Headaches & Migraines - Self Care Remedies
Being a therapist, the common complaint I get from many of my clients revolves around having regular headaches or migraines. Not only do I see many cases of individuals with this chronic pain, but I also experience severe headaches. Before you go for the ibuprofen or over the counter pain reliever, I wanted to share a few tips I learned in my practice with some holistic ways to eliminate the pain.
Muscular Tension in the Head and Neck
There are many different types of headache tension, and are listed in the graphic below.
The muscles more commonly associated with referred pain from the neck include the following-
Spinalis cervicis and capitis
Past head traumas can affect and misalign the bones of the skull as well and increase head and neck tension. The skull is divided up into many sutures, which can be adjusted and are also attached to face and head muscles.
Some of the causes of tension headaches include-
Physical or emotional stress
Caffeine (too much or withdrawal)
Colds, the flu, or a sinus infection
Dental problems such as jaw clenching or teeth grinding
Fatigue or overexertion
One of the main causes of headache and migraine tension is grinding of the teeth during a night's sleep. The temporalis, a major muscle of the side of the head, receives the teeth tension. Many of the chewing muscles in the jaw insert where the temporalis originates. One way to ease tension in the jaw is using a mouth guard. You can find a mouth guard at any over the counter drug store or see an orthodontist for a customized fit to your teeth.
M-Grain Essential Oil- There are six therapeutic grade essential oils in M-Grain.
Basil Essential Oil (Ocimum basilicum) is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps with muscle spasms. It is good for voluntary and involuntary muscle groups.
Marjoram Essential Oil (Origanum majorana) is antibacterial and antiseptic. It smoothes muscle tissue and relieves muscle spasms, headaches and calms nerves.
Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia) has analgesic and anti-spasmodic properties. It helps relief stress, sore muscles, menstrual cramps and nervous tension in the body.
Peppermint Essential Oil (Mentha piperita) is cooling to the skin. It blocks pain and enhances the other effects of the oils.
Roman Chamomile Essential Oil (Chamaemelum nobile) has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and anti-infectious properties. It is calming and relaxing and is used for depression and stress.
Helichyrsum Essential Oil (Helichrysum italicum) is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory. It also improves circulation and may help cleanse the blood.
Self-Care Stretches and More
The following four stretches help relieve neck tension that commonly leads to headaches. These can be performed anywhere while sitting down either in a chair or cross legged on the floor:
Chin Tuck Stretch
Look straight ahead with back aligned to your head. Gently bend your head forward towards your chest until you feel that gentle stretch at the back of your neck. Hold this position for about 30 seconds and slowly raise the chin back to a level starting point. Repeat.
Lateral Flexion Stretch
Gently bend your neck to the left side, attempting to touch your left ear to your shoulder. Pause when a stretch is felt in the right side of your neck. Place your hand to gently on the right side of the head to increase the stretch. The gentle pressure shouldn’t cause pain. Hold this position for about 30 seconds. Do it on the opposite side.
Muscle relaxing exercise
Breath in and out slowly. Rotate your head to the right as far as you are comfortable and hold for 30 seconds. Then repeat to the left. Roll shoulders forward and back several times. Do these repeatedly until you feel your muscles relaxed.
Wind Relieving Pose for Tension Headache
Yogis and medical professionals recommend this routine to do the wind relieving pose for tension headache.
Lying on your back, inhale and bring both knees into your chest. Tuck the chin into the chest with the head on the floor. Press the sacrum and tailbone down into the floor as you pull the knees into the chest using the arms. Press the shoulders and the back of the neck down into the floor, trying to get the back and whole spine flat to the floor. Relax the legs, feet and hips. Breathe and hold 4-8 breaths, breathing deeply into the belly, actively pressing it against the thighs on the inhalation.
Although tension headache is relatively common and not fatal, they are painful and can widely affect your daily activities. To address the root cause of your pain, craniosacral therapy is a good place to start. A therapist certified in craniosacral therapy can find the regions of the skull that are misaligned and use light pressure to realign the bones. Chiropractic care and massage therapy are great collaborative treatments to help relieve tension for the bone and muscle insertions in the body.