Making Healthy Choices, One Step At A Time

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June 2009, Issue #002

Table of Contents

This month's topic: Headaches and how to manage them naturally.

  • Vasoconstrictive Headaches
  • Vasodilative Headaches
  • Sinus Headaches

  • Headaches Don't Really Begin In Your Head

    Did you know that there are basically two types of headaches? They are vasoconstrictive and vasodilative and once you know which one you have, you can learn how to prevent it and stop the pain.

    Vasoconstrictive Headaches

    Causes This type headache is generally caused by muscle tension in the neck and shoulders that inhibits the flow of blood and oxygen to the head. As a result of the tension you might experience some muscle cramping caused by lymphatic stagnation.

    Symptoms Some people refer to these as “tension” headaches but they can be very severe. The symptoms include pressure, a tight, crushing pain that feels like your head is in a vice or being compressed. Many times the tension in the neck and shoulders can create a spinal subluxation in the neck. This can cause neck pain and possibly an “uneven” feeling in the vertebrae.

    Treatment A chiropractor may be helpful, but massaging the neck, shoulders and head may also release the subluxation as well.

    In addition to basic massage techniques, a hot compress can be helpful. Herbs, taken internally, will help to relax the muscles and increase blood flow to the head. These antispasmodic herbal remedies may also help:

  • Black Cohosh
  • Nerve Eight
  • Kava Kava
  • Lobelia
  • Herbal Sleep
  • Valerian
  • Stress Relief
  • Passion Flower
  • Ginkgo
  • Kudzu/St. John's Wort
  • In addition to herbs, magnesium can be very effective in relieving muscle tension and cramping. If you don't have any magnesium on hand, try a pinch of epsom salts in a glass of water. Kudzu/St. John's wort and magnesium can be taken on a regular basis to prevent tension headaches.

    Natural headache relief using herbal remedies is a healthier choice than taking over the counter drugs which have detrimental side effects to the body.

    Vasodilative Headaches

    Causes: This type of headache is the exact opposite of the tension headache. It's caused by too much blood flow to the head. This is the type most people refer to as a migraine headache.

    Symptoms: The rush of blood flow makes the head feel full and congested, like the head is exploding outward. It's usually a throbbing, pounding type of pain with a sensitivity to light, sound and touch. The ears and the eyes are usually red.

    Treatment This kind of headache will also respond to massage if you can tolerate the touching. A cold compress should also help. Herbal remedies that will move the blood flow away from the head, and back into the digestive organs should provide some relief as well. But the best way to treat vasodilative headaches is to try to prevent them from happening.

    This kind of headache is usually “liver” related and is a sign that your liver is overloaded with toxins. Taking liver cleansing herbs like Feverfew, Milk Thistle Combo or Digestive Bitters can lessen the severity and eventually eliminate them all together. But they must be taken on a regular basis and they won't be effective once the migraine has started.

    Migraines are often triggered by food allergies. It might help to journal your foods so you can see which foods might be triggering your migraines.

    Sinus Headaches

    Causes Sinus headaches are a little different as they are not your typical type of headache. They are caused by congestion in the sinus cavities producing pressure, pain and inflammation.

    Treatment The key to relief is to promoting drainage of the sinuses. Massaging the sides of the neck and shoulders will increase lymphatic drainage and help drain the sinuses.

    Herbal remedies like ALJ and Fenugreek & Thyme, (taken internally) are good decongestants. Another helpful technique to relieve a sinus headache is to boil some water and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, and/or pine oil and then inhale the vapors To more effectively capture the vapors, drape a towel over the head and pan creating a little tent.

    I hope these healthy choice tips have been helpful in learning more about natural ways you can manage your headaches. If you wish to purchase or learn more about the herbal remedies listed above click here to visit our Natures Sunshine site.

    For more Tips & Ideas visit Healthy Choices 4 Life.

    Until next month....Enjoy the summer, I think it's finally here!

    To your good health,

    Barb Hughesian


    Not bothered by headaches? How about digestive issues, bloating and gas? If so, check out my latest E-zine Article 7 Steps to Boost Digestion and Stop the Bloating and Gas.
    Let us know if any of our healthy choices ideas and tips have helped you in your journey to better health.

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