Dr. Lindsay Heubner, November 9 2018

Natural Headache Remedies

Headaches are extremely common among Canadians and can be tricky to diagnose. There are various types of headaches including tension type, cervicogenic, migraines and cluster headaches. In general, headaches can occur due to a combination of triggers including: stress, food allergies, hormone imbalances, vitamin or mineral imbalances, lack of sleep, dehydration and environmental causes. When you have a headache, do you reach for a Tylenol or an Ibuprofen? For many people these are their go to headache relievers.   

Tylenol or Acetaminophen is used to treat mild to moderate pain and to reduce fever. Tylenol targets pain due to headaches, menstrual periods, toothaches, backaches, osteoarthritis as well as cold/flu aches and pains. It works by inhibiting the synthesis of chemical messengers called prostaglandins (the body produces prostaglandins in response to an injury or illness). Tylenol only blocks this signalling but does not target the root of the problem, it also may pose a variety of side effects including; severe skin reactions, nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-coloured stools and jaundice.    

IBU or Ibuprofen is used to relieve pain from headaches, dental, menstrual cramps, muscle aches, arthritis and minor aches and pain due to common cold or flu. Like Tylenol, Ibuprofen works by blocking the body’s natural production of prostaglandins, which lead to inflammation.  Side affects that may come along with taking ibuprofen are; upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness and drowsiness.     

Instead of reaching for that Tylenol, there are natural ways you can fight your headaches. A few that will be briefly talked about in this article are magnesium, peppermint essential oil, chiropractic care and acupuncture, all of which are offered here at Integrated Health Centre!  

Magnesium

Magnesium, also referred to as the “relaxation mineral” or “chill pill”, works not only as a muscle relaxer but also as a sleep aide, a mood stabilizer as well it may bring big relief to those who suffer from headaches, as low magnesium is linked to headaches and migraines. In fact, 75% of us aren’t getting enough magnesium. Reasons for this deficiency are due in part to modern farming practices and overall depletion of minerals in the soil. In addition, many medications we rely on including birth control pills, blood pressure pills, cholesterol-lowering pills and diuretics also deplete the body of magnesium.  

Peppermint Essential Oil

Many people have found that peppermint essential oil gives relief for headache pain in less than 30 minutes. What you need:

3 drops of peppermint essential oil1 tablespoon of a carrier oil (such as coconut oil)Bowl to mix them inCotton ball to apply 

Mix the oils together and apply to your forehead, temples and back of neck if applicable. 

Chiropractic Care 

One of the most common types of headaches is tension-type. Various structures in the brain or surrounding your skull and neck like nerves, joints and muscles can play a role in your headache. A chiropractor is a spine, muscles and nervous system expert, specifically trained to diagnose the underlying cause of your frequent headaches. They not only perform an extensive examination to determine whether your symptoms are coming from joint dysfunction of the spine or other surrounding structures like muscles but they also may be able to determine if any of your lifestyle factors may be triggers for your headaches. 

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine practice that is a safe and effective alternative to medication. It works by stimulating the release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain-relieving neurohoromones) through the insertion of needles into anatomical points to encourage natural healing. The stimulation on your circulatory and immune system is what may relieve migraines and tension headaches.             

In conclusion, headaches are common amongst us all, but the way we choose to deal with them is entirely up to us. Instead of taking a Tylenol or Ibuprofen why not give magnesium, peppermint oil, chiropractic care or acupuncture a try? Who knows, what if magnesium is all your body is missing to put an end to your frequent headaches? 

Written by

Dr. Lindsay Heubner

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