‘Talking Heads’ – manage and prevent headaches and migraines

My brain never shuts off! I’m always thinking of something, maybe its important, maybe it’s not! In any event there’s always stuff going on in my head and it can get very stressful, so much so that I get a headache. 

Many of us will develop a headache at some stage, usually as a result of too much stress going on. But for countless people headaches are a serious health concern. Some just suffer with the pain, but many need to find relief in order to function. Prescription drugs often have side effects that sound more awful than the problem they are meant to treat. 

 

Worst though are migraine headaches these are painful and recurrent; some also cause visual disturbances, like blurry vision or nausea. The exact causes of migraines are unknown, but they involve a chain in your blood’s flow to the brain, usually due to constriction of the blood vessels and a reduced blood flow. After constriction, the blood vessels often dilate, triggering a rush of blood to the head that can increase the severity of a headache.

There are several things you can try to prevent headaches one of which is Ginger, often in the form of tea, it is commonly used for stomach issues, which may also be helpful with headaches that lead to nausea. Tension headaches may be treated best with ginger because this herb has anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used to treat headaches related to PMS. Ginger tea may seem a bit spicy if it is steeped long enough, so you may want to sweeten it with honey. You can also add ginger to many dishes, such as stir-fries. It’s available as a whole root, pickled, or in capsule and pill form.

Butterbur and Feverfew are both known herbs that can help prevent migraines. Butterbur helps prevent blood vessels from constricting it’s also an anti- inflammatory, so is valuable in preventing headaches and can help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. It is wise to use Butterbur under the guidance of your doctor or a skilled herbalist, because on rare occasions it has been found to cause liver damage.

Feverfew has long been considered an important herb for treating frequent headaches and migraines. Its effectiveness is thanks to its ability to reduce serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin causes blood vessels to constrict, which is often a cause of headache pain. As with Butterbur, pregnant or nursing women should not take this herb, nor should individuals on blood thinners.

You can also prevent the onset of migraines by providing sufficient nutrients to your body that are likely to prevent blood vessel constriction. Magnesium and Vitamin B12 may prevent or reduce the frequency and duration of them, including those triggered by hormonal changes during menstrual cycles in women. Taking 200 mg magnesium at night with a multivitamin will ensure you’re getting adequate levels of other nutrients.

Self-massage can be soothing if you feel a headache coming on, here is a simple technique you can try:
First lie back on a reclining chair or sofa. Dim the lights… bright light can intensify a headache. Begin your massage with the areas above and around your ears.

  • Place your hands on either side of your head; using the pads of your fingers, press down gently and move the skin back and forth about 1 inch. Move your scalp rather than sliding your fingers across the skin. Continue to massage your scalp in this way until you’ve covered your entire head.
  • Place the pad of your middle fingers on your temples. Press down gently and move your fingers in small circles.
  • Repeat this technique on the back of your neck in the area at the base of the skull. Use your thumbs to press up under the skull bone.

Massaging your head or getting someone else to do it for you can be an effective way of banishing that headache or migraine.

Annie Moore MCThA, RCCA, ITHMA.

For free advice and consultation call 020 8614 1199 or info@vidatherapy.com, www.vidatherapy.com.

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