November 15, 2012

8 Ways to Relieve & Prevent Headaches. ~ Amber Scriven

Photo credit: Diamond Farah

From pressure points to chewing onions, headache help is here!

As an acupuncturist, I am frequently asked for advice on headache relief. While acupuncture is fantastic for relieving immediate pain and releasing people from repetitive headaches, results are always better when you take the initiative to apply lifestyle changes and to incorporate some home remedies into your medicine cabinet.

Here are eight bits of advice I always provide clients in need of immediate headache relief and to prevent future headaches from reoccurring.

Pain Relief:

1. Use food. In Chinese medicine, foods like onion, vinegar, leek and chives all move the blood. Moving the blood works two-fold while you have a headache: It moves toxins through your system faster to create relief and it improves circulation. Better circulation means less pain in general.

2. Mint tea. Mint unblocks the sinuses and clears the mind. Even if your headache is unrelated to sinus problems, it will help open the blood vessels and decrease swelling. It is also a wonderful stress soother for tension headaches.

3. Talk to your local herbalist. These “plant gurus” have so many tricks up their sleeves for headaches that there is bound to be one for you, especially if you are willing to be patient and let them find it with you. Once you have found the combo that works, you will have a personalized home remedy at the ready.

4. Sip a lot of water. Dehydration can cause all kinds of physical injuries over time. It contributes to overeating, tiredness, sleep deprivation, muscular tension, soreness, tendon or ligament weakness, hyper-immunity—and guess what—headaches! Drink water, not juice or soda. Your body needs water.

5. Pressure points. The muscle at the base of your thumb holds an acupressure point used in acupuncture to open the sinuses and relieve pain. You can hold this point strongly to temporarily relieve head pain. Also, try the nape of your neck, foot massages, and the corners of the hairline on your face and close to the artery on your temples.

Prevent Headaches:

5. Avoid common triggers like aged cheese, salami, wine and chocolate as much as possible. Eventually, you could slowly integrate them back into your diet one by one to see which ones are affecting you personally, but for immediate relief of reoccurring headaches just avoid all of them completely.

6. Get better sleep. You heal most while you sleep. If you are not getting adequate sleep, find ways to work on this. Chamomile tea is great for both issues.

7. Exercise. Boring to hear, I know, but working out helps soothe stress levels and move the blood. This gets healthy, oxygenated blood flowing through the blood vessels in your head and neck and releases endorphins to kill pain. Double whammy. All that going to the gym will pay off.

8. And not to be repetitive but…hydrate!

Always remember that if your pain persists without relief for a long period of time, or is sharp and stabbing and fixed in a location, you should see your doctor to rule out anything more serious. Feel better!

Acupuncturist, herbalist, food lover, health writer and yoga enthusiast, Amber Scriven is the co-founder of The Acupuncture & Homeopathic Studio in California. She has a master’s degree in sciences and writes for various online health publications while running a multi-disciplinary clinic with her mother treating orthopedic injuries, women’s health and sleep deprivation disorders. You can connect on her website, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.


Editor: Jamie Morgan

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