HEADACHE AND MIGRAINE: differences, causes, and natural remedies to feel better
Updated: Sep 24
Nowadays more and more people experience headaches and migraines on a regular base and this has an impact on the quality of their life. The excruciating pain and pulsing can be debilitating and preventing us from work or function normally when episodes occur.
There are many nutritional causes of headaches and migraines, including blood sugar dips, dehydration, food allergies, caffeine sensitivity, and lack of vitamin B besides cervical vertebrae in the neck being out of alignment.
But what is the difference between Migraines and Headaches?
Headaches are unpleasant pains in your head that can cause pressure and ache. The pain can range from mild to severe, and usually occur on both sides of your head. Some specific areas where headaches can occur include the forehead, temples, and back of the neck. A headache can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a week. It can be triggered by stress, muscle strain, and anxiety.
Migraine is intense or severe and often has other symptoms in addition to head pain. Symptoms associated with a migraine headache include:
pain behind one eye or ear
pain in the temples
seeing spots or flashing lights
sensitivity to light and/or sound
temporary vision loss
The migraine will typically affect only one side of the head. However, it is possible to have a migraine that affects both sides of the head. Other differences include the pain’s quality: a migraine will cause intense pain that may be throbbing and will make performing daily tasks very difficult.
People who experience migraines report various factors that are associated with them. These are called migraine triggers and may include:
Many women complain of headaches and migraines during the menstrual cycle.
Hormonal headache is due mainly because of an estrogen imbalance (either estrogen excess or premenstrual deficiency)
Excess estrogen is more common in those eating larger amounts of meat and dairy, those who are overweight since fat cells make estrogens.
Too much estrogen suppresses the activity of the enzyme which breaks down amine such as serotonin and adrenalin and having too many amines in our blood can lead to migraines.
Estrogens are usually very high at the middle of the cycle and some women experience migraines especially at this time of the month.
Lowering intake of food high in amine before and after these days can help in relieving the symptoms.
But which is the food with high amine content?
Beers and wines
Cultured dairy products (like yogurt)
Yeast extracts, soy sauce, fermented foods such as vinegar. Miso and soya
How can we find relief when and if symptoms occur?
Many people opt for medication when they have headaches or migraines, but there are also natural remedies. Let’s see what they are:
Peppermint Oil and its active ingredient, menthol, are available in liquid capsule form. Tea versions are also available for easy brewing. Research is limited on its clinical effectiveness, but topical peppermint oil may be a good herbal option for the relief of migraine pain. Peppermint oil is one of the easiest herbal remedies to try because of its prevalence in health food stores and pharmacies.
· Willow Bark Extract can be found in capsule form and as a chewable bark at most health food stores.
· Ginger Most people can tolerate fresh or dried ginger root, supplements, or extract. Be careful not to combine ginger supplements with blood thinners because of potential drug interactions. Ginger capsules and ginger tea are both relatively easy to obtain in almost any grocery store or pharmacy. You can also try drinking ginger water.
· Lavender Oil some studies suggest that inhaling lavender oil during a migraine may help relieve symptoms quickly. To use lavender oil, breathe in the oil or apply a diluted solution to the temples. If you don’t dilute it properly, the oil may irritate the skin at the application site. Lavender oil can be toxic when taken orally at certain doses.
Rosemary oil can be diluted and applied topically or inhaled for aroma therapeutic purposes. The plant’s leaves can be dried and ground for use in capsules. It can also be used in teas, tinctures, and liquid extracts. Rosemary is believed to have antimicrobial, antispasmodic, and antioxidant effects. Still, its ability to reduce migraine pain hasn’t been well studied.
And many others….
Always use caution when considering herbal treatments for migraines and headaches. Discuss your decision with a healthcare professional before beginning or stopping any medical or herbal treatment. Be aware that many herbs interfere with other medications.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Lie down in a dark, quiet room.
Place an ice bag or cold cloth on your head.
Massage the area where you feel pain.
Perform deep breathing or other relaxation exercises.
If you would like to go deeper and find out the root cause and have a personalized plan just book your free consultation to see how I can help you on chiaranutrition.co.uk
That’s all for now!