge amount of people. The World Health Organisation suggest that one in 20 adults have a headache every day! So if you’ve ruled out a sinister explanation for headaches and are looking for relief, here are some ideas:

Symptoms :

Most headaches are classified as tension headaches and involve a dull pain or sense of tightness. The less common, known collectively as vascular irregularities, include cluster headaches and migraines. With these, the pain can be severe, and can appear on just one side of the head or, less commonly, both sides. It can be accompanied by dizziness, visual disturbances, intense dislike of bright lights, nausea and vomiting.

Likely causes: 

In the case of female migraine sufferers, some hormonal shift, such as puberty, taking of the pill or pregnancy, has often been identified. While migraine tends to attack females, cluster headaches tend to affect males. Usually the victim is a hard-working, hard-living, and there is some evidence that the cause could be genetic. The most common cause is stress, but consider also food / chemical sensitivities, sinus problems, jaw problems, infections / fevers, lack of sleep, blood sugar imbalance and poor posture. Constant and worsening headaches could also indicate a far more serious condition, such as a tumour, and you should seek professional help immediately. Headaches aggravated by bright lights and accompanied by fever and stiff neck may be indicative of meningitis.

What your doctor might suggest:

Aspirin and other painkillers will be suggested. You may be advised to reduce your caffeine intake; stay off chocolate and mature cheeses which both contain tyramine in the cases of migraine attacks and prescribed various drugs such as anti-inflammatory, vasoconstrictors or beta blockers. If you want to use some pain relief, it’s important to check with your GP about conflicts with other prescription medication. If you’re taking over the counter remedies for other ailments, seek specific advice from a reputable source, such as can you take ibuprofen with cold and flu tablets, so you can make sure you know what you are doing before you do it.

Alternative treatments:

Western herbalism Relaxing herbal teas include peppermint, spearmint, chamomile, rosehip, meadowsweet and lemon balm and are suitable for tension headaches. (peppermint and chamomile also work well on headaches caused by stomach upset) For migraines, chewing on a few feverfew leaves help to relax the blood vessels in your brain and thus helps to shorten a migraine attack. Valerian root tea is also useful, but induces sleep, so only take before bedtime. Gingko Biloba improves circulation so can be useful for migraine attacks. Rosemary tea can be taken for headaches due to mental or physical exhaustion. Make a very cold compress using a strong lavender and rosemary tea or vinegar. Lie down and place the compress over the forehead. Replace as it gets warm. Read more about three simple herbal remedies here.

Aromatherapy massage lavender, marjoram or peppermint diluted in a carrier oil into the temples and at the base of the neck for tension and to act as an analgesic for all types of headaches. For gastric headaches, use peppermint oil diluted in a carrier oil and also massage into the abdomen. Alternatively, use your chosen blend in a warm bath or infuse into the room you are in. If you are a chronic sufferer of migraines, make up the following blend and ask someone to give you a body massage with it at least once a week: 5 drops chamomile, 10 drops grapefruit, 5 drops peppermint, 3 drops rosemary diluted in 100ml carrier oil. If using on children under seven, dilute the same oils in 200ml carrier oil. During a migraine attack, massage a drop of marjoram diluted in one teaspoon carrier oil (marjoram causes small blood vessels to expand) into the back of neck and shoulders.

Acupuncture The NHS recognise acupuncture as being helpful when treating migraines. They tell us that evidence suggests a course of up to 10 sessions over a 5- to 8-week period may be beneficial. Acupuncture is a treatment derived from ancient Chinese medicine. Fine needles are inserted at certain sites in the body for therapeutic or preventative purposes. It is used in many NHS GP practices, as well as in most pain clinics and hospices in the UK.

Biochemic tissue salts Kali.phos for nervous headaches, resulting from worry, sleeplessness, over work etc. Nat.sulph for headaches and migraines which are bilious with giddiness, inability to tolerate noise and violent pains at the base of the brain or on the top of the head. Ferr.phos for headaches of an inflammatory nature – congestive headaches, throbbing in temples or eyes, scalp sore or tender to touch. Mag.phos is antispasmodic so is indicated for migraines to relieve constriction of blood vessels.

Homeopathy Ignatia for headaches caused by emotional stress. Nux vomica for headaches caused by overindulgence or stress. Nux vomica or Pulsatilla for migraines. Aconite when it feels that there is a tight band around the head. Belladonna for throbbing, bursting headache with a flushed face. Bryonia for sharp, stabbing pain when the eyes are moved. Ruta for a pressing headache caused by fatigue and made worse by reading. Thuja for a left-sided headache / migraine with the sensation of a nail being driven into the skull. For right-sided pains with dizziness and painful temples, try Lycopodium – this is a good remedy for many children.

Spiritual / emotional connections The head is the place that we create all that is going on in our lives. Problems with the head indicate an imbalance surrounding mind / body / spirit. Headaches are often indicative of withheld feelings causing imbalances as we try to figure out why things aren’t the way we would like them to be…. can be accompanied by unshed tears, anger, confusion, too much analysing. They indicate  constant worrying, and tension – always thinking, worrying, stressing, planning without putting into action; in other words thoughts that lead to frustration. Are you being stubborn and hard headed? Do you criticise and invalidate yourself? Are you resisting the flow of life or do you have sexual fears? Is there conflict inside yourself about how you will do & what you will say or what you will accomplish – one part of you is looking forward to an event & other part is fearing the event?

Migraines point  towards not listening to the message of your soul, conflict with the inner voice, and resistance to listening to inner voice. They often relate to sexual fears and masturbation can often relieve a migraine reaching the pain stage if used during the ‘aura’ phase.

other self-help ideas For stress headaches, it is important to discover and work on the source of the stress. Here’s an idea you might like to try. Ensure there is time in your lifestyle for adequate rest and exercise. Taking a vitamin B complex help the body to deal with stress. If your headache is due to an allergic reaction, try an elimination diet – stay off personal hygiene products that contain chemicals during the trial too. Suspect refined sugars, dried fruits and juices, chocolate, pastries, fizzy drinks food additives, alcohol, caffeine, and dairy produce. Alternate hot and cold foot baths will often soothe a headache. A simple but often effective treatment is a vinegar inhalation: heat a tablespoon or so of vinegar and inhale the steam as it rises.