Managing Your Headaches
“Headaches are characterised by a feeling of tenseness in the neck, shoulder and scalp whereas migraines are basically pulsating headaches, often on one side of the head. Symptoms actually vary from person to person, and even from one migraine attack to the next,” says Dr. Supriya Bali, Internal Medicine, Max Hospitals.
It is essential that you avoid headache-inducing substances like MSG (monosodium glutamate), excessive caffeine, alcohol, phenylethylamine found in chocolate and cheese, tyramine found in nuts and fermented meats and soy, and aspartame present in many artificially sweetened foods. If you start getting a headache, steer clear of all devices including your phone, laptop and TV. Eat healthy, and at regular intervals since a drop in blood sugar can set the stage for headaches. At least thrice a week, if not more, spend 30 minutes exercising. And always, we mean always, stay hydrated.
1. Ginger, The All-Rounder
Touted as an elixir for headaches, ginger is a home remedy for instant relief. It helps reduce inflammation of the blood vessels in the head, hence easing the pain. And since it stimulates digestion, it also helps quell the nausea which occurs during migraines.
Wondering how to use this miracle ingredient? Steep ginger root for tea, or mix equal parts of ginger juice and lemon juice and drink up. You can consume this once or twice a day. You can also apply a paste of ginger powder and 2 tablespoons water on your forehead for a few minutes to provide quicker relief.
2. Soothe with Scent
Peppermint Oil: With its refreshing scent, peppermint helps open up clogged blood vessels which cause headache. It contains menthol which helps regulate blood flow in the body. Quietly breathe in the aroma in a cool, dark room. You can also mix 3 drops of peppermint oil in one tablespoon of almond oil, or just add a little water and massage the temples or the back of your neck with it. Alternatively, can apply crushed peppermint leaves on your forehead. Make an herbal tea by adding 1 teaspoon of dried peppermint to a cup of boiling water. Cover and let it steep for 10 minutes. Strain and add some honey to sweeten it. Sip the tea slowly.
Lavender Oil: Not only does lavender have a beautiful fragrance – it’s also a great remedy for alleviating headaches. Simply smelling the soothing scent of lavender essential oil helps, so you can just put a few drops on a tissue and inhale it. You can also add 2 drops of lavender oil to two cups of boiling water and inhale the steam. Another option is to mix two or three drops in one tablespoon of almond oil or olive oil and massage your forehead with it. “You can even draw a foot bath of lavender oil and peppermint, since the hot water draws blood to your feet and the aroma relaxes you”, suggests Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja, Healing Touch Hospital.
Note: Do not take lavender oil orally.
3. Cinnamon Please!
Cinnamon is a miracle spice that can effectively treat headaches. Wondering how to use it? Here’s help: Grind some cinnamon sticks into a powder, and add some water to make a thick paste. Apply it on your forehead and temples and lie down for 30 minutes. Then wash it off with lukewarm water.