Migraine and headaches
Migraine and headaches are extremely common. 19,000 people suffer migraine attacks daily in the UK. 6 million people suffer in the UK alone. Up to 25% of women and 10% of men suffer migraines.
There are 4 main types of headache excluding migraine. These are: sinus, tension, cluster and TMJ.
Migraine headaches are classified separately as the following common symptoms help to distinguish:
- Severe headache which can last from 4hrs – 3 days
- Can’t stand any level of noise or strong smells
- Nausea which can then lead to vomiting
- Occasionally with Aura. These are things that happen just before the pain of the headache starts. E.g. visual disturbances (flashing lights, zig zag lines, blurred vision), dizziness, vertigo, numbness, pins ‘n’ needles sensations, speech and hearing changes. Not all migraine sufferers experience an aura. Even those that do, only experience some of these symptoms.
Commonly used pain-relief medications for headaches and migraines are NSAIDS e.g. ibuprofen, aspirin etc. Some specific migraine-painkillers have an anti-nausea part added to the tablet. Most sufferers always carry pain killers with them, just in case, as they find this needs to be started as soon as the headache presents. If not, they may find the headache intensifies and continues, instead of the painkiller stopping it in its tracks.
Prescription medication usually starts with a group of drugs called the triptans. These constrict the blood vessels in the head to ease migraine pain.
So what can be done to avoid or treat headaches without drugs? Here are my 6 top tips:
- Eat at regular intervals and stay well hydrated. Often we can get distracted by our busy lives and forget to eat or drink adequately.
- Get plenty of good quality sleep. Go to bed at the same time each day, and wake up at the same time each day. Yes, even at the weekends! Too much sleep can trigger headaches for some people.
- Avoid known triggers e.g. cheese, chocolate, caffeine, citrus fruits, tyramine-containing foods like cured meats, smoked fish, and yeast extract.
- Migraines or headaches can be known side-effects of some medication such as HRT or the contraceptive pill. There may be a pattern to the headaches and keeping a diary can help to identify this. For example, so women experience migraines at certain points in their menstrual cycle.
- Applying diluted peppermint and lavender essential oils to the temples at the start of a headache can help to ease the pain.
- Having a homeopathic kit at home to nip the pain in the bud can really help too!
If you are suffering from chronic headaches, getting your eyesight checked would be a sensible thing to do, so that any vision issues are ruled out. Homeopathy can be a wonderful aid for the pain of headaches and getting to the root cause too. Email me to find out how I can help you!