Prevention and Remedies
by Laurel Redmon
Frequent use of prescription pain
medication for headaches may initiate a cycle where the headache recurs
after the pain medication has worn off.
Some believe that behavioral treatments (e.g.
biofeedback, hypnosis, exercise, yoga) as well as adding herbal and/or
vitamin supplements to your diet can ameliorate a headache sufferer’s
quality of life and lessen the need for prescription drugs.
to what causes headaches and avoiding those things is another good
Frequent headache triggers include stress,
disrupted sleep patterns, bright light, noise, alcohol, caffeine,
dehydration and certain foods or allergic reactions to foods. For every cup of
caffeinated fluid or alcohol, you must drink 1 cup of water to prevent
suffer from sensitivities to foods preserved with sulfites. Be aware of foods with
labels containing sulfur dioxide, potassium bisulfite, potassium
metabisulfite, sodium sulfite, sodium bisulfite, or sodium
common foods containing these preservatives are baked goods, beer,
canned fruits and vegetables, condiments, dried fruit, jams, molasses,
pickled foods, potato chips, shrimp, soup mixes, tea, trail mix,
vegetable juice, and wine. Look
for alternatives to these foods that do not contain sulfites.
It may be helpful to keep a headache
diary to help identify headache triggers.
Notice when headaches occur and any
activities, food or drink in the time prior to its onset.
Hypnosis is a method of
training the body to relax. This
technique has been shown to reduce both the intensity and frequency of
Meditation, yoga, qi gong
and tai chi also help you learn to relax.
Aerobic exercise is an
excellent stress buster, improves circulation and enhances the body’s
A mixture of magnesium, riboflavin
and feverfew has been shown to significantly
reduce the number and intensity of headaches, though it may take
several months for the supplement to become effective.
A daily dose of 300 –500 mg of magnesium (as
magnesium oxide or chelated magnesium), 400 mg of riboflavin, and 100mg
of feverfew is recommended.
hybridus) has been shown to reduce the frequency of headaches. Suggested dose is 75 mg
Food such as fish that are
rich in essential fatty acids can reduce the
inflammatory response involved in migraines.
It is suggested to eat cold-water, deep-sea
fish twice per week and take a fish oil supplement (certified
contaminant-free) containing 350 mg of eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and
200 mg or docosahexanoic acid (DHA) with meals.
Chamomile, Lemon balm, Lavender,
Peppermint, Rosemary, Skullcap, Valerian, St. John’s Wort, Wood Betony,
Vervain and Thyme are some herbs that
are helpful to drink as tea or take in tincture or capsule form.
Bathing with Lavender, Peppermint and
Rosemary – either dried herbs or essential oils – can be
relaxing, comforting and pain relieving.
Daily intake of apple cider vinager helps
correct/maintain the body’s acid-alkaline balance.
Drink 2 teaspoons, three times daily in a
glass of water to ward off attacks.
Drink an extra dose when a headache begins. During a headache, heat
equal parts of water and apple cider vinager on the stovetop until
fumes rise. Inhale
the vapors until your headache subsides.
SOME HERB MIXTURES TO TRY:
TYPE OF HEADACHE
skullcap and valerian
lemon balm, lavender, black cohosh,
vitex and meadowsweet
valerian, skullcap, oats and hops
kola, ginseng, and damiana
A generally therapeutic herbal
headache blend includes:
parts lemon balm
parts passion flower
part Jamaican Dogwood
the onset of a migraine drink a cup of coffee with 1 tablespoon of
lemon juice added. Caffeine
can increase the pain relieving effects of analgesics.
It can intensify the effects of other
substances in the formula.
4 cups water
2 tsp. Crushed roasted dandelion
½ tsp. Crushed cinnamon bark
½ tsp. Crushed ginger root
½ tsp. Crushed decorticated
½ tsp. Crushed star anise
Milk and Honey (optional)
Bring water to a boil and remove
from heat. Add
herbs. Cover and
steep for 15 minutes.
Aromatherapy can both prevent and
stress-triggered headaches and can be used to relieve a headache in
Applying essential oils to your temples,
forehead and the nape of your
neck can be comforting and pain relieving.
Some essential oils to try include:
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