Natural treatment & home remedies for chronic headache

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chronic headache

There are many people who have a headache from time to time. If you have noticed that you have a headache more days than normal, then you may have chronic daily headaches. There are many different subtypes which are included in the chronic daily headache. The term “chronic” is used to refer how often headaches happen and how long this condition lasts. The chronic daily headaches have constant nature which makes them one of the most disabling headaches conditions.

The chronic daily headache is happening fifteen days or more in a period of month for longer than 3 months. The primary chronic daily headache is not caused by other condition. There are two types of chronic daily headaches, short – lasting and long – lasting. Long – lasting headaches last for more than 4 hours. Hemicrania continua; new daily persistent headache; chronic tension – type headache and chronic migraine belong to the long – lasting headache.

There are some factors which can increase your risk of having chronic daily headache, such as overuse of headache medication; overuse of caffeine; snoring; obesity; sleep disturbances; depression; anxiety; female sex and other chronic pain conditions. If you have chronic daily headaches, then you have increased chances of developing sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression and other physical and psychological problems. You should talk with your doctor if you suffer from chronic headache before you start using some of the below mentioned home remedies.

Home remedies for chronic headache

chronic headache

Reduce caffeine: There are some headache medications which include caffeine as its component because it is beneficial in reducing headache pain but it is known that it can aggravate the symptoms [1]. You should try to eliminate or minimize the caffeine from your diet.

Reduce stress: It is known fact that the stress is a very common trigger for chronic headache [2]. You should get organized so in this way you will reduce the stress. You should simplify your schedule and you should plan ahead. You should always try to stay positive no matter how hard is your work. Also, you can try stress – reduction techniques, such as meditation, tai chi or yoga.

Exercise regularly: The regular aerobic physical activity can improve your mental and physical well – being and it will reduce the stress. You should talk with your doctor what kind of activities you can take. Usually, cycling, swimming or walking are recommended. If you were not active in the past, then you should start slowly because this can help to avoid injuries.

Magnesium: This mineral is important for many functions in the body, including blood sugar control and nerve transmission. It has been shown that magnesium is a safe and effective home remedy for chronic headaches. There are some studies in which are said that magnesium deficiency is more common in people who have frequent migraine headaches compared with people who do not. [3]

There are some studies in which are shown that the treatment with 600 mg of oral magnesium citrate on daily basis can help to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches [3]. There are some cases when taking magnesium supplements can cause side effects, like diarrhea so you should talk with your doctor about the correct dosage for you.

Avoid strong smells: There are some cases when strong odors like cleaning products and perfumes can cause chronic headaches. If this is your case, then you should avoid them.

Do not skip meals: It is very important to eat healthy meals at about the same time on daily basis. You should avoid foods or drinks, such as those who have caffeine because they can trigger chronic headache. If you are obese, then you should lose weight so it can help you to feel better.

Get enough sleep: It is known fact that average adults need 7 – 8 hours of sleep at a night. You should go to bed and wake up the same time every day. If you have sleep disturbances, such as snoring, then you should talk with your doctor.

Avoid medication overuse: When you are taking headache medications, such as over – the – counter medications, for more than two times a week can increase the frequency and severity of your headaches. You should talk with your doctor how to wean yourself off the medication because there can be serious side effects if it is done improperly.

Avoid headache triggers: When you are keeping a headache dairy, then it can help you to determine what triggers your headaches so you can avoid the triggers. You should include details about every headache, such as when it started, how long it lasted and what you were doing at the time.

Ginger: It is known that ginger can help to ease the nausea which is caused by many conditions, including migraines which are part of the chronic headache. The ginger powder can decrease the migraine severity and duration as well as the prescription drug sumatripin and it has fewer side effects. [4]

Massage: It is known that massage can help to reduce stress, relive pain and promote relaxation. The massage can be particularly helpful if you have tight muscles in the back of your head, neck and shoulders.

Acupuncture: This is an ancient technique which is using hair – thin needles inserted into several areas of your skin at defined points. The results from acupuncture are mixed but in some studies is said that acupuncture can help to reduce the frequency and intensity of the chronic headache. [5]

Limit alcohol: There are some studies in which are said that alcohol can trigger migraines in about 1/3 of people who experience frequent headaches [6]. It has been shown that alcohol can cause tension and cluster headaches in many people. It is a vasodilator which means that it widens blood vessels and it allows the blood to flow more freely. In some people, vasodilatation can cause headaches. Headaches are very common side effect of vasodilators.

Feverfew: Feverfew can help to ease chronic pain. It is known that feverfew can relax the tension and constrict blood vessels which will ease the painful pressure. It can reduce the inflammation and pain overall with a substance called parthenolide which is causing similar effects to taking aspirin but without causing side effects. You should add one ounce of fresh or dried feverfew flowers to one pint of boiling water. You should steep it for ten minutes and then strain it. You should drink half a cup two times per day. [7]

Lavender oil: You can inhale lavender oil because it can help to ease the chronic headache. You can inhale this oil directly or you can apply it diluted to the temples.

Peppermint oil: Peppermint oil has menthol which can help the chronic headache from coming on. You can apply a menthol solution to the forehead and temples because it can help you to stay away from the nausea, pain and light – sensitivity.

Drink water: It is known factor that inadequate water amount can lead to a chronic headache. There are some studies in which are said that the chronic dehydration is a common cause of tension for headaches and migraines. It has been shown that drinking water can give you a relief from the headache symptoms in most dehydrated individuals in a period of thirty minutes to three hours. [8]

When you are dehydrated, then it can impair concentration and cause irritability which will make your symptoms worse. You should drink enough water throughout the day and you should eat water – rich foods. Some of the best foods that are rich in water are oranges; cantaloupe; grapefruit; strawberries; watermelon; spinach; eggplant; cauliflower; zucchini; cabbage, green peppers; radishes; celery and cucumbers.

Apple cider vinegar: You can add two cups of apple cider vinegar to hot bath water. It is known that the apple cider vinegar draws the excess uric acid out of the body and it give you a relief from the chronic headache. Also, the apple cider vinegar can help you to feel better so you should try this home remedy.

Cold compress: You can use a cold compress to reduce the symptoms of headache. You can apply cold or frozen compresses to the neck or head because it will decrease the inflammation, constrict blood vessels and slows nerve conduction and all of them can help to reduce the headache pain. You can fill a waterproof bag with ice and wrap it in a soft towel. You should apply the compress to the back of the neck, head or temples for headache relief. [9]

 References:

[1] Lipton RB, Diener HC, Robbins MS, et al. Caffeine in the management of patients with headache. The Journal of Headache and Pain. 2017;18(1):107.

[2] Schramm SH, Moebus S, Lehmann N, et al. The association between stress and headache: A longitudinal population-based study. Cephalalgia. 2014;35(10):853-63.

[3] Yablon LA, Mauskop A. Magnesium in the central nervous system. Retrieved from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507271/

[4] Maghbooli M, Golipour F, Esfandabadi AM, Yousefi M. Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine. Phytotherapy Research. 2014;28(3):412-5.

[5] Mayrink WC, Garcia JBS, dos Santos AM, et al. Effectiveness of acupuncture as auxiliary treatment for chronic headache. Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies. 2018;11(5):296-302.

[6] Daniel BT. Is alcohol a migraine trigger? Retrieved from www.doctormigraine.com/blog/xsjnbgfvhfgf1u2ojikejsjlc2r8e9

[7] Pareek A, Suthar M, Rathore GS, Bansal V. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): A systematic review. Pharmacognosy Review. 2011;5(9):103–10.

[8] Price A, Burls A. Increased water intake to reduce headache: Learning from a critical appraisal. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. 2015;21(6):1212-8.

[9] Ucler S, Coskun O, Inan LE, Kanatli Y. Cold therapy in migraine patients: Open-label, non-controlled, pilot study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2006;3(4):489–93.

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