Here's something i wrote on headache a while ago. Most migraines are food allergy related. Gluten dairy, taurine rich foods. Blessings, Brigitte
Headaches are one of the most common human afflictions.
There are two main categories. Vascular headaches result from dilation of the blood vessels in the head and non-vascular, or psychogenic headaches result from stress. Many headaches are caused by neuromuscular skeletal imbalances. Low blood sugar can also be a cause. Some folks get headaches from being around cool white fluorescent lights.
Pay attention to how you hold yourself. Do you clench your jaws, hold your neck tight? Breathe into these tense area and do your best to let go. Headaches are considered a heat disease as well as liver centered. Liver chi rises when it is in the liver is congested. Headaches that feel better with the application of pressure can indicate a deficiency. Biofeedback training can teach a headache prone person to relax more. This can also improve circulation. Many have been helped by hypnosis. Avoid exposure to hot sun which can bring on headaches. Wear a hat when outdoors.
Some find that spraying a cold jet of water directly onto the soles of the feet constricts blood vessels and relieves headache.
Stay off sugars and fruit juices and eat smaller more frequent meals to keep blood sugar levels on a more even keel. Include more protein and complex carbohydrates in the regime. Foods to eat more of include black sesame seed, buckwheat, carrots, celery and scallions. Use radish for headaches in the back of the head. Fish oils or flax seed oil can reduce migraine intensity.
Caffeine consumption as well as caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches. This happens because caffeine causes blood vessel constriction. It is best to gradually decrease caffeine rather than all at once. Alcohol is a vasodilator. Nicotine can cause headache by constricting blood vessels. Other foods that can trigger headaches include chocolate, wheat, citrus, corn, tomatoes, apples, bananas, peaches, peanuts and onions, red meat. Minimize excess spicy foods, chocolate, fats and fried foods. Avoid ice cold foods and drink. Foods high in the amino acid, tyrosine such as aged cheese and wine can cause migraine headaches. There is also a class of chemicals known as vasoactive amines that can cause headaches in some people. This includes histamines in aged cheese, eggplant, spinach, tomato, chicken liver and wine. Tyramines in avocados, bananas, cheese, citrus, red wine, peanuts, fermented, pickled and smoked foods, plums, sourdough bread and baker's yeast as well phenylethylamine in chocolate and cheese are all headache contributing culprits. Avoid chemical food additives such as sulfites, nitrates and nitrites, red and yellow dye.
Herbs to help headaches include:
Angelica helps one feel lighter and happier. Relieves headaches due
to nerves. Anti-inflammatory, astringent, carminative and nervine.
Blue vervain is for menstrual and tension headaches, as well as
migraines. Anti-coagulant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic,
astringent, cholagogue, nervine, sedative and vasoconstrictor.
Catnip helps tension headaches. Anodyne, antispasmodic,
carminative, nervine, refrigerant and sedative.
Cayenne contains capsaicin, which relieves cluster headaches when
applied topically in ointment form inside the nose. Blocks small pain
fibers thus depleting them of neurotransmitters. Stimulates
endorphins and facilitates even blood flow. Anti-inflammatory.
Chamomile helps headaches, migraines and caffeine withdrawal.
Analgesic, anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, carminative,
nervine and sedative.
Chrysanthemum clears heat and reduces inflammation, For liver
related headaches and dizziness. Alterative and antispasmodic.
Clematis is vasoconstricting on the brain lining, For migraine and
cluster headaches. Analgesic and antispasmodic.
Coffee constricts blood vessels. Can also cause headaches, but is
helpful if used on occasion at onset of a headache. Cerebral stimulant.
Elder flower is for tension and congestion related headaches. Anti-
inflammatory, antispasmodic, carminative and decongestant.
Feverfew inhibits prostaglandin biosynthesis and blood platelet
aggregation. Tonifies blood vessels. Stops the blood platelets from releasing too much serotonin. Feverfew helps prevent and
treat migraines by inhibiting serotonin and histamine release which
can dilate blood vessels. Feverfew has anti-inflammatory properties
and helps to tone the blood vessels. A study done at King's College
Hospital in London found that 70% of those that used feverfew had
reduction in frequency and intensity of headaches. One third of had
no headaches. The feverfew was administered by eating feverfew
leaves on bread and butter sandwiches, although tea, capsule or
extracts also are helpful. Feverfew works best as a preventative
taken on a daily basis rather than when headache is already in
progress. Anti inflammatory, antispasmodic, nervine and vasodilator.
Ginger inhibits biochemical pathways associated with inflammation
and prevents blood platelet aggregation. Analgesic, anti-
inflammatory, anticoagulant, antispasmodic, carminative.
Ginkgo increases oxygen utilization and blood flow to the brain.
Helps prevent blood platelet aggregation. Anti-inflammatory,
astringent, cerebral tonic, circulatory stimulant, sedative and
Hawthorn improves oxygen levels to the brain. Dilates coronary
blood vessels, but relaxes peripheral blood vessels. Astringent,
carminative and vasodilator.
Hops helps tension headaches. Anodyne, antispasmodic, astringent,
hypnotic, muscle relaxant, nervine, sedative and soporific.
Kava kava is calming and relaxing. Can helps people shut out
excessive "mental chatter." Antispasmodic and sedative.
Lavender is a nerve restorative that relieves pain. Analgesic,
antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, nervine and sedative.
Meadowsweet contains salicin and is the source from which
Aspirin was first synthesized. Milder than aspirin and naturally
buffered. For headaches accompanied by digestive disorders.
Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, astringent and sedative.
Peppermint helps migraines and headaches. Analgesic, anodyne,
anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, nervine
and mild vasodilator.
Periwinkle increases cerebral blood and oxygen flow. Astringent,
cerebral vasodilator and sedative. Not for people with low blood
Rosemary eases anxiety. For headaches and migraines. Anodyne,
anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative,
cholagogue, circulatory stimulant, decongestant, smooth muscle
relaxant and nervine.
Scullcap stimulates endorphin production. Relieves heat and
tension headaches. Alterative, anodyne, anti-inflammatory,
antispasmodic, cerebral tonic, nervine, sedative and spinal tonic.
Valerian lessens nerve excitability. Smooth muscle and skeletal
relaxant. Anodyne, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, hypnotic,
nervine and sedative.
White Willow inhibits prostaglandin production and thereby
reduces inflammation. Contains salicin, a forerunner of aspirin.
Alterative, analgesic, anodyne, anti-inflammatory, astringent and
Wild Yam is a muscle and nervous system relaxant. Moves
congested chi. Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and cholagogue.
Wood betony was once used as a smoke and snuff to remedy
headaches. Alterative, analgesic, antispasmodic, astringent,
bitter tonic, cerebral tonic, circulatory stimulant, liver tonic, nervine
Some patent formulas to consider include Lung Tan Xie Gan Pill for headaches due to liver and gallbladder congestion. Headaches with stiffness and sore muscles in the lower back may be helped by Xiao Huo Luo Dan.
Magnesium relaxes muscles and can help migraine and tension type headaches. B Complex and Vitamin B2 supplementation has also been found helpful. Essential fatty acids such as found in fish, flax and hemp seed oil can help by reducing the inflammation associated with headaches. . Some have found relief from using the amino acids DLPA, L-Glutamine and GABA. 5HTP is a precursor to serotonin and those with low levels of this brain chemical are more susceptible to pain.
Homeopathic remedies for headaches include the following:
Aconitum napellus: Skull feels constricted. Comes on suddenly and violently. Often occurs from feelings of anxiety and apprehension. Argentum nitricum : For emotionally caused headaches. Pain is worse in the left front and may be described as "boring." Skull may feel as if separating or head may feel huge. Bandaging the head tightly seems to help. Vomiting bile or sour substances may occur.
Belladonna: For throbbing blood congested right sided headaches. There may be a red face and pounding pulse. Noise and light aggravate. More likely to occur prior to menses, in afternoon or evening. Lying in bed in a dark room feels best.
Byronia: Violent sudden headache, either side. Pain often above the forehead on left side and described as splitting or bursting. Steady ache. Aggravated by motion and bending over. Irritable and wants to be left alone, still with cold drinks. Lips and mouth are dry. Firm pressure and lying on painful part of head brings some relief.
Chamomilla Bursting, severe pain. Oversensitive to pain, Nothing pleases. Worse from warmth.
Coffea cruda : Headaches in restless, hyperactive type people. May have insomnia. Very sensitive to noise, touch and smell. May feel as if nail has been driven into head.
Gelsenium : Often begins at the back of the head, feels like a band around the head. Person may feel weak, dizzy and barely be able to open their eyes. For the person who feels relief after urinating.
Ignatia : For headaches occurring after emotional experiences such as disappointment in love, embarrassment or sadness. They may sigh often, get lumps in their throat and have a hard time swallowing.
Iris versicolor : Migraines preceded by visual aura. Pain along dental nerves, often along right side, below eye or in temple. May have watery sour vomit. Worse in the evening. Motion in moderation improves. May reoccur in a pattern.
Kali bichromicum : Migraine accompanied by sticky yellowish vomit. Pain is concentrated on right side, under eye.
Kali phosphoricum : Headaches that occur in nervous people dealing with stress and mental strain. Often a remedy for intellectuals and students.
Lac caninum : Migraine made worse by noise or vibration. Headache may begin on a different side or extend from base of skull to one eye.
Lac defloratum : Migraine where pain starts in forehead and extends to back of head. May occur with constipation.
Lachesis : Left sided headaches. Pain is worse in morning upon arising and before menses, affecting root of nose. Made worse by sun and warmth. Better from open air and pressure.
Melilotus : For frontal headaches that are intense. Hot flushed face in the beginning. Worse in morning. Reoccurs every few days. Nosebleed or menstrual onset brings relief.
Natrum muriaticum : Menstrual headaches and migraines. May start in morning and worsen in evening. Better from sleep or lying with eyes closed. Hammering headache preceded by visions that look misty or zigzagging lights and may feel like knocking on the brain with pain over eyes. Headache may be brought on by grief, loss or disappointment. Cold wet cloth while lying in a dark room may bring relief.
Nux vomica : Often occurs in back of eyes as if a nail had been driven in. For type "A" personalities. Overall sick feeling. Headache due to overindulgence in food, drugs or drink. Chilly, sensitive to drafts, aromas and light. For irritable people that suffer from insomnia. Often called the "hangover remedy."
Pulsatilla: Chills, scanty menses, throbbing or stitching pains on one side. May come on after a fatty meal or from stress or overwork.
Nausea and vomiting may occur. Cold helps. Worse in evenings.
Ruta graveolens : For headaches resulting from eye strain.
Sanguinaria : Migraine . Intense pain, vomiting bile. For women with excessive menses. Headaches come on in morning and worsen as day progresses. May reoccur in pattern, like every week. Right sided headaches that begin in the back of the head. Can occur from sun exposure. May feel better after vomiting.
Sepia : Throbbing pain over one eye. Pain feels as if shooting upward or outward. Hot flashes, nausea and stiff neck. Noise, light and motion make it worse.
Silicea : Head feels engorged. Hair is sensitive. Pain runs up the neck or may be one side of top of head, forehead or occiput. Stress, motion, sound, light and bending make it worse. Heat and lying in the dark improve.
Spigelia : Headaches over left eye and frontal region, from exposure to cold. Sometimes described as if hot poker is in or above left eye. Relieved by cold compresses, steady pressure and lying on left side with head erect.
When dealing with a headache, lie down, do deep slow breathing and practice tensing then relaxing each part of your body. Some people find that if they can have a bowel movement at the onset of a headache, the headache will diminish.
The acupuncture point hoku can be stimulated with the fingers to give headache relief. It is located in the fleshy mound in the hand just above where the thumb and forefinger bones come together.
A Chinese folk remedy for headache is called Li-Shou. It is done by standing with your feet apart 20 inches or so. Rub the hands together to warm them and gently stroke the face 30 times from the forehead to chin in the same direction. While doing this, partially close eyes and look down at the toes. The extend arms in front at waist level with fingers touching and swing them back and forth 100 times. This helps to divert blood from the head to the hands as well as stimulate endorphin production.
A simple folk remedy is to sit with the feet in hot water Add one teaspoon of ginger or mustard powder to a gallon). While doing this apply a cold compress to the back of the neck at the base of the skull for five minutes.
Another hydrotherapy technique is to sit on a waterproof stool in the shower with legs apart, bending forward with hands clasped in back of the neck. Allow the elbows to fall between the knees so the upper back muscles get stretched. Have a spray of warm/hot water aimed towards the back of the head for five minutes. Turn off the water. Dry off. Soak a face towel in very cold water. Apply it to the same area you were spraying with hot water. Leave in place for half a minute. Another folk remedy is to dunk both hands into hot water (within reason) for one minute. Try making a compress of tea of lavender, peppermint or rosemary. Soak a cloth in the hot tea and apply to the forehead and back of neck. Chilling the tea and making a cold application may feel even better. You be the judge of which temperature would feel better.
Unwind in an aromatherapy bath of lavender, peppermint or rosemary. An aromatherapy headache pillow can be made by stuffing a sachet full of aromatic headache herbs like peppermint, rosemary and lavender. Take it to bed with you. Breathe deep the comforting aromas.
An Irish folk remedy for headaches is to loosely tie a bandanna around the head and then slip some slices of raw sliced potato between the head and scarf. Place the potatoes strategically where the pain is throbbing, over temples or over eyes. Lie down in a quiet room. After an hour the potato slices should be very warm and the headache relieved.
One teaspoon gomasio, simply eaten is a helpful remedy from Japan. A teaspoon of umeboshi plum paste stirred into a cup of hot water and slowly sipped is one of my favorite headache remedies.
Electro-magnetic pollution can be a factor in headaches. Do you live near major power lines? Is your bed near an excessive amount of clocks, TV, stereo equipment and computer ware? Do what you can to minimize any of these factors, such as moving the bed or electric paraphernalia.
Visualize breathing in the colors violet, blue or green which are cooling to inflammation. Remember to verbalize your feelings.
Cluster headaches are considered vascular and sometimes referred to as "histamine reaction headaches." These are intensely painful, localized, often beginning in the evening and sometimes awakening one from sleep. Adult men are most affected. Severe pain can last 30 to 90 minutes or up to several hours. They occur as a group that can last for a few days to months and may not reoccur for several months or even years. Some people experience them more in the spring and fall which leads some health professionals to feel they may be allergy or hormonally related. If related to allergies, panothenic acid supplementation may help. Also do your best to avoid any allergens. Cluster headache sufferers can be heavily goal oriented. Think calm thoughts.
Migraines are also considered a vascular condition. Often preceded by auras where objects appear surrounded in light. Strange smells, numbness and difficulty with speech may also occur. Blood vessels can constrict then over dilate, which causes the pain. The pain can be general or local, but is usually on one side in the frontal or temporal region. Migraines may also manifest as numbness, tingling, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The pain may shift from one side to the other. Attacks may last less than a day, up to three days and in some cases weeks.
Migraines may occur cyclically or from a particular food. Menstrual cycles and birth control pills may be a factor.
Food allergy is common with migraine sufferers. Dairy products, eggs, wheat and food additives, such as MSG, aspartame and nitrates may all be culprits. A sensitivity to the amino acid tyramine commonly triggers migraines. Chocolate contains phenylethalamine which has a similar effect. Yeasted breads, gluten rich foods, citrus fruits and processed meats can also bring on migraines. It may be helpful to eliminate all of these foods for several weeks and add them back one at a time to see if any bring on a reaction. Yeast overgrowth can also be a contributing factor. Bed rest may be needed if the migraine is severe.
Throbbing in the eye area (caused by vasoconstriction) initially can be opened by a vasodilating 100 mg. of niacin. Don't be afraid of the ten minute hot prickly rash . It will not last and it will not harm you.
If you're in the kitchen, you could try inhaling deeply from a jar of mustard.
Migraine sufferers need to feel in control of their situations. Those with migraines are likely to be ambitious, eager to please and sensitive to criticism. Those that suffer frequent migraines may have experienced sexual abuse. Interestingly enough migraine sometimes are known to have long lives. Perhaps due to enforced rest?
If one feels worse when bending , it may be a sinus headache. Minimize dairy products, flour and sugar all of which can contribute to mucous congestion. Try sniffing some horseradish or mustard from a jar. An herbal steam inhalation of peppermint or lavender can be sinus opening. Dilute some chlorophyll and put one drop in each nostril.
Stress , poor posture, lack of sleep can all contribute to tension headaches. Tension headaches are more likely to occur as one's day becomes increasingly stressful. Neck pain often goes along with tension headaches. The pain may be on one or both sides.
Consider getting body alignments if you can't put help yourself with yoga. Exercises that can relieve headaches are pranayama, meditation and neck rolls are all excellent. Avoid excessive forward bends and backbends.
Sometimes headaches require medical attention. See your health practitioner if the headache is 1) caused by a blow to the head 2) coughing, sneezing or vomiting worsens the headache 3) Headache is accompanied by fever, memory loss, double vision, speech and hearing difficulties 4) Sexual, bladder or menstrual problems accompany headaches 5) Headache appears suddenly, patient is elderly, arteries on the side of the head are engorged 6) Sweating and fever accompany the headache. 7) If a headache begins after taking some kind of medicine.
Rather than simply blocking out the pain of a headache, it is important to determine the cause and change it.