From Dr. Mercola:
Nearly half of the world’s population suffers from headaches each year, making it the most common “disorder” of the nervous system.1 Only about half of those affected seek medical attention, even though they may take a heavy toll on your ability to work, socialize and be productive each day.
In the U.K., for instance, an estimated 25 million work or school days are lost each year due to migraine headaches alone. Even in the U.S., most of those suffering from migraines were dependent on over-the-counter medications for relief.
There are other options, however, not only for treatment but also for helping to avoid headaches in the first place.
What Are the Most Common Types of Headaches?
Tension-type headaches (TTH) are the most common primary headache disorder, affecting up to 70 percent of some populations. An estimated 3 percent of adults suffer from chronic tension headaches, which often begin in the teenage years and affect women more often than men.2
Tension headaches are often the result of stress or musculoskeletal problems (such as poor posture), and cause pressure that may feel like a tight band around your head. Most cases resolve on their own in a few hours, but for chronic cases the pain can be disabling. Other types of headaches include:3
Migraine, which are triggered in your brain, and cause the release of pain-producing inflammatory substances around nerves and blood vessels in your head Cluster, which describes brief but extremely severe headaches that occur frequently (with pain typically around your eye) Medication-overuse headache, which is caused, ironically, by chronic use of headache medication Drug-Free Approaches to Relieving Headache Pain
Are you searching for a drug-free way to relieve your headaches? Something that’s effective but doesn’t pose the serious risk of side effects that virtually every pain medication – from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to opioids – does? Try the options that follow:4
A quick workout may be able to stop your headache from progressing, possibly because it triggers the release of pain-reducing neurotransmitters.5
Choose a low-impact activity, like riding a stationary bike, to avoid adding further stress to your pounding head. Regular workouts are also recommended. According to the American Headache Society:6
“Regular exercise can reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches and migraines. When one exercises, the body releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers.
Exercise reduces stress and helps individuals to sleep at night. Stress and inadequate sleep are two migraine triggers.”
Gently massaging your temples, neck, and scalp may help you relieve a tension headache. Court-type traditional Thai massage, which includes five massage points on your face and head, has even been found to relieve chronic tension-type headache pain as well as or better than the drug amitriptyline.7
3. Herbal Remedies
People around the world have used many herbs traditionally to treat headaches.8 For instance, a combination of feverfew and ginger helped to relieve migraine pain according to research published in the journal Headache.9