This week has been a bad week for my headaches. Maybe because of pollen allergens, maybe because I’ve not been so good with excluding the foods I’m intolerant to and perhaps because of the heavy atmosphere before last night’s storms. Pain killers don’t always have much of an impact on my headaches so I’ve had to seek out other strategies to help get them under control. There are many different types of headaches and different strategies are more effective with different types, however it’s not always possible to identify what might be causing my headache and when that’s the case I just aim to throw everything at it.
- Hydration and detox: I always think it’s a good idea to drink a lot of water when I have a headache. Perhaps dehydration can play a role in them so I aim to keep myself well hydrated. I’m also aiming to flush out any toxins that might be involved. Some of my headaches in the past have seemed to be related to my food intolerances and I also found that a milk thistle supplement seemed to minimize the occurrence of those, presumably by helping my liver to detox. (Incidentally I haven’t been taking it for a few weeks which could also be another contributor to me having so many of them this week!)
- Movement: Movement can play a role in tackling both a toxin headache and a tension headache. Our lymphatic system plays a major role in detoxification, and as a circulatory system without a pump, it needs both good hydration and muscular skeletal movement in order to function properly. Sometimes when we’re in pain the last thing we feel like doing is moving, but a little gentle movement can actually pay dividends. Also when we are in pain we can find ourselves getting into ‘self-protective’ postures which can result in extra tension and actually add to our pain. Shaking ourselves out and paying attention to where we might be holding tension in our bodies gives us a tool for identifying where to focus the next couple of strategies.
- Relaxation: General relaxation isn’t particularly easy when you’re in pain but I find it useful to try and focus my relaxation attempts on the specific sites in my body where I notice pain and tension the most. This might involve some gentle stretches or some deep breathing sending my breath to the site of the pain and tension. One technique I use is to imagine the area inflating as I breathe into it and then letting go as I breathe out.
- Light visualisation: Another technique is to imagine the area filing with a warm, soothing light, filling the area with a quality of spaciousness, freedom and ease. See this post on light visualisation and my 2 posts on self-healing meditations: one & two
- Essential oils: Once I’ve done all of the above to the best of my ability I like to burn essential oils as a more passive route to headache relief. I find lavender tends to be good for any kind of headache. I use peppermint and lemon if I suspect a toxic aspect to the headache or marjoram if any congestion is suspected. Lemongrass is wonderful if mental overstimulation has played a part and grapefruit is great if I’ve been nervous or anxious.
Do you have any other strategies for dealing with a headache? Care to share?
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