You are not alone. Common headaches account for an amazing amount of time lost from work and more importantly, loss of productivity at work. Visit the local drug store and you will find entire aisles dedicated to over the counter pain relievers targeting headaches. You will find pain relievers in nearly all work breakrooms. There are some natural approaches you can take to address them once you have them and avoid getting them in the first place.
Headaches result from many different sources. We will address the common tension headache and headache patterns resulting from trigger point activity in muscles. It is always advisable to have acute and chronic headaches screened by medical doctors to rule out anatomical causes such as tumors and vascular distress such as blood clots and narrowing of the arteries such as the carotid arteries in the neck.
Past traumas to the head and neck can also leave their legacy in the form of headaches with the creation of myofascial trigger points and misalignment of the skull and neck due to muscular tension and scar tissue adhesions.
In our massage practice over the years we have encountered numerous clients with headache complaints. Often, they result from muscle tension created by poor postural alignment. When your head is positioned forward of your shoulders, the muscles that are responsible for moving the head and neck in the back of the body are put under constant strain. This results in poor circulation and muscular tension. Some nerves which serve the head pass through the muscles in the back of the head and neck. Pressure on these nerves can result in pain and reduced blood flow to the tissues they control. Massage of these muscles can bring relief.
Trigger points can develop in muscles which have referral patterns into various areas of the head and face. Some of these muscles are sternocleidomastiod, splenius capitis, splenius cervicis, suboccipital group, trapezius, frontalis, and occipitalis. Several of the referral patterns are similar to those reported as migraines. These muscles can be massaged by addressing the muscles on the back and side of the neck thoroughly using fingertip or thumb pressure. (See our instructional DVDs on Self Massage of the Neck and Effective Massage of the Neck)
Reflex areas on the feet and hands can also be manipulated in order to reduce tension and increase blood flow to the brain.
Traditionally, the aromatherapy approach to headache relief would include the application of peppermint, Roman chamomile or basil essential oil directly to the skin on the back of the neck or to the temple or forehead areas of the head. There are other essential oil blends that can help headaches by increasing blood flow to the head such as AromaLife , M-Grain, Relieve It, and Aroma Siez marketed exclusively by Young Living Essential Oil company.
Remember to drink several glasses of water. Some headaches result from lack of proper hydration of the brain.