I get headaches quite often. Is there a natural alternative to the usual over-the-counter remedies
While many of us reach for the paracetamol or aspirin bottle when a headache hits, there are many natural methods and supplements that can help relieve the pain and prevent headache frequency.
Before you decide which natural remedy is right for you, it is important to try and uncover the root cause of the headache — it could be due to injury, diet, stress, or even a combination of these factors?
Acupuncture is particularly effective at dealing with chronic headaches. In a review of two large trials in people with tension-related headaches, researchers found acupuncture along with pain relief was more effective than using pain relief alone.
Adding acupuncture to acute treatment or routine care has been shown to reduce migraine frequency and intensity.
Massage is a modality that works well for some but not others — most people have an idea as to whether or not hands on techniques such as this are suitable for them.
The specific technique combining principles of acupuncture, osteopathy, and massage known as craniosacral therapy works well for headaches due to stress and/or injury. This technique involves very light touch and manipulation of the skull and spine.
If food intolerances or allergies are at the root of headaches or migraines, then the solution is often as simple as removing the offending items or groups of food from your diet and working on healing your intestinal health. The difficult part is identifying and isolating the trigger foods.
Supplements such as Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and Coenzyme Q10 are useful in treating headaches in the long-term, magnesium can help where it is tension related, and the herbs feverfew and butterbur are great for headaches and migraines.
I also like Boswellia as a stand-by cabinet remedy, since it can be taken in the same way as paracetamol, taking two capsules with water to relieve a headache rather than using it as a long-term measure.