Chronic headaches can be debilitating and interfere greatly with well-being. My approach to working with people who suffer from headaches is to identify the cause, implement strategies to prevent the headache from recurring, provide herbal medicine as required to alleviate pain and help the body address any functional imbalances.
The most common causes of headaches are:
- Lack of sleep
- Poor posture
- Physical injury
Dehydration can occur if you are not drinking enough water each day. Water is lost through sweat, urination, exercise and breathing, metabolising protein foods and drinking alcohol and caffeine drinks. Even when we stay inside we can lose significant water through the skin in air-conditioned rooms.
Maintain optimal water level by drinking 1.5 – 2 litres of water per day.
Tension can be caused by any number of things including stress, anxiety, focussing on a task without a break, lack of oxygen from shallow breathing, poor sleep…but the tension may be able to be alleviated by massage, stretching or a walk in a natural setting (a park, a quiet street). I use my massage oil on my scalp to ease the tension I get when I have to spend more than a few hours doing paperwork or computer work.
Lack of sleep
Lack of sleep can be temporary due to an unexpected one off situation, a late night partying or studying for exams – headaches from these causes are easily remedied and many people choose non-prescription pharmacy pain medication for a one off headache. If you prefer not to use pharmacy pain relief, you can ease the headache with gentle head massage, deep breathing and relaxation, and if possible, take an afternoon nap of 30-45 minutes.
However, if you have a chronic problem with sleep disturbance – difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep, or waking after a few hours sleep and unable to get back to sleep, you may benefit from working with me to ascertain the causes and implement strategies and remedies to help you get a good night’s sleep every night.
Poor posture from slouching and stooping can cause headache from the unnatural tension on the neck, shoulder and back muscles. The slouch posture also interferes with breathing – constricting the diaphragm and causing shallow breathing. Headaches from poor posture is easily remedied if a person is willing to correct their posture. Bowen therapy can help realign the muscles and tendons along the spine from longer term patterns of poor posture. Herbs can alleviate the pain and tension caused by the poor posture.
NOTE: Any suspected injury to the head, neck or spine should be referred to a medical doctor or hospital for assessment.
Non life threatening injury may cause headache and can be helped with herbal medicine to reduce swelling and bruising, calm inflammation, and help the body heal damaged tissue.