5 Holistic Remedies For Headaches That Actually Work, According To A Migraine Specialist
If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, then you probably have a long laundry list of strategies that you rotate through as soon as the pain sets in. Head and neck pain can be totally debilitating, and it's often harder than one would think to find relief. When popping a Tylenol won't work, and you've been guzzling as much water as your body can take, it might be time to look into some holistic remedies for headaches, which approach your pain from a totally different angle than western medicine.
According to the American Holistic Health Association, holistic medicine is defined as a form of healing that addresses the entire person — including their soul, their mind, and their body — when aiming to diagnose and resolve their pain. This means that you are trying not only to stop the pain, but also diagnose the underlying causes of the pain, which can often be psychological, as well as physical.
In an exclusive interview with Elite Daily, Dr. Susan Hutchinson, a headache and migraine specialist, shares some tips for how to approach your headaches holistically, if it's something you're interested in exploring. Keep in mind, not all of these solutions will necessarily work for you, and in fact, you might find, over time, that your headaches are debilitating to the point of needing a prescribed medicine from your doctor. But if medications have failed you in the past, or you're simply looking for a more natural approach to dealing with the occasional headache, here are a few holistic remedies to consider.
1. Essential Oils
Essential oils have a long list of restorative properties, and according to Dr. Hutchinson, lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint essential oils may do wonders for relieving your chronic head pain.
The migraine specialist suggests dabbing some of the oil on your temples, or you could even pour a few drops into a humidifier and let the sweet scents fill your room. You might want to try one at a time, though, rather than combining all three; that combo-smell would probably get pretty overwhelming.
2. Yoga — Or Any Workout That Makes You Feel ~Zen~
Migraines and headaches are often brought on by stress, according to the Office on Women's Health, and even though we all deal with some of level stress every single day, it's important to notice when that anxiety is getting to a point where it's too much for you to handle.
"Yoga can be particularly helpful in reducing muscle tension and stress," Dr. Hutchinson tells Elite Daily, adding that activities like walking, running, bicycling, or swimming may have the same anxiety-reducing effects, as well. It's all about finding what will work best for you, and your individual body.
In general, Dr. Hutchinson explains, physical exercise might just get rid of some of your stress and put you in a better mindset, which could have an effect on your head pain. When in doubt, sweat it out.
3. This Fancy Ear Device
MigraineX is an ear device that sends out an alert to an app on your phone whenever there's a drop in barometric pressure (aka atmosphere pressure — think of it as the weight of the air, so to speak). According to Dr. Hutchinson, that drop in pressure is a potential trigger for an oncoming headache. "The individual can then insert the ear plugs into the ear canals to minimize this migraine trigger," she tells Elite Daily. "A set of filters is present in the ear plugs and helps to minimize the drop in barometric pressure."
A device like this could be a total lifesaver for people with busy schedules, who may not always notice their own headache triggers.
4. A Smarter Diet
A great way approach your health from a holistic perspective is to pay attention to how nutrition plays a role in your physical wellness.
"Healthy eating habits, including avoiding processed foods and minimizing additives and preservatives, can help many migraine sufferers," Dr. Hutchinson says.
Incorporating more natural foods (think fresh fruits, veggies, basically anything with an ingredients list you can actually understand) into each meal, she tells Elite Daily, might make you feel better — or, at the very least, it could just be an excellent opportunity to try out some new meals with different ingredients.
5. An Ice Pack And A Dark Room
This one might seem obvious, but it's holistic, and expert-recommended, nonetheless: Dr. Hutchinson suggests lying down in a dark, quiet room, while pressing an ice pack on your forehead for about 20 to 30 minutes. If that doesn't work, the migraine specialist recommends a nice bath with some epsom salts.
"Some women find bathing in epsom salts can help, as the magnesium in the epsom salts can seep into their system," Dr. Hutchinson tells Elite Daily.
Sounds like it's time for a #SelfCareSunday, don't you think?