Millions of people suffer from headaches in the UK making them one of the most common health complaints. The good news is the majority aren’t serious and can be treated!
The most common types of headaches are tension headaches caused by a physical build-up of tension around the head and neck. Physical and emotional stress is often to blame for this.
Less common and much more intense are migraines, which tend to be recurrent and debilitating, can be accompanied by feelings of nausea and visual disturbances and often affect one side of the head.
Cluster headaches are extremely acute, usually affect the eye area on one side, and come on in clusters followed by long periods of remission. These are relatively rare.
Headaches can also be a secondary symptom of an underlying problem such as eye-sight; this can be quickly determined with a simple eye-test. Other causes can include infection, possibly in the sinuses. Some women can link their headaches to their menstrual cycle indicating a hormonal headache, while some headaches can be related to allergens which may include certain foods. Alcohol and caffeine are common culprits. Depression, fatigue and stress can also be held responsible.
If the cause of your headache is unaccounted for, it has progressively worsened, or is accompanied by other symptoms it is important to seek the advice of a health-care professional to check for more complex or serious underlying causes.
A website resource we have found very useful is:
Traditional Treatments for Headaches
Within herbal medicine there is a group of herbs known as 'relaxing nervines'. They have been used traditionally to help ease tension and induce a state of relaxation.
The medical herbalist will help to identify the most appropriate combination of herbs to help ease the tension which can cause the headaches. Migraines are approached from both a dietary and herbal perspective and require an in-depth consideration of their history and relationship with food, menstrual cycle as appropriate and external stressors.
Many tension headaches respond well to the relaxing properties of gentle aromatherapy oils and massage. While a body massage will offer overall relaxation and a sense of well-being, a facial (with relaxing oils) and head massage can bring immense release of tension within the muscles of the head and neck.
Chinese medicine (of which acupuncture is a part), considers signs and symptoms such as headaches to be a sign of deeper energetic disharmony within the human system, and has its own diagnostic system through which to understand an individual’s imbalance.
This additional perspective is a valuable part of the Acupuncture process and together with a western understanding of health and disease enables the Acupuncturist to provide a truly individual treatment. Acupuncture treatments are directed both at reducing symptoms and also resolving the underlying imbalance for a more lasting effect.
Acupuncture can be used alongside conventional medicine and is suitable for people of all ages including women in pregnancy.
Fact sheets can be found on the British Acupuncture Council website www.acupuncture.org.uk including those about Headache, Migraines, Sinusitis, Tinnitus, Dentistry, Stress, Chronic pain, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Insomnia, Fibromyalgia, Depression among others.
It is always advisable to discuss persistent headaches with your GP. Headaches can sometimes be caused by neck, back problems or tension. Stress may play a significant part as well. Reflexology is often successful in relieving symptoms caused by any of the above.
The relaxation felt during a Reflexology treatment usually continues to be felt long after the treatment has finished. The Reflexologist at Healing Thyme will also prescribe Dr. Bach Flower Remedies if appropriate.
Dr Bach Flower Remedies
These flower remedies are taken orally 4 times per day. The emotional healing felt from these remarkable remedies may reduce stress and tension.
Headaches are miserable and debilitating. Headache and neck pain often occur together and relate to each other. By easing out muscular tensions in the shoulders, neck, jaw and head and addressing postural problems, remedial massage can help you to rest, relax, sleep and recover.
Osteopathy is effective at treating headaches caused by joint restrictions, nerve compression or muscle tension in the neck, and the positive effects that treatment can have are widespread.
Often, it is not only the ‘headache’ patients complain about, but also accompanying feelings of lethargy, poor concentration and a ‘thick head’. Associated conditions may include ear, nose and throat infections, and sinus problems, which can persist if fluid drainage of the head and neck is poor.
In order to improve fluid circulation to and from the head, a specialised technique known as Cranial Osteopathy may be adopted. Other treatment aims usually include a combination of reducing muscle tone, releasing stiff joints and freeing trapped nerves in the neck and back.
As each individual is unique, so too is treatment, so techniques used will depend on various factors considered during the consultation.
Cranial Osteopathy is used to treat a diverse range of symptoms in babies, children, adults and the elderly, so please get in touch if you need to enquire further.