How to get rid of headache fast is the only thing that comes to mind, when your head starts pounding with pain. Migraine is the second most common reason of headache. It causes debilitating pain and significantly affects the quality of life.
The splitting headaches experienced in migraine affect the productivity of an individual as a whole. According to the International Headache Society, 1 in 10 persons suffer from severe headache as migraine.
Headaches are more common in women, who are three times sensitive for headaches than men.
Now, whether you are wondering why you have headache? Or you are looking for natural remedies to get rid of headache instantly or permanently, you will find your answers here.
We will look into the root cause of headaches and migraines from Ayurvedic perspective. And we will also tell you about natural remedies that you can do at home for fast relief. Let’s get started!
What is a Migraine Headache?
A migraine headache is a chronic neurological disorder. Migraines are severe and high intensity headaches. They often cause debility, meaning a person is not able to carry out their daily tasks.
- Migraine headache results from the release of some chemicals around the blood vessels in the head.
- These chemicals cause the blood volume inside these blood vessels to rise.
- This further increases the size of the blood vessels.
- As a result, there is a squeezing and pounding effect in the brain, resulting in pain.
Migraines affect the nerves of head and neck, blood vessels, and other facial muscles.
It is usually more common in the age group between 15 to 50 years old. If not addressed in early stages, migraine headaches can become chronic and lead to complexities.
That’s why it is not only important to get rid of headache, but also to stop it from progressing in the long term.
How do I know whether I have Migraine, Tension Headache or Sinus Headache?
Migraines come in the form of episodic headache attacks. These attacks range in frequency from every few days to once or twice in a year.
Migraine attacks usually start with a trigger. They may come in slowly and then increase in intensity.
One single episode of attack may range in duration between 4 hours and 72 hours.
The symptoms of Migraine may also vary depending on the stage of the attack. That’s why every person experiences different intensity and type of symptoms.
STAGE I: Prodrome
Prodrome is the first stage of the migraine. It begins hours or days before migraine attack. In this stage, the patient feels:
- Sensitivity to light, sound or smell;
- Severe pain;
- Lack of appetite;
- Nausea and vomiting.
STAGE II: Aura
This is the second stage of the migraine attack. They start gradually and can last between five minutes and an hour. The symptoms that show up in this stage involve the nervous system, particularly the network for vision. The patient could experience the following:
- Seeing black dots, wavy lines, light flashes or hallucinations;
- Loss of sight;
- Numbness on one side of the body that goes away with the start of the full-blown advanced stage of the attack.
- Slurred speech;
- Ringing in the ears;
- Decline in smell, taste or touch senses.
STAGE III: Attack
The actual migraine attack can last, as earlier said, 4 hours to 72 hours (3 days). It starts as a dull throbbing pain that worsens with physical activity. It may bring with it:
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Feeling clammy;
- Paleness and faintness;
- Pain in the head that may move from one side to the other or feel like the entire head is hurting badly.
STAGE IV: Postdrome
Here, the attack is winding up. It can continue for a day after he attack stage. The patient feels:
- Tired or extremely fatigued;
- Unusually refreshed or happy;
- Muscle pain or weakness;
- Food cravings or lack of appetite.
Regular occurrence of headaches indicates health issues in the body that need to be taken care of. It has been observed that 19% of people, who suffered from a heart stroke also struggled with migraines.
Causes and Triggers of Migraine and Headaches
Migraine attacks are set off by triggers, and these triggers are widely variable. As a result, it is not always possible to avoid them. Some of these triggers include:
- Poor dietary habits can trigger migraine. For example, holding off to hunger for very long or skipping meals.
- Certain food chemicals such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and artificial food coloring can trigger an attack.
- Taking alcohol, excess caffeine, aged cheese and food allergens are all risk factors.
- Change in sleep pattern or sleep deprivation can also cause migraine attacks.
- Medications can lead to attacks too. For example, a woman who is at the end of a birth control pill cycle is at risk.
- Hormonal changes during Menopause and menstrual cycle.
- Hormonal Imbalances and health disorders related to PCOS and Endometriosis, which often accompany Premenstrual syndrome
- Changes in weather or season
- Excessive exposure to bright or flickering light like TV screen
- Exposure to dust and pollen, which often blocks the sinuses. This leads to sinus headaches.
Get Rid of Headache and Migraines with Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that really goes deep into the cause of health problems. Ayurveda does not consider headache a disease.
Migraines are actually a symptom of health disorders or imbalances in the body. And headache is a signal that something is not right inside. It is an indication for you to act on it now!
That’s why, it is important for you understand the real reason of your headaches. Hence, you can make appropriate changes in your diet and lifestyle to get rid of headache for good.
Ayurveda describes 11 types of headaches “shiroroga”. Migraines are classified as “Ardhavabhedaka”, which arises from imbalances in any or all three Dosha: Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha.
In our current lifestyle, Doshas often get aggravated due to extremely busy lifestyle, stressful working environment, irregular diet and overuse of medication.
Each dosha imbalance leads to specific types of symptoms. These can be the contributing factors into what we experience as tension headache, migraine or sinus headache.
Vata Headache | Tension Headache
A headache triggered by Vata dosha imbalance often leads to symptoms of tension headache.
Some of the triggers of vata headache are tension in neck and shoulders, mental and emotional stress, poor sleep, digestive problems such as gas and constipation and unresolved fear or anxiety.
In Vata headache you may experience:
- Throbbing and pulsating pain
- Sometime dull and other times sharp pain
- Sensation of tightness around your head
Pitta Headache | Migraine
A headache triggered by Pitta dosha imbalance often leads to symptoms of migraine.
Some of the triggers of pitta headache are stress, bright light, hot temperature, intake of sour and spicy foods, and presence of digestive issues related to hyperacidity.
In pitta headache you may experience:
- Pitta headache starts in the temples and spreads to the central part of your head
- Shooting, burning and piercing pain
- extreme sensitivity of light and noise
Kapha Headache | Sinus Headache
A headache triggered by kapha dosha imbalance often leads to symptoms of sinus headache.
Some of the triggers of kapha headache are change in season (during winter an spring), changes in weather (high humidity), pollen or dust allergy, and or consumption of ice cold foods and beverages (ice creams).
In kapha headache you may experience:
- Cough or runny nose
- headache worsens off when you lie down or bend over
- heaviness and dull feeling in the head
- puffiness on the face
Ayurvedic Treatment to Get Rid of Headache
Ayurvedic treatment for migraines are intended to cleanse and detoxify the body. At the same time, right diet and lifestyle are suggested to remove the root causes of migraines. This helps to get rid of headache in the long term.
- Panchakarma is a full body detox. It is termed as Shodhana therapy or deep cleansing to remove body excess and dosha imbalances. Panchakarma involves multiple therapies that are conducted on different parts of the body to find permanent relief from headaches.
- Nasya karma, which is pouring medicated oil in both the nostrils
- Abhyanga or massage with medicated oil
- Sweating therapy
- Vamana, which involves expelling the toxins and waste materials by induced vomiting
- Virechana is conducted by purgation with medicated oil or formulations. It is also meant to cleanse and detoxify the body.
- Shamana therapy helps in alleviating the problem with use of herbs and changes in diet and lifestyle. Here real focus is to find relief from headache with natural remedies.
Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Headache and Migraines
1. Regular Head Massage
Oil massage of the head including neck, shoulders, scalp and face is a traditional remedy in India to get rid of headache.
Regular head massage promotes circulation and relieves tension from the nerves, vessels and muscles in the head region. It increases the supply of oxygen and glucose to your brain. Medicated oils and aromatic oils also help to calm the nervous system too.
2. Eat Right to Get Rid of Headache
Now lets look into foods and dietary habits for migraine relief.
- Take warm and unctuous foods such as porridges, curries, gruels, and soups.
- Remove chilli and sugar from the diet. Both of these cause excessive stimulation and often trigger Migraine headaches.
- Remove cold temperature foods and drinks.
- Limit or stop raw foods such as salads.
- Stay hydrated with natural beverages such as warm water, lemon water, coconut water or herbal teas.
- Prefer smaller meals during the day and do not hold hunger. Always take timely meals at fixed time everyday.
- Include spices and herbs to maintain healthy digestive fire and to get the micro nutrients.
- Prefer Magnesium rich foods such as banana, sesame seeds, figs, raisins, whole grains, beans and lentils.
- Sip on ginger tea.
- Drink warm milk, prepared by boiling dry ginger, nutmeg and cardamom.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they are drying in nature and create fertile ground for dosha imbalance.
3. Lifestyle Changes you Need to Make for Permanent Cure of Migraines
Ayurvedic treatment for migraines starts with diet and lifestyle changes. It focuses on maintaing regular homeostasis by balancing the dosha and flow of energy in the body.
Here are primary lifestyle practices that you should follow to get rid of headache in short term and long term:
- Sleep of 8-9 hours is required. Do not hold on to sleep and do not reduce sleeping hours.
- Avoid sudden or excessive changes in lifestyle involving meal composition, timings of meals, and way of ingestion.
- Limit your exposure to extreme climatic conditions such as very cold and hot temperatures.
- Do not Multi-task. Avoid involvement in multiple activities at the same time
- Avoid irregular schedule with untimely meals, erratic sleep and wake cycles.
- Do not suppress natural urges such as urination, defecation, sneezing, belching and flatulence.
- Improve your sleep habits. Staying up late at night and insufficient sleep poorly affect our Circadian Rhythms. It often triggers headaches and migraines.
- Avoid overexertion of the body through physical work or exercise.
- Limit your exposure to screen for long time.
- Avoid loud noise, excess smells and stimulation of senses.
4. Breathing Exercises and Pranayama
Tension headaches due to muscle contraction can be alleviated with deep breathing and pranayama. Regular practice of pranayama helps to prevent chronic headaches. It reduces the severity of existing micgraine problems.
Always make sure to find a quiet place when you carry out breathing exercises. Here are breathing techniques that are effective to get rid of headache in the long term:
- Anuloma Viloma or alternate nostril breathing. It is highly effective for tension headaches that originate from Vata imbalances.
- Kapalbhati pranayama or head shining breath. It helps to relieve the sinus headache as it promotes circulation and expulsion of toxins that causes excess mucus.
- Brahmari Pranayama or Humming Bee Breath. It balances the movement of air in and out of the body. By creating a rhythm around breathing, brahmari pranayama really pushes much needed oxygen in the body parts. It helps to animate and energise the body cells.
- Shitali Pranayama is highly effective for migraines that arise from pitta imbalance. It cools down the body, relieve excess blood pressure, and calms down the mind. Regular practice of shitali also brings down emotional overload that causes anger, irritation and stress.
5. Practice Yoga and Regular Physical Activity (Relaxing)
Yoga asana are designed to put pressure on the glandular systems of the body in a systematic way. Regular practice of yoga strengthens the spinal cord, raises our energy levels and activates the whole nervous system.
Some of the Yoga poses to get rid of the headache include:
- Bhujanga asana
- Pawan muktasana
- Jalandhar bandha
- Inverted postures increase oxygen to the brain and can also reduce headache
6. Neck and Shoulder Exercise
Neck exercises play a vital role in curing tension headache. It helps to relieve the stress in the muscles that often builds up due to long sitting hours.
Regular exercises of the neck and shoulders also strengthens the muscles of the region. It helps to prevent degeneration and pain, which often accompanies migraines.
Neck exercise is even more important for those, who sit in front of the screen through out the day.
7. Herbs that help with Migraine relief
- Betel: Betel leaves have analgesic and cooling properties. They are highly effective for Pitta headache and migraines.
- Clove: The aroma of clove helps to relieve headache and nausea. Application of clove oil or sucking of clove juice (put it on your tongue and suck the juice) helps to soothe and relax the nerves.
- Garlic: Garlic is highly effective in relieving all types of headaches. Garlic juice slowly permeates the head region and acts as a painkiller.
- Ginger: Ginger has painkilling properties. It is used as an external application on the affected head region. You can also sip on ginger tea or boil it in milk for instant relief from migraine headache.
8. Other Measures that you can take to get rid of headache
To be free of migraines, here are some additional measures that you can take:
- Rest with eyes close in a dark quiet room. Avoid the potential triggers of bright light and noise.
- Take steam with essential oils such as eucalyptus oil or peppermint oil. This is specifically effective for sinus headache.
- Apply clay pack or massage of effected areas with coconut oil. This is applicable for pitta headache or migraine.
- Nasya or insertion of medicated oil in the nostril.
- Use neti pot or nasal diffuser to relieve blocked nose and sinuses.
Conventional Treatments to Get Rid of Headache
Modern means of treating migraines include:
- The use of pain reliving drugs like acetaminophen and ibuprofein, which is a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID). Unfortunately, they may result in side effects like bleeding of the gastrointestinal tract and recurring headaches.
- Anti-nausea medications to tackle to nausea and vomiting syndromes that present along with Migraines.
- Antidepressants, which often have multitude of side effects on overall health.
- Cardiovascular drugs are also used. If not carefully taken however, they can cause drowsiness, light-headedness, and vertigo.
- Therapies including psychological or behavioral treatment
- Massage therapies
As noted above, modern medicine treatments are often patch work to hide the symptom of headache. They may actually worsen your health in the long term.
You should always work backwards to first find the real cause and then address your condition to get rid of headache in the long term.
If you notice the onset of a migraine attack, immediately take steps to prevent a full blown war. The suggestions given above can be helpful.
Now, we would like to hear from you. Do share with us about your experiences and queries on natural solutions to to get rid of headache. If you have tried any of the above remedies, do let us know what worked. Wishing you vibrant heath!
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- Complete Cure of Migraine through Ayurved
- AYURVEDAPERSPECTIVE ON MIGRAINE, ITS MANAGEMENT AND ROLE OF NIRGUNDI IN MIGRAINE
- Response to Ayurvedic therapy in the treatment of migraine without aura