Almost everyone has known the excruciating pain of a headache at sometime, but for many it can be a regular occurrence. It may be a comfort to know that it is not caused by pain in the brain which has no nerves. Instead it is thought to be caused by the constriction of blood vessels surrounding the brain, or by tension in the scalp and surrounding muscles.
There are a number of different types of headache but most of the recurrent ones are either migraine tension headaches or cluster headaches, which usually occur around the eye and temple area.
It is helpful to determine the trigger for these episodes and there can be a variety of causes.
Migraine headaches are often caused by stress, as well as certain foods that contain substances which affect the blood vessels such as cheese, chocolate and citrus fruits.
Hunger: in fact, low blood sugar can cause discomfort in the head, which develops into a headache if no food is eaten. People who do not eat breakfast may notice they develop a headache that disappears after their first snack.
Red wine, beer, brandy and whisky all contain certain additives called congeners, which can trigger a headache in sensitive individuals.
For those who have a regular caffeine intake (coffee, tea, colas), drinking more or less at the weekends or on holiday can cause thumping headaches.
For some women the fluctuations of oestrogen levels around the time of their period, is a common trigger, and there are many other causes.
If you suffer with any type of recurrent headache, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor. However, there are some excellent natural remedies to try also.
HydrationIncrease your water intake and take a supplement of EPA (omega3) and GLA (omega6) both have been found to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation.
MagnesiumThe 'calming' mineral soothes the nerves and helps with toning the blood vessels. This mineral also improves sleep quality.
FeverfewA herb which is highly anti-inflammatory and can reduce the risk and severity of migraine attacks, if taken regularly as a tea.
Also gentle exercise, mediation, yoga, acupuncture and head neck and shoulder massage can be very beneficial.