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Headache & Migraines

Headaches are one of the more complicated symptoms to diagnose, there are no pain receptors in the brain tissue itself, so headache pain is usually related to structures and organs of the head, such as the scalp muscles, eyes, sinuses and the protective layers covering the brain (the meninges) for example. A sudden headache, unlike anything experienced by the patient before, is a red flag, and should prompt immediate medical attention. It is important to take into consideration other symptoms, such as a rash, inability to tolerate light or pain on movement so that the possibility of a dangerous meningitis infection can be ruled out. Any pathology involving the brain, or in close proximity to the fragile structures on the head should always be investigated by a doctor.

However, if you suffer from chronic headache and have consulted your doctor to make sure there is nothing serious going on, then there are many ways that supplements and herbs might be able to help.

Migraine

A migraine is a severe headache with associated symptoms that can include nausea, photophobia (cannot stand light) or phonophobia (cannot stand sound). It occurs chronically, some sufferers can link it to stress, eating certain foods or to the menstrual cycle. There is still no definitive explanation for the mechanisms causing migraine in the body, but the most likely explanation is a fluctuation in serotonin levels, which causes blood supply to the brain to be interrupted and then restored by constriction and dilation of blood vessels. The pain accompanies the return of blood flow.

Nature’s answer to Migraine

The first course of action is to keep a diary in the hope of discovering the migraine trigger and then avoiding it. If it is something in the diet, then experimenting with excluding various food groups and noting the frequency of attacks can be helpful. Feverfew is a herb that has been found in scientific studies to be helpful in reducing frequency or severity of migraine attacks in some cases. It takes a couple of weeks of regular use to build up and works prophylactically (helps to prevent attacks) rather than being able to help once an attack is underway.

Nature's answer to tension headaches

Lavender essential oil is soothing and gently anti-inflammatory. Massaged into the temples this can relieve stress and relax the muscles of the temples and scalp.