To Have, or Not to Have [a headache]
If you have been suffering from headaches and migraines for a significant amount of time and you’re reading this article — chances are that you haven’t found something that works sufficiently well for you to have a better, headache-free daily life experience. I have been on this searching path for many years now, sometimes giving up for long periods of time, then getting inspired again to try and find the elusive cure for my headaches, which can be really bad at times. What I found in my research is that there are so many different kinds of headaches and migraines, and migraine-headaches out there, with many different triggers and causes. And therefore not all cures or coping techniques work the same way for different people – what works for one person may not work for 99 others.
The important thing is not giving up and keep on trying new ideas. When you read through this article you will be astonished to discover many many many ways of dealing with headaches that you have never heard of, some would sound very ridiculous, yet there is at least someone out there for whom those odd methods did bring if not cure, but at least a very sought after relief.
This article is trying to be as exhaustive as possible, so I included pretty much everything I could find through reading multiple books, encyclopaedias, websites and talking to other people who suffer from migraines and headaches. If after reading this you find something that’s missing please submit your techniques in the comments section and I will include those in the main body of the article.
greatly extended, reorganized
and turned into a book:
This listing attempts to include everything but pharmaceutical products. This is just due to my belief system, and I’m sure you can easily find those listed elsewhere on the Internet.
The intention of this synthesis is to share methods for controlling, diminishing and hopefully curing migraines and headaches, rather than giving the exact details about each one of them. As you will see there are numerous proposed solutions to this debilitating obstacle in our lives, and each solution could easily take a very long article on its own. So if you want to try any of the suggestions simply “google” the topic and get more detailed reports and instructions. I decided not to link to most of the sources of information other than wikipedia and some exceptions due to the volatile nature of the Internet where sites change their links or simply delete pages or complete sites without any regard to other sites linking to them. Therefore if you read this article a year after it was published instead of hitting on many dead links, you will find the latest fresh information by conducting a simple search.
Table of Contents
- 1 To Have, or Not to Have [a headache]
- 2 A Very Brief Introduction to Headaches
- 3 Do-It-Yourself Headache Solutions
- 4 Diet and Headaches
- 5 Holistic Headache Remedies
- 6 Vitamins & Oils to Deal with Headaches
- 7 Supplements to Ease the Headaches
- 8 Herbs & Spices to Eliminate Headaches
- 9 Berries to Relieve Headaches
- 10 Fruit & Vegetables Useful for Headaches
- 11 Holistic Migraine Treatments
- 12 Surgical Procedures
- 13 Electronic Devices to Cope with Headaches
- 14 Mental Exercise Systems against Headaches
- 15 Esoteric Solutions to Migraines
- 16 Folk Remedies Dealing with Headaches and Migraines
- 17 Other Suggestions
- 18 Best Selling Books on Headaches and Migraines
- 19 Online Resources on Migraines and Headaches
A Very Brief Introduction to Headaches
There are many different types of headaches: tension headaches, cluster headaches, migraine headaches, allergic headaches, etc. One may have a mild or a severe headache. The pain may be frontal or toward the back of the head. It may be a dull aching pain, or an almost unbearable pain. It may be an intermittent intense pain, a throbbing pain, a pressure pain, or a penetrating pain.
The causes for this very uncomfortable and sometime unbearable condition could be related to food sensitivities, dehydration, stress, environment, sinus issues, shoulder and neck tension, allergies, injuries, elecro-magnetic storms, barometric pressure, Monosodium glutamate (MSG) intake (also known as “flavoring”, “natural flavoring” or “hydrolized vegetable protein”), Cervical spine misalignment, malfunctioning thyroid gland and millions of other reasons.
There is a school of thought that suggests that pain in our body doesn’t happen due to bad karma, our sins, etc., but it’s a way of our body to signal to us that something is not right, and hope that the body owner will notice the distress signal, try to understand what is not right and do something about it in order to help their body to have a better experience, and then the pain will disappear. I very much like this attitude but in my personal case I have spent many years trying to figure out the cause and support my body, but unfortunately until now I didn’t have much success. So until now it’s the coping methods for me, and I’m sharing these with you and wish you to get well.
Do-It-Yourself Headache Solutions
- Hydrate Yourself. Since dehydration is often the cause of headaches, drinking sufficient amount of water may relieve or alleviate a headache cause by dehydration. Eating juicy fruit is a nice way to hydrate as well, except fruit comes with a lot of sugar in it, which could have its own side-effects.
- Aerobic Exercise. Regular and frequent aerobic exercise offers effective relief for headaches. Sometimes if done improperly exercise could have the opposite effect, e.g. when the body hasn’t been sufficiently hydrated and fed before starting the workout.
- Heat is good for migraines as it helps to dilate the contacted blood vessels:
- Hot baths are reported to help with tension-centered headaches.
- Alternatively place a hot, wet washcloth or a heating pad on the back of your neck.
- Running your hands under really hot water may help temporarily.
- There is a variety of cold/hot packs made especially for headache sufferers some are even branded as such – for example Headache RelieverTM.
- Another example of a specially designed cold/hot pack holder is Icekap, which has an adjustable band which allows the user to adjust the pressure of the hat to whatever tension they desire, offering comforting support to key migraine areas – occipital, frontal, parietal & temporal regions. You can heat it as well. It also comes with essential oils: lavender, calming and relaxing, reducing anxiety and peppermint oil for the cooling properties. So you get a a combination of cryotherapy, aromatherapy and pressure therapy to treat the symptoms.
- Ice is good for headaches, where one tries to get the dilated blood vessels to contract. Apply ice wrapped in a cloth to the back of your neck, forehead or the sides of your head. This often helps alleviate headaches.
- Hydrotherapy (Contrast shower) helps increase the blood circulation through the body, and often can help relieve headaches. The technique is to stand under as hot water as bearable, for 30-60 seconds and then switching to as cold as possible, and then repeating it, several times while extending the length of each up to a few minutes. You can start with just a few seconds at the beginning and it becomes much easier to take the extremes after the second or third cycle as the skin gets used to it.
- Darkness. Turning off the lights and lying down for a few minutes might provide some relief from severe tension headaches.
- Sleep. Often getting a power nap could eliminate a headache. For a lot of people headaches disappear after a short or a full night sleep. However remember that oversleeping could have the opposite effect and cause a migraine. Also different people have different preference to sleeping patterns, for some getting up very late in the day could warrant a headache, whereas for others waking up really early could have the same effect, regardless of how long their night’s rest was.
- Sitting Posture. If when you work on the computer your posture is not ergonomic, you’re likely to get muscle strain which could result in a headache. Therefore by simply learning to sit properly you could get rid of a migraine headache. “The Computer User’s Survival Guide: Staying Healthy in a High Tech World” by Joan Stigliani as an excellent book on the topic.
- Nasya Oil. It’s an ancient Ayurvedic formula used for nose cleansing. For an indepth explanation see: Nasal Cleansing with Nasya.
- Nasal Irrigation may help with sinus headaches. This technique removes debris and excess mucus from the nose and sinuses by rinsing the nasal cavity. This is an ancient Ayurvedic technique commonly known as Neti-Pot. Make sure you use clean water (i.e. not straight from tap).
- Visualization Techniques:
- Remember the time when you were in a headache-free state, try to visualize that and hold the image for as long as you can.
- Visualize the muscles of your neck and head getting more and more relaxed.
- Meditation is a form of paying attention, of becoming aware, and of directing consciousness, which can help with migraines.
- Immune System Boost. An onset of migraines headaches could come if your immune system is weak, which usually happens when you are under a prolonged stress, in winter and during season changes. So by just taking natural supplements that boost the immune system, such as garlic, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and immune punches.
- Self Neck and Head Massage. A deep self-massaging of the neck and head area can help improve the blood circulation and reduce the headaches. Massage the neck, the scalp, the back of your head at the base of the skull (you could lay on your back with a tennis ball positioned under the base of the skull), the bridge of your nose, temples, forehead, the bone around the eyes, ears. Use slow and deep strokes.
- Eye Palming. Vigorously rub your hands together to make them hot, then cup your eyes with the palms of your hands. You may want to experiment with very light pressure for a few minutes, but just the gentle heat from your palms could be all that’s needed. Keep your eyes closed while palming them. If you did apply pressure your vision could be blurry for a few moments after you remove the palms.
- Orgasm. Perhaps due to the increased blood flow during the excitement stage and a deep relaxation following the orgasm for many people this magical solution eliminates their headaches, for some it doesn’t and sometimes makes things worse.
- Yoga. Fundamental practices for migraine and tension head-aches are the hatha yoga shatkarmas, neti and kunjal. If they are performed at the beginning of an attack of migraine, the sufferer gains immediate relief. These practices release the build-up of psycho-emotional tension which is precipitating the attack. In eradicating headaches these shatkarmas should be practised daily each morning, in conjunction with the following program for two or three months.
- Asana: Pawanamuktasana, Surya Namaskar
- Pranayama: Bhramari, Nadi Shodhana, Mild Bhastrika
- Shatkarma: Kunjal and Neti daily. Laghoo shankha prakshalana once a week.
- Yoga Nidra daily.
- Diet: A simple vegetarian diet is recommended. Avoid rich foods, especially cheese, chocolate and wine. Avoid overeating.
- Fasting! Skipping a meal and relaxing for ten minutes in shavasana will often avert an impending headache due to mental stress.
For more information read “Yogic Management of Common Diseases” by Swami Karmananda.
- (No) Chemicals. You may be sensitive to chemical-based cleaning products, air fresheners, detergent, soaps, etc. around your house – replace those with non-chemical based ones.
- Mold-sensitivity. It’s very likely that your house has some mold especially if it’s an old building, if you have leaky pipes, or just a very humid environment. If you are sensitive to mold, you may get headaches due to the presence of mold in your environment.
- Teeth Clenching Prevention. Some studies have shown that if one clenches and/or grinds the teeth at night or during the day, this could be a major cause of a migraine.
- wear an oral appliance like Doctor’s Night Guard while sleeping, to prevent the upper and lower teeth from contacting.
- use hypnosis or other similar approaches to re-habit your mind not to clench or grind teeth in a sleep or during the wake hours.
- If you catch yourself getting your teeth clenched and getting a tension headache – put a pencil between your teeth without biting it – this relaxes the jaw muscles and may take the headache away.
- Calming Music can help relax and therefore often can reduce the onset of headaches.
- Binaural Beats. Use Alpha waves first, and then switch to Theta and Delta waves if Alpha waves didn’t provide a significant impact. You can either purchase software that can generate the special sounds for you, or you can get a pre-made audio recordings.
Diet and Headaches
- Alkaline Body. Some people’s diet creates a high acidity in the body, which besides many other problems could lead to migraines. You can test your acidity with pH strips on your morning urine – It should be between 6.5 and 7.5 pH. If it’s consistently below 6.5 you need to alkalize your body. You can do that by changing your diet to include mostly alkaline-forming foods, but there are other methods as well. See “The Acid Alkaline Food Guide” by Susan E. Brown and Larry Trivieri Jr. and “pH Miracle” by Robert O. Young.
Once your body has been restored to a healthy pH balance you may notice that the migraines are either completely gone or greatly diminished.
- Hypoglycemic Diet. Those diagnosed with hypoglycemia often find the migraines disappear once they get on a diet for hypoglycemia. “Hypoglycemia: A Better Approach” by Paavo Airola is a good starting point.
- Paleo Diet has been reported by some to help with migraines, except be aware that many go through a lot of headaches when they just start on this diet even if they never had any headaches before. See “It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways” by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig.
- Therapeutic Ketogenic Diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet which is used successfully for treating migraine headaches. See also “Ketogenic Diets” by Eric H. Kossoff, et al.
- Food Triggers. Sometimes one can eliminate headaches by avoiding certain foods, since those could trigger headaches. It can be a single ingredient or a combination of different foods. Here is a partial list of foods that can trigger migraine headaches:
- citrus fruits
- cola beverages
- dairy products (e.g. cheese, ice cream, milk & yogurt)
- grains (including barley, corn, oats, rye and wheat)
- red wine
- sugar (both low sugar and too much sugar)
- foods containing tyramine – usually preserved or aged, such as soy sauce, sauerkraut, salami, etc.
- foods containing tannins – including black walnuts, tea, vanilla, raspberries, and most herbal products, and many more.
Holistic Headache Remedies
- DMSO (Dimethyl Sulfoxide) a by-product of the wood industry. Reports were found of people rubbing DMSO on the area where their head hurts, the migraine would disappear within about five minutes. Another report mentioned that rubbing 90% DMSO Gel stopped person’s headache. A word of caution: DMSO is a very strong solvent, so it’ll carry into your bloodstream whatever dirt you may have on your skin when you apply it and until it’s fully absorbed, so don’t use it until you researched on how to properly use it.
- Caffeine. While effective for some this is a tricky one as it lowers your pain tolerance level in general. So those who have other pain issues such as TMJ, fibromyalgia, chronic neck/back pain, etc. don’t need caffeine as it creates even more pain. And if you develop a dependency – it can also cause rebound headaches when you don’t have it. It’s also reported to sometimes cause a certain type of headaches. Most common ways of getting caffeine are: coffee and caffeinated tea.
- Coenzyme Q10. CoQ10 has been reported to help prevent headaches at 200-300 mg/day.
- Meriva. Meriva 500, 2 capsules, three times a day. This is a powerful anti-inflammatory, similar to Advil, but without all the side effects of Advil. The report strongly recommended Meriva 500 and no other.
- Hydrogen Peroxide Therapy (H2O2) has been shown effective for headaches. Diluted food grade hydrogen peroxide is used for that purpose. Usually the therapy takes 21 days, where one takes in several drops of hydrogen peroxide 3 times a day, increasing the count of drops daily. Details can be found in “Hydrogen Peroxide: Medical Miracle” by William Campbell Douglass II . Caution – you can hurt yourself with H2O2 if you don’t know what you’re doing, so make sure to read up on it first.
- Oil Pulling Therapy heals the body of many ailments including migraine headaches. It’s a simple technique of 5-15 minutes swishing of a single tablespoon of raw vegetable oil in your mouth, followed by spitting it out and rinsing the mouth. For more details please read “Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing” by Bruce Fife.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. There are quite a few dedicated books on this remedy. Here are a few recipes:
- Add a couple of tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar to a glass of water and some get a relief within 15 minutes.
- Apply a compress (cloth) soaked with Apple Cider vinegar to your head.
- In a vaporizer or small pan, put 2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 2 cups distilled water. Bring mixture to a boil. When vapour begins to rise, turn heat off, put a towel over your head and lean forward over the steam, taking 5 deep breaths of the Apple cider vinegar mixture. Many chronic headache sufferers reported to get a relief in 35 to 40 minutes with this method.
Vitamins & Oils to Deal with Headaches
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2). The mechanism of Riboflavin action may be related to its effects on mitochondrial energy metabolism – mitochondrial dysfunction, resulting in impaired oxygen metabolism, may play a role in migraine pathogenesis. 1,000 mg per day has shown to decrease migraines by 43% (be sure to get a sublingual or chewable). Most reports recommend to take at least a 400 mg dose daily and it takes a few weeks to build up in your body before it becomes effective in preventing headaches. Vitamin-B complex is also recommended in conjunction with Vit-B2.
- Vitamin E may help to stabilize estrogen levels and prevent migraines during a menstruation – sesame seeds are a good source of it.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Groups of migraine sufferers were found to be low on omega-3 fatty acids in their blood, and those who consumed flaxseed oil, fish-oil and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids have seen a significant reduction in the intensity of their migraines.
- Butter Ghee. Put 3-4 drops of cow’s milk-made ghee into both your nostrils before going to bed at night to get relief from migraine attacks.
Supplements to Ease the Headaches
- Melatonin. Clinical studies report that 3-mg of melatonin before going to bed may reduce the headached frequency by 50% or more. Make sure you take it when you’re ready to go sleep, since in 15-30 minutes you will be deep asleep for quite a few hours. It’s the best to take it in sublingual form and the normal kind (not in a time-released form).
- Potassium. Eating potassium-rich foods can help to alleviate hangover-related headaches. Baked potatoes, bananas are good food-based sources of Potassium.
- Magnesium deficiency has been suspected to play a role in the pathogenesis of migraine. Magnesium also relieves muscular tension. The remedy could be ineffective in cases of poor absorption of it. Here are some suggestions:
- 1-2 gr of intravenous (IV) magnesium given over 15 minutes will knock out a migraine in 85% of cases
- 200-500 mg of magnesium glycinate or 600 mg of trimagnesium dicitrate have been recommended
- Intravenous injection of magnesium and hydrochloric acid (HCL) was reported to stop most migraines within 5-15 minutes.
- A combination of oral magnesium and riboflavin was found very effective to some migraine sufferers
- Raw pumpkin seeds and almonds are high in magnesium if you prefer food-as-medicine approach. (but for some people nuts can be a cause of a headache.)
Herbs & Spices to Eliminate Headaches
- Feverfew (Latin: Chrysanthemum parthenium), often sold as Feverfew, is a traditional medicinal herb which is found in many old gardens, and is also occasionally grown for ornament. The word “feverfew” comes from the Latin word febrifugia, meaning “fever reducer”. [More on wikipedia]
- Feverfew extract with other natural herbal additions. Some headache sufferers reported that in about 60% of time the migraine goes away within an hour or so of taking Feverfew, at other times it stays but not as strong, and sometimes it doesn’t help. Note: this particular version of extract worked to a degree for me – sometimes it would prevent the headache onset altogether, other times it helps to diminish the pain, and there are times when it doesn’t help. I also have grown my own feverfew plant and chewed on its leaves, which seems to help as well.
- Feverfew tea is another way of taking this herb
- Guarana may work for headache relief. It may have some analgesic properties because of its high caffeine content. However, daily caffeine consumption is one of the leading causes of rebound headaches. Guarana and all other caffeine-containing foods, drinks and medications should be avoided in patients with frequent headaches.
- Ginger since the old days has been used as a remedy for headaches and many other ailments. The most common ways to use it to deal with migraines and headaches are:
- peel, then slice or crush some fresh ginger or use a tablespoon of dry ginger powder, steep it in boiling hot water. And then either drink it or inhale the vapours, or both.
- out of dry ginger powder make a paste by mixing it with some water and apply to your forehead
- Gingko Biloba. Most reports suggest that it actually causes headaches, however there were a few to whom it helped to relieve headaches. One report suggested 2 x 60 mg a day.
- Valerian Root may reduce emotional migraine triggers, such as stress and anxiety. It’s believed to have sedative and relaxing effects on people who take it. This may lead to the relief of migraine headache symptoms. However it may also cause a headache.
- Lavender (Lavandula, Elf Leaf, Latin: Lavandula angustifolia). Lavender is used extensively with herbs and aromatherapy. Infusions are believed to soothe headaches.
- Use a lavender pillow – inhaling the calming, herbal fragrance of the lavender could help with migraines. You can make your own lavender pouch with just taking a cloth pouch and filling it with dried lavender buds.
- Making a lavender vapor bath using lavender essential oil. Add a few drops of it into a bowl with hot water and inhale the vapors for a few minutes. The calming scent may help relieve the tension that is causing your headache. Alternatively you can take a hot bath and add the essential oil to it.
- Mixing a few drops of lavender essential oil with a carrier oil, like almond or orange oil, and applying it to your temples.
- Drink lavender tea. The relaxing properties of the lavender will help calm your muscles and dull the pain of your headache.
- Butterbur (Petasites hybridus extract), also known as Sweet Coltsfoot. Clinical research reports 50% reduction in migraines when taken at about 50-75mg of standardized Butterbur extract twice a day. Intake of this herb reduces muscle and tissue spasms and also reduces inflammation of affected blood vessels. Reports suggest that one needs to take this plant on the consistent basis and it takes several months before one perceives a significant impact. This extract is often recommended as a better alternative to some commonly used drugs against migraines. You should be cautioned against consuming any part of the Petasites plant other than specific products commercially prepared, in which the plant carcinogens have been removed. Also beware that natural butterbur leaf can be toxic, research before taking any.
- White willow bark (Salix Alba) has been used throughout the centuries for the treatment of headaches. Its bark contains salicin, polyphenols and flavonoids which provide effects similar to aspirin. The impact is slower than aspirin, but the effects reported to last longer. Willow bark can be taken as tea, capsules (60 – 240 mg of standardized salicin per day) or tincture (1:5, 30% alcohol 4 – 6 mL 3 times per day). Those alergic to salicin and/or prone to stomach upset shouldn’t use this remedy.
- Basil. Take a few Basil (Tulasi or Tulsi) leaves, along with 4-5 black peppercorns, put into the mouth and chew – this may cure the migraine.
- Rosemary has been found valuable in headaches resulting from cold. A handful of this herb should be boiled in a litre of water and put in a mug. The head should be covered with a towel and the steam inhaled for as long as the patient can bear. This should be repeated till the headache is relieved.
- Marjoram is beneficial in the treatment of a nervous headache. An infusion of the leaves is taken as a tea in the treatment of this disorder. Alternative use a few drops of Marjoram Essential Oil.
- Henna Flowers have been found valuable in curing headaches caused by hot sun. The flowers should be rubbed in vinegar and applied over the forehead.
- Black Cohosh‘s mild sedative activity that can aid in the treatment of headaches caused by stress, anxiety, and depression. Take one capsule or drink one cup of Black Cohosh tea before the onset of severe headache or migraine. Note: large doses of Black Cohosh may cause headaches.
- Mixture of Peppermint Oil and Ethanol (Ethyl Alcohol) applied to the foreheads of the headache sufferers was reported to cause an almost instant lessening of headache pain.
- Peppermint tea has a calming effect and often aids in diminishing the migraines.
- When you’re done with the tea, place those wet peppermint teabags on your closed eyes for several minutes (make sure that the teabags aren’t too hot).
- Chamomile. Chamomile tea has compounds that help ease pain and help one relax. For some people it causes headaches. It may also have bad interactions with medications if you take any.
- Cinnamon is useful in headaches caused by exposure to cold air. A fine paste of this spice should be prepared by mixing it with water and it should be applied over the temples and forehead to obtain relief.
- MigraSpray(R). A proprietary formula that consists of dandelion, feverfew, goldenseal and wood-decay fungus Polyporus officinalis (Laricifomes officinalis). As reported by the company within 6 minutes of spraying the mixture under the tongue, in order to get a faster absorption into the blood stream, many reported either a full recovery or a great improvement in their condition.
- Cayenne Pepper is reported to provide a relief in migraine headache situations. Cayenne Pepper immediately equalizes blood pressure throughout the whole body, which removes the constriction of blood vessels in the head, and thus resolving the headache if that was the cause of such. The goal should be to be able to eventually take a full teaspoon of cayenne daily (mixed with water) — research Dr. Christopher’s “cayenne pepper tea” for details.
- Cannabis (“medical marijuana”) is used by some to numb the pain. It’s a legal prescription drug in certain countries – and if you’re lucky to live in such location – your medical doctor might be able prescribe it for you. Due to the “legally-sensitive” status of this plant not much research is available out there.
- Psilocybin and some forms of LSD are used for personal treatment of migraines and cluster headaches, not only to provide a relief but sometimes a complete cure. Since neither is legal in most countries I’m not sure how you’d go about testing this solution. Cluster headaches patients in UK are trying to get a law passed to legalize these for medical purpose, similar to medical marijuana that’s legally accessible in certain countries.
- Rivea Corymbosa (Turbina corymbosa) Seeds contain a tryptamine called Lysergic Acid Amide or LSA. LSA is reported by some to be an effective treatment for cluster headaches. These are mild psychedelics and depending on where you live could be illegal. Morning Glory and Sleepy Grass also contain LSA. For more information see: clusterbusters.org.
- Spinach. If the headache gets triggered due to high blood pressure, eating spinach leaves helps decrease blood pressure and thus eliminate the headache.
Berries to Relieve Headaches
- Acerola Cherry. The acerola cherry is a Latin American “super fruit.” It’s loaded with all the antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients typical of most berries, but it also contains high levels of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are thought to be anti-inflammatory similar to aspirin and ibuprofen, which are known to relieve headaches.
Fruit & Vegetables Useful for Headaches
- Tomato Juice. Some believe that the vitamins and minerals in tomato juice will relieve a headache naturally.
- Lemons are a natural way of dealing with headaches:
- Squeeze half-a-lemon into your tea and drink it. It gives immediate relief.
- The rind of lemon has been found useful in headaches caused by heat. The rind should be pounded into a fine paste in a mortar and applied as plaster on the forehead.
- Applying the freshly pared-off rind of a lemon to each temple will also give relief.
- Red Apples are reported to help with recurring headaches .There are also reports of red apples or apple cider causing headaches to some individuals due to tannins found in them. It’s recommended to peel the skin, especially if there may be pesticides in it.
- After peeling and coring an apple, eat it with a little salt every morning on an empty stomach for about a week.
- Bromelain is used alleviated sinus headaches (typically due to Sinusitis). It’s a protein-digesting enzyme extracted from pineapple. You can consume it in a supplement form on empty stomach or simply eat a lot of fresh pineapple. Some people can’t tolerate neither pineapple, nor bromelain.
Holistic Migraine Treatments
- Chiropractic manipulation may help at migraine prevention if the onset of the migraine comes as a result of spinal misalignment.
- Homeopathy uses extremely small amounts of substances, which in large amounts can induce the symptoms which are being treated. But other substances that don’t trigger headaches, can be used in homeopathic treatments for migraines and head-aches. Homeopathic Nux Vomica is one of the remedies to research to help migraine headaches.
- Aromatherapy can be suitable since a large part of our brain is devoted to dealing with olfactory sense. It’s known that strong odours can almost instantly induce a migraine. Certain essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus are known for their relaxing and headache healing effects.
- Biofeedback. The essence of biofeedback is to teach a sufferer how to encounter stress without adverse physiological effects. Learning to control body functions such as temperature can be achieved only by first learning to relax the skeletal muscles. This is achieved through progressive relaxation, visualization and breathing techniques which become a subconscious habit. This appears to allow many sufferers to lower tension throughout the day and this results in fewer headaches.
- Cranio-sacral Therapy works with the structures of your head and nervous system.
- Feldenkrais helps you identify your movement patterns that may be a contributing factor to headaches.
- Bowen Therapy is an effective method in removing the congestions that lead to the symptoms of various types of migraine headaches.
- Head, Shoulder and Neck Massage. Seeing a professional is ideal, but self-massage of the temples, neck or back can relieve a headache. Also try to relax your jaw and facial muscles.
- Myofascial Release – works the best if a headache is the result of myofascial or connective tissues damage, due to bad posture, lack of stretching, prolonged repetitive motions, stress, trauma, inflamation and injuries. Myofascial release works the facia to bring it back to a balanced and free state and provides a long term headache relief.
- Acupressure and Acupuncture from Traditional Chinese Medicine. If you can’t see a acupuncturist, you can try on your own – there are many different acupressure points that can be used depending on the triggers, type and location of the migraine.
- 2 major points are between the webbing of the thumb and index finger and the big toe and second toe. Find a sore point in these areas, press, hold and work in a circular motion for 3 secs, release and repeat. Do that on both hands. If headache is acute these points will be very sore and may throb. Work until soreness dissipate. Small magnets can also be used to activate these points.
- Another suggestion is pressing the cheekbone (zygomatic bone) with the help of your thumb up and out from within the mouth on the afflicted side of your head. Follow that procedure with placing both thumbs on your upper palate and press the sides out. Do each procedure for a few seconds with moderate pressure and then let go. Repeat several times.
- Shiatsu – similar to Acupressure but a Japanese-originating modality, but it works in a very similar way.
- Prolotherapy (Sclerotherapy, Reconstructive Therapy). Prolotherapy is minimally-invasive, non-surgical ligament and tendon reconstruction. The goal of prolotherapy is to re-tighten the ligaments and tendons of joints and other painful areas by shorting the collagen fibers within the connective tissues. When performed the structure causing the pain regains its normally-taut configuration, thereby eliminating the root cause of pain.
- Su-Jok. This modality is a unique one as it can be done by yourself by just following simple steps, see How To Get Rid Of A Headache with Sujok for details.
- Oxygen Multistep Therapy by Manfred von Ardenne and Revici’s Method by Dr. Revici both connected migraines with hypotension. They suggest a nutrient and oxygen therapy model to address the cause, see The Migraine Hypotension Connection.
- NeuroCranial Restructuring (NRC) developed by Dean Howell successfully treats chronic headaches and migraines. The focus of this therapy is skull and spine alignment through a combination of various holistic modalities. Dean published a book called “NeuroCranial Restructuring Unleash Your Structural Power“.
- Plastic Surgery. Dr. Bahman Guyuron discovered that as a side effect of removing the corrugator supercilii muscles which are done during routine face lift surgeries 80% of those who suffered from headache migraines before the surgery had a “free” bonus of having their migraines either completely. Not really a holistic approach, but to some it still might be a better solution than drugs or no solution at all.
- Occipital Neurostimulator. This is an implant, similar to heart pacemaker, except this one is for stimulating the superficial nerves in the forehead and back of the head. The technology doesn’t work for everybody and one needs to go through a trial to see whether it helps controlling migraine headaches before the semi-permanent device, its 10-year battery and the wires are implanted into the patient’s body.
- Botox injections are used by some for dealing chronic migraines and tension headaches. Apparently the science doesn’t know why it works, but it just does. See “A Practical Guide to Botulinum Toxin Procedures” by Rebecca Small.
Electronic Devices to Cope with Headaches
- Cefaly – the ‘Star Trek’ headband. The device – which ‘looks like something out of Star Trek’ – delivers electric impulses to the supraorbital nerve that controls sensation in and around the eye. A study found those who used it were suffering about a third fewer debilitating headaches after a couple of months later.
- Rife Machines – are called after Royal Raymond Rife who found that each kind of bacteria vibrates at a unique frequency and it’s possible to destroy it by sending specific frequencies to the body and creating a special kind of resonance which shutters selected organisms. There are three ways of delivering such frequencies – (1) contact – holding bars (2) plasma – sitting in front of powerful plasma bulb (3) remote – radionic/scalar wave method, where frequencies are sent to a target’s DNA sample. There are freely available tables with Rife frequencies and there are several entries for different types of headaches and migraines. In particular some migraine sufferers have Strongyloides (threadworms). A Rife machine can kill the worms and maintain the clean state, and thus keep the migraines at bay. As far as Rife machines go most are quite expensive, ranging from $500 to $20,000. The exception to these are the following solutions:
- Hulda Clark Zapper – These devices can be DIY with schematics available freely online, or purchased for $10 – $300 depending on the vendor. Read Hulda’s book “The Cure for All Diseases“.
- Spooky2 – a very inexpensive Rife machine solution, with very advanced free software and $100-$200 range hardware, and a vibrant community around it.
- There are also software only systems that use the headsets or speakers as the delivery mechanism which are of a very questionable efficacy, but do you own research.
- The Goodbyepain Cellion – are MPS (Micro Pulse Stimulation) devices. There are somewhat similar to TENS technology, but the electric pulse is steady and it takes only a few minutes of usage to see effects. Combing the hair up and down and side to side when having a headache is effective in relieving the pain. Price range $200-$300. Note: this particular device worked really well for me.
- SCENAR is a unique Russian technology developed in the 70s, which uses Biofeedback to get the body to heal itself. Headaches are just one of the many ailments it’s supposed to handle. For more info see: SCENAR Research.
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Devices of this kind create a magnetic beam which induces a very mild electrical current in the brain for a fraction of a second and supposedly it interrupts the abnormal electrical activity associated with migraines. There are quite a few companies out there manufacturing the devices. Most literature on the topic are for practitioners in the fields, such as “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: A Neurochronometrics of Mind” by Vincent Walsh, so perhaps starting with the wikipedia page is better idea if you just want to get started as a user.
- Brain Machine (Audio-Visual Entrainment) is designed to change the brainwaves of its users with help of specially generated sounds and blinking lights. Changing the brainwave to alpha, theta or gamma can reduce and eliminate headaches, which typically occur in a sub-range of Beta waves. Michael Hutchison’s “Mega Brain: New Tools And Techniques For Brain Growth And Mind Expansion” is the classic book on AVE technologies which have been around for quite a few decades. There are many manufacturers of brain machines out there.
- Humidifier and ionizer may help headache caused by barometric changes and very dry environment.
Mental Exercise Systems against Headaches
There are several systems out there which teach you how you can train your brain to drastically change your experience of headaches.
- Open Focus. Invented by Les Fehmi, Open Focus works with brainwaves. Headaches are typically experienced when the brain is in the mid- to high-Beta wavelength range. With the help of special mental practices one can make their brain shift into Alpha brain wave range, which brings to relaxation amongst other things. This change can eliminate the discomfort of the migraines. You may want to start by reading his book called “Dissolving Pain: Simple Brain-Training Exercises for Overcoming Chronic Pain” and then move on to his audio recordings of Les’ training.
- Resolution Magic. Designed by Olivia Roberts this system trains the user to re-educate their nervous system to better cope with chronic pain and its psychological effects. For details please refer to Olivia’s book: Chronic Pain and Debilitating Conditions Resolution: Make Unwanted Symptoms Disappear!
- Release Technique by Larry Crane and Lestor Levenson. Individuals reporting migraine disappearance within 30 minutes of the application of the treatment, and not having another migraine occurrence after it. The gist of the technique is learning to let go of unwanted feelings and states of mind. See also “The Abundance Book” by Larry Crane.
Esoteric Solutions to Migraines
- Pyramids. Les Brown in his book “The Pyramid: How To Build It, How To Use It” reports that he and his wife had a great success at dealing with headaches, by wearing a cardboard pyramid made to the correct measurements on their heads for about 20 minutes. The exact measurements (which are very important and have be proportional to the Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza in Egypt) can be found in Les’ book or elsewhere online.
- Crystals. Crystal treatments vary depending on the kind of a headache or a migraine one experiences. The following crystals work with headaches: Rhodocrosite, Ocean Jasper,Amethyst, Rock Crystal, Amber, Emerald, Magnesite, Rhodonite and Smoky Quartz . To learn how to choose the right crystal for your kind of headache and how to work with it read Michael Gienger’s The Healing Crystals First Aid Manual.
Folk Remedies Dealing with Headaches and Migraines
- Coca-Cola helps some to get through a migraine. “And, it has to be Coke. Nothing else has the right combo of chemicals.” the comment said.
- Try a “ritual” consisting of lighting up a few matches and extinguishing them in a glass of water. Next take three small sips of that water and the headache should go away.
- Think of stairs. Yes, those things you use to walk up. Works like a magic for some.
- Hair clip attached to one’s eye brow. Leave it on for a few minutes, then take it off, and repeat. Apparently it works really well for those with headaches behind their eyes.
- Believes and Superstitions. The following “recipes” belong to the folk belief and superstition category and found in old literature, however if you’re desperate for a relief, why not check if any of these resonate with you and may help?
- To cure a headache, apply cabbage leaves in the form of a poultice to the forehead (Cleveland, 1961).
- Piercing the ears will help cure headaches (Cleveland, 1956).
- Rattlesnake rattles worn in the sweatband of a hat will prevent headaches. ( 1956)
- Carry a nut in a pocket. Stroking it constantly will cure chronic headaches and keep them away. (1931)
- To get rid of headache caused by the evil eye, bind the aching head with a strip of cloth and tie it tight to squeeze out the evil eye (Cleveland, 1964).
- Wear cornbeads to prevent or cure headache. (Louisiana 1927)
- Take catnip tea for headaches. (Iowa 1936)
- Ingesting a decoction of live-for-ever (New England, 1833)
- Putting drops of oil on top of water will get rid of a headache (Ashtabula)
- Put olive oil on your forehead; then drop some olive oil in water. If the oil shows the shape of two eyes, your headache will be gone (Cleveland, 1957)
- To cure a headache take a dish of water and a spoon of oil and make the sign of the cross, say some words, and the headache will go away (Wickliffe, 1956);
- Putting drops of oil on water in a bowl and then saying prayers over it will cure a headache (Cleveland, 1958).
- Jimson weed will cure headache if bound on the aching part. (African American 1926)
- Cherokee remedy for severe headaches: 7 green elderberry leaves, cooled in water, Water in which leaves were immersed is taken onto mouth and blown 4 times on top of victim’s head as he sits in chair facing east. Prior to each blow this is said: You Apportioner! (4 times). Ha! very quickly! You have just come to hear! “Medicine!” He has just come to say. (1964)
- The dust of a threshold of the door applied in small patches on the temples is fine for combating headaches. In order to gather it the patient should wet his finger and trace it across the threshold of his dwelling in the form of the cross. (Chile, 1947)
- A buckeye is very potent as a preventive of headache. (Alabama, 1934)
- An agate in a cloth placed under the head was used to cure headaches. (XVII century)
- To cure headaches, blow tobacco smoke in each ear. (New York 1952)
- A salt herring worn around the throat cures headache. (Leipzig, 1913)
- For a bad headache: soak your feet in real hot water; this will draw the misery from your head. (Kentucky, 1917)
- If you have headache, wear coral to prevent any further attacks. (Old Mexican superstition)
- Compass-plant resin grain picked up and set into ear with thumb and ring finger will alleviate migraine headaches.
- Wear a match in your hair to keep from having a headache. (Alabama, 1934)
- A persistent headache may be “conjured off” by putting a lock of one’s hair under a stone and not mentioning either the hair or the treatment for seven days (New York 1947)
- Put a Malvas leaf on your temple for a headache (Mexico)
- The Mexican vaquero often puts fresh mesquite leaves in his hat and wears it. Mistletoe leaves chewed will also relieve headache. (Texas)
- Make a pollace of raw potatoes for headaches. They would put them on a rag and put it on your head and when the headache stopped, the potatoes would turn black. My mother used to do it all the time. (California, 1960)
- Kittens. Take a nap with a kitty. Put your head on their soft little purry tummies and sleep. Headache will be gone when you wake up.
- Hormonal Imbalance. For many people unbalanced hormones could be the cause of chronic migraines and headaches. Testing and normalizing the hormone levels specific to your age and gender may tremendously help to keep headaches at bay. Women should be especially aware of their progesterone/estrogen levels and their connection to premenstrual or menopausal migraines.
- Headache Diary. It’s very important to keep a diary of your headaches and what remedies have been attempted. It’s only by tracking that you’ll be able to discover what is working for you and what isn’t. You can do it on paper or using a software application. There’re some good apps, if you have a smart phone. My Pain Diary is one a lot of people rave about.
greatly extended, reorganized
and turned into a book:
If you want to read more about headaches and migraines, here are a few more starting points:
Best Selling Books on Headaches and Migraines
- 10 Simple Solutions to Migraines: Recognize Triggers, Control Symptoms, and Reclaim Your Life (10 Simple Series) by Dawn A. Marcus, MD.
- Migraine and Other Headaches by William B. Young MD; and Stephen D. Silberstein, MD.
- Conquering Headache – An Illustrated Guide to Understanding the Treatment and Control of Headache by Alan Rapoport, MD; Fred Sheftell, MD; and Stewart Tepper, MD.
Online Resources on Migraines and Headaches
- Headache Network Canada
- Help for Headaches
- https://clusterbusters.org/– Finding relief from cluster headache through research, education, advocacy and support.
- American Committee for Headache Education, American Headache Society
Request: If you know of other non-invasive and natural remedies that haven’t been covered by this extensive presentation please suggest those via comments. Thank you.
Disclaimer: The suggestions made in this article are not a substitute for a medical advice. If you have frequent, recurring headaches, talk to your doctor.