/ Health and wellbeing

5 ways to combat headaches without pain killers

This week is national headache and migraine week. According to Headache Australia 5 million Australians suffer from headaches. Although most of us reach over for the painkillers whenever a headache strikes there are ways to combat headaches that don’t involve any medication at all.

Headaches are rarely a one-off event and that is why although it is helpful to explore the different non-medicinal cures at the same time you need to look at prevention. If you don’t address the reasons you get headaches, no sooner have you got rid of one headache, you will be on the path to another one.

If a headache does strike here are some things you can try to cure it:

• Have a rest in a cool, dark room

• Alternating hot and cold therapies – place an ice pack on your head or have a warm bath or switch from one to the other

• Take a walk in the fresh air

• Get a massage

Peppermint Oil on your temples, foreheads and wrists will alleviate tension headaches

• Acupuncture has been known to help the most vicious of migraines

Headache Australia has lots of tips to minimize the number of headaches you experience. Their advice is based on understanding when headaches strike, knowing what causes them and then making lifestyle changes to reduce the causes.

Understand when headaches strike

Keep a headache diary – on the days you experience a headache make sure you note down what you ate, what exercise you did ( if any) what was going on emotionally for you ( was it a stressful day?) how much alcohol you consumed etc.

Know what causes them by identifying precipitating factors that cause headaches – this includes the amount of sleep, environmental factors like amount of light and noise you are exposed to, diet, physical exertion

And then…..make lifestyle changes:

If lots of sugar causes headaches you will need to cut the sugar, if its alcohol you may look at cutting down the number of drinks you have in a week.
If stress causes tension headaches you will need to reduce the stress in your life, this is obviously easier said than done but when it comes to stress you can only control your reaction. Take yourself out of situations you know cause you additional stress or distance yourself from people that cause you undue stress.

Alternatively plan for stressful periods, if you know you have a stressful week at work try and make other aspects of your life not stressful or make sure you make time to go for a walk or eat healthy food.

This all cannot happen if you don’t take responsibility for your headaches, understanding headaches are something that happens within you and not to you may empower you to take control of your headaches and make changes to reduce their occurrence and severity.