What natural remedies and treatments work best for YOUR fibromyalgia and chronic illness headache? No one knows better than you. Your headache protocol may be routine. But wouldn’t you like a few NEW tips and tricks to tweak what you already use?
Of course you would!
Here’s a list of remedies and treatments for the types of headaches that impact you the most. Whether they’re migraines, tension, sinus, hormonally-related, or other varieties of headaches, check out the comprehensive suggestions listed below.
Headache – Natural Remedies & Treatments
As a recap, in Part 1 of this series, we looked into the Location, Frequency, and the Circumstances surrounding your headaches and head pain.
In Part 2 of this series we looked into the Types and Triggers of your headaches.
Today, we’re putting the cherry on top, so to speak. Here are the Remedies and Treatments you’re looking for. I’ve broken down my suggestions into two categories. Things to ADD to what you’re already doing, and things to AVOID.
Let’s start with the avoidance list.
Headaches: What to AVOID
- Food-related Problems: The issues of food sensitivities and intolerances are always top of the list when it comes to headaches. Do what you can to avoid your personal triggers. Take a look at artificial sweeteners (aspartame and more), MSG, nitrates, nitrites, cheese, wine, chocolate, caffeine, soy, legumes, artificial dyes/flavorings, etc. Food-related problems contribute to poor gut health, poor nutrient absorption, and lowering the immune system. All scenarios that can trigger head pain as well as generalized pain.
- Dehydration: While this sounds like it should be an easy fix – and it is – it’s not as easy as getting enough water. Besides proper hydration, it’s also important to avoid beverages that ADD to the problem of dehydration. Sodas, teas, energy drinks, and coffees can contribute to a dehydration problem. Address these concerns as well as adding in plenty of clean, fresh, filtered, pure water.
- Sugar: This deserves its own category. Nearly all processed foods contain added sugars and can contribute to headache issues. And, did you also know that increased sugars in your system contribute to reduced blood flow? Consuming sugary foods not only lowers the ability of your immune system to fight off infection (want that cold to last longer?) it can also impair circulation and pose a worse threat than saturated fat ever did.
- Toxins: Avoid environmental triggers such as chemicals you can inhale. Pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are obvious (your exposures to these increase dramatically if you live near a golf course and “manicured” greenbelt areas). But you may not be aware of the trigger substances found in chemically-scented candles, air fresheners, room deodorizers, perfumes/fragrances, and laundry/cleaning products. The nose knows fake scents and reacts accordingly.
- Weather: Of course, you can’t avoid weather and/or barometric pressure changes. But you can avoid exacerbating the potential for headaches by not adding any of the above-mentioned problems to a weather issue. Meaning, if the weather is changing and you can feel the pressure building up in your sinuses, steer clear of any other factor that can kick-start or worsen a migraine or headache for you.
- Stress: It happens. I know. Just do what you can to both minimize the impact it has, and the exposure you have to people and circumstances that make it worse. See tips below on how to alleviate stress and ease your body into a more calm and restful state.
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Headaches: What to ADD
The following are remedies and treatments to try. If you’ve tried them before and they didn’t work for you, give ‘em another shot. Your body changes as you mature and the solutions that work for you may mature, too. These are not listed in any particular order.
Headache Remedies and Treatments List
- Hydration: This was discussed in more detail above. Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of clean, pure, filtered water and eliminate beverages that keep you in a dehydrated state.
- Repair Nutritional Deficiencies: Work with a holistic nutritionist, a naturopath, or an integrative/functional medicine doctor to determine of nutritional deficiencies are a problem for you. For starters, look for a deficiency of these nutrients – vitamin D, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, zinc, CoQ10, and B complex vitamins.
- Bath Soaks: As a great way to sooth a stressed out body, soak in a warm or hot tub with added Epsom salts. Baths are known to help relieve tension-causing headaches as well as other forms of head pain.
- Essential Oils: I could write a chapter book on the healing benefits of pure therapeutic essential oils. But this post is limited to the topic of headaches and head pain. As a simple suggestion, try applying peppermint or lavender essential oils (along with a carrier oil) to your temples or the back of the neck the next time you feel stress or the tell-tale signs of a headache coming on.
- Therapeutic Massage: A good massage can alleviate tension, improve muscle tone, and work out points of stress and anxiety in the body. Find a practitioner who listens to your needs. Some of us feel great with deep tissue massage and others prefer a lighter touch. It’s all about your preference and finding a compatible practitioner.
- Posture: Sitting up straight can help the body to align properly. Improved posture helps with adequate oxygenation of the body as well as spinal alignment. Using better posture and proper body mechanics can have a significant impact on body pain as well as head pain.
- Spinal Adjustments: Chiropractic adjustments can improve spinal function and relieve stress on the whole body as a system. Your chiropractor can also help in more areas than adjustments. He or she may recommend dietary changes and other ways to support your overall health and wellbeing.
- Shoes/Footwear: Proper footwear and supportive shoes can help with spinal alignment and communication. Orthotics can be helpful for some people. It may be surprising to learn that head/neck pain can generate from foot and ankle problems. Finding shoes that support with a proper fit may be one piece of the headache-relieving puzzle for you.
- Teeth/Jaw Alignment: Many people suffer with TMJ (a jaw/alignment issue) and this can contribute to headaches and head pain. See a dentist and or an orthodontist to be sure your teeth align properly as well as your jaw. Teeth grinding may also need to be addressed, so don’t let this issue go unaddressed.
- Acupuncture: This practice can help the body to relieve tension and improve energy flow throughout. While this sounds like generalized improvements, the effects can be very specific such as headache and head pain relief.
- Stretching: A soothing type of fitness activity can help the body become stronger, leaner, and more supported, physically. Emotionally, gentle fitness activities can help to boost mood, and organize thoughts in a positive way.
- Tapping: EFT – also known as Tapping – has been my go-to stress management tool for decades. In working with myself and with others, it’s the first treatment I use to lower stress levels and gain clarity. Check out this Practical Guide to EFT Tapping for Fibromyalgia article for more information.
- Aqua Therapy: This safe, effective, and soothing fitness activity can help the body to heal. Moving the body in water provides support and there’s no impact or undue pressure put on already compromised joints. Check out this article, Fibro Friendly Fitness, for more info.
- Moving Meditations: Tai chi and Yoga have been recommended for healing for centuries. My favorite is tai chi and qigong for its slow, fluid, movements with no pressure on the joints. Try them both to see what works best for you. Check out this article on Qigong for more info. Deep breathing is an essential part of any moving meditation practice and is one of the ways to invite relaxation and healing.
- Meditation / Prayer: Any practice of prayer and meditation can kick start your healing journey and your path to reducing pain. Don’t overthink this and make it complicated. Simple prayer works. Simple moments of contemplative silence and meditation works. There’s no need to make it a big unattainable process of clearing the mind of all thoughts. That’s not practical (and may not even be achievable) for some. Just allow yourself to take a breath and rest. There are numerous apps, books, DVDs, and practitioners waiting to help you here when you’re ready to boost this essential skill.
- Walks in Nature: This is a continuation of the topic above. When nature is combined with prayer and/or meditation, the results are amplified. Sometimes just going out for a walk onto a grassy area (shoeless if possible) can help ease pain.
- Hot and Cold Therapy: This systematic practice uses both hot and cold packs to relieve pressure in the head and neck area. The combination of both may improve blood flow and relieve tension.
- Reflexology: This ancient practice can quickly calm overactive nerves in the body. Reflexology practices might involve massage and putting gentle pressure on acupressure points on the hands, feet, or other areas of the body. Reflexology can be performed on yourself (especially on your own hands) or by a reflexology practitioner.
- Sleep: Getting adequate sleep alone can help to lessen the frequency and intensity of headaches. Address insomnia and sleep disturbance issues with help if needed. Help can come in the form of natural supplements, dietary changes, essential oils, sleep hygiene (pre-bed routines), and supportive practitioners.
- Daith Piercing: (Yep, you read that right). You can get your daith pierced – your ear’s inner most fold – and see if that alleviates your tendency toward migraines.
- Hot Steam Shower: Hot showers can help the body to relax and rejuvenate. So, why not amp up this relaxation method with essential oils? Simply put a few drops of your favorite soothing oils such as peppermint or lavender on a washcloth and place it on the floor of the shower. Let the steam diffuse the aroma and be sure to rinse out the washcloth afterward. The steamier the better!
There you have it! Have you tried these remedies and treatments? Which ones work best for you?
Do you have remedies not listed here? I bet you do. Please add your comments below so we can help support this community and reduce pain from all sides. Do you have additional tips to add to any of the remedies listed here? Do share.
Thanking you in advance for your valuable contribution!