While there are different types of headaches and migraines, the presence of stress in our modern lifestyles can lead to stress or tension headaches – a condition experienced by over 30% of adults at some stage. We may think of stress as being all bad but it has enabled man to adapt, to evolve and even to master all types of challenges. It is certainly not a recent phenomena with early man living under considerable stress when you consider all he had to face. In spite of stress, or perhaps because of it, man has been the world's most successful survivor. Nevertheless, the headaches that can accompany stress are a very real problem for many.
What are stress headaches?
The symptoms of stress headaches affect both sides of the head with a feeling of tightness in the forehead or back of the neck and often described as a dull ache. Not as debilitating as some other types of headaches, those with stress headaches can usually carry on normally in spite of the discomfort. The pain may also extend down the neck and to the shoulders. Stress headaches can last as little as half an hour or as long as a week, beginning gradually and peaking during the day. However, there are times when stress headaches may be more painful with the intensity varying from one to another. There are other symptoms that may occur with stress headaches too, including:
- Fatigue and sleep disturbances
- Problems with focus and concentration
- Pain around the neck and spine
- Muscle aches
How to treat stress headaches
You can always pop a pain killing pill every time you get a stress headache but be aware that you will be adding toxic chemicals to your system with the strong possibility of unwanted side effects. With stress obviously being the main cause for stress headaches, you might like to read our earlier post here
with our top 10 tips for stress solutions. Instead of resorting to over-the-counter pharmaceutical medications, consider herbal and other remedies for stress headaches:
Lemongrass is used by Aboriginal Australians as traditional medicine. A five-year A study by a team at Griffith University in Australia confirmed that lemongrass is as good as aspirin for treating headaches, and it is also an effective migraine treatment.
Holy Basil is one of the herbs known as an adaptogen which literally means that it helps you to adapt when beset by stress, anxiety and other modern day ills. It will help with the pain and discomfort of headaches.
Lemon Balm contains a pain reliever called eugenol. This makes it a good supplement to take for headaches, soreness or muscle spasms.
- Stress can be particularly damaging to our bodies and so can medication but Meditation does the complete opposite as it restores the body to a calm state, helps the body to repair itself and prevents new damage occurring from the physical effects of stress.
H-Headaches Formula is a 100% natural product and highly effective in treating the symptoms of stress headaches to provide fast relief.
Rosemary (and especially a rosemary tea drunk morning and evening for a maximum of 4 days to relieve physical and mental strain) is another herbal remedy. Many medicinal preparations contain rosemary oil with their various health benefits and for an anti-stress bath, add a few drops of rosemary oil straight to the bath water to soothe anxiety and stress headaches. The recipe for the tea is: ¼ cup of fresh flowering rosemary tips and 1 cup of boiling water. Infuse for 5 minutes before straining and sweetening with raw honey if preferred.
- The air we breathe every day is filled with both negative and positive ions which must remain in balance if we are to have a healthy living atmosphere. All types of modern conveniences produce too many positive ions and this can throw off balance the air that we breath, contributing to allergies, stress, insomnia and other sleep disorders as well as sinus and migraine headaches and more. A Himalayan crystal salt lamp is a natural ionizer and an overall healing device helping to promote the health and wellness of all individuals who use it. Find out more about these lamps here.
- If you are suffering from stress or anxiety, your adrenal glands will need extra Magnesium. And compounding the problem can be drinking a lot of coffee or alcohol because, along with other important minerals, your magnesium can be flushed out of your system – often when you need it the most.
Vitamin D is a feel good hormone and having sufficient levels is an important factor in human health. Every tissue in our bodies needs vitamin D and will not work correctly when we are deficient. Even milder degrees of deficiency are now understood to be one of the causes of a vast array of chronic diseases, including headaches. Asking our bodies to deal with these disorders without adequate vitamin D is like asking a fighter to enter battle with one hand tied behind his back. If you are deficient, a vitamin D3 supplement can be taken orally. Apart from exposure to sunlight, only animal-based food sources, such as fish, egg yolk, and raw milk, contain D3 but even these are low.
Acupuncture employs a holistic method of treatment where the overall health and wellness of the patient is considered with treatment taking care of many conditions (including stress and headaches) by unblocking energy along various channels in the human body. Acupuncture is said to eliminate the causes and therefore heal the patient.
- A more modern method is the Craniosacral System which has a rhythm that can be felt throughout the body, meaning a qualified practitioner of this therapy, using a light touch, will be able to monitor such rhythm and pinpoint the source of an obstruction or the area of stress. The same practitioner can then help to ensure the natural movement of the fluid and related soft tissue so that the body self-corrects and heals.