Say so long to headaches with natural remedies

For several years, I suffered from horrible migraines. My day would consist of taking 2 Excedrin Migraine with a Pepsi chaser about every 6 hours and then whimpering myself to sleep with a cold compress on my forehead. Not a good way to live.

I don’t recommend this approach. :)

When I finally went to the doctor, he told me my headaches were caffeine related. Shocking, I know. Considering a dose of Excedrin Migraine contains 130mg of caffeine and a Pepsi has 36-38mg … well, that was WAY too much for my system. No wonder I was waking up with a headache – the 8 hours of sleep I was getting was allowing me to detox from the massive doses of caffeine and I’d wake up feeling like I was going to die.

I slowly weaned myself off caffeine over the course of about 6 months. I still drink caffeine now, but I make sure it’s in a more natural state – like that in green tea¬†or chocolate. I don’t seem to have the reaction to this natural-based caffeine as I do to the chemically made caffeine in sodas, energy drinks & medications.

So, what could be causing your headaches?

  • skipping meals
  • the weather – Check out Weather.com’s Aches & Pain index
  • your hairstyle – I find if I use headbands or pull my hair up a lot, I get a headache.
  • good ‘ol stress
  • dehydration
  • strong scents
  • too much time at a computer/eye strain
  • foods – especially cheese, red wine and deli meats that contain nitrates
  • excess – or lack of – caffeine (these are called rebound headaches – basically, you drink a LOT of caffeine, then go into withdrawal after not having it for a while, like when you wake up. Here’s a great article explaining different types of headaches)
Once you know what causes your headaches, you’ll be able to combat them and/or avoid the triggers. But, what about when you’re IN the moment and need instant relief?
  • Take a cool shower
  • Lay in a dark room with a cool compress or ice pack on your forehead or back of neck/shoulders
  • Peppermint oil – add a few drops to the cool compress or in the corners of your shower. You can also rub a few drops directly onto your temples or neck.
  • Gently rub your temples and/or the space between your thumb and forefinger
  • See a chiropractor
  • Acupuncture – as recommended by @SweetsbySarah on Twitter. (And I wholeheartedly agree with!)
    [blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/#!/sweetsbysarah/status/96240996051976193"]
Do you have any natural headache cures that work for you?

2 comments

  1. Michelle Zancanaro says:

    Jess – You’re so right about dehydration being a cause of headaches. I have learned to stay very hydrated, especially on hot days, and even in the winter when air in the house and office can become so dry. I learned several years ago that sports drinks with electrolytes help relieve and can even prevent migraines for me.

    When I have a bad headache/migraine (and I used to get them 4x/week – not nearly as often anymore), the combo that works best is 2 Excedrin Migraine, 32 ounces of sports drink, a dark quiet room and a cold compress/ice pack on the forehead or back of neck. If that doesn’t work (and it almost always does), I add one of the prescription pain meds or muscle relaxers that I have for my back – but if I add those then I’m down for the count and in for the day/night.

    • Jessica
      Twitter: Deploymentdivas
      says:

      I was the same way with migraines, Michelle. So glad you found something that works for you! I do keep a stash of a prescription migraine medicine on hand “just in case.” :)

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