A headache is one of the most common of all symptoms afflicting the human race. Most headaches are temporary. But some seem to recur frequently over periods of months or years. Such headaches may be due to a wide variety of causes, such as various tumors, infections, head injuries, high blood pressure, eye conditions , infections of the nose, throat, and ears, and much more. However, most headaches have no organic cause. Many are due to megrim or some psychological disturbance resulting in a tension headache. One should never assume that his headache is due to some severe disease, for most headaches are functional and not related to any organic changes in the brain. Even eyestrain is a far less common cause of a headache than many people suppose.
Strange as it may seem, the brain itself is not sensitive to pain. This means that most headaches are not due to any actual damage within the brain itself. However, any stretching or pressure on the coverings of the brain or the large blood vessels within the head will most certainly produce a severe pain or a headache. Any inflammation of the head, such as occurs in meningitis, will cause extreme pain over the entire head. Such objects are extremely rare today. A tumor growing within the head may press upon the meningeal covering or dura. This causes a severe headache, which is usually felt on the side of the head where the tumor is located.
Megrim headaches are among the most common forms of the headache today. In most cases, they come on when a person is either under intense nervous strain or when the tension suddenly subsides, and he takes a day off. This type of a headache is often preceded by flashes of light which are seen at the sides of one’s vision. This is most likely to be a one-sided headache, and there may be numbness and tingling on that side of the face or body. Some patients complain of a blind spot in their vision. Megrim is so common that one person in every ten has it at some time or other. It is most common in early adult life, women being more frequently affected. Often there is a history of a megrim headache in the family. Fortunately, this type of a headache usually begins to subside after the age of fifty.
Megrim attacks are often preceded by short periods of depression, irritability, restlessness, and loss of appetite. These symptoms tend to disappear just before a headache comes on, or they may continue and even increase the pain. This type of a headache usually follows a definite pattern. In one attack, the right side of the head may be involved, in the next perhaps the left. In many cases, there is nausea, vomiting, and the extremities may feel cold, and the patient desires just to be left alone. Careful observation of the blood vessels on the side of the head will show that they are prominent and pulsating.
The attack may last for hours or days at a time. Some patients may have it daily, others at odd times, and still others, perhaps only once or twice in several years. Megrim headaches are usually thought to arise from some reflex spasm or tension in one of the arteries leading to the brain itself. This reduces the normal flow of blood to that area. Just above the spastic portion of the vessel the wall of the artery Lose their normal tone and become greatly dilated. This causes intense pulsations and stretching of the walls of the vessels, producing acute pain and headache. This is the theory. No one knows for sure.
A tension headache
Tension headaches are similar to megrim in many respects. Although the location of a headache may be somewhat different and the cause is more obvious. Prolonged stress often seems to produce a spasm of the muscles in the back of the neck, particularly in certain people. This muscle spasm draws the tissues over the surface of the cranium very tight so that the pain is felt not only in the back of the neck but also over the top and front of the head. This is a steady, aching type of pain. Usually, there is no nausea, vomiting or flashing lights for the problem does not appear to affect the brain but is due to external causes. The treatment is similar to that outlined for megrim and sick headaches below of the post. It is most important to avoid emotional stress and be sure to take sufficient rest. Tension headaches are warning signals from nature which one cannot afford to ignore.
An alcoholic headache
Many people suffer from a severe headache due to the hangover after taking large quantities of alcohol. Alcohol is toxic to the tissues and directly irritates the meninges or coverings of the brain, thus causing the pain in the head. The Alcohol also dilates the arteries in the brain and this, in turn, produces pain, not unlike that of megrim. Naturally, the best treatment for this type of a headache is to avoid the excessive e use of alcohol in any form. Other than this, bed rest is advisable until the crisis has passed.
A headache due to Constipation.
Some people are particularly susceptible to this type of a headache. It appears to arise from absorbing toxic products from the colon. The best treatment is to take sufficient bulk and roughage in the diet, plus at least six to eight glasses of water per day to provide both bulk and lubrication of the bowel. Some mild laxative may be necessary in some cases but, this should be avoided as a general rule.
Headache Due to High Blood pressure
Many people have a tendency to develop a headache when the blood pressure rises beyond the normal level. The reason for this is not too clear, but it may be due to the increased pressure within the smaller arteries and other blood vessels within the brain.
A sinus headache:
Some of the nasal sinuses lie very close to the brain. Any inflammation of these sinuses may produce a rather severe type of a headache. Sometimes the headache comes on gradually, at other times rather quickly. There may also be marked postnatal discharge or dripping down into the throat, as well as fever, loss of appetite, dizziness, and loss of the normal sense of smell. A feeling of a toothache might also be present if the maxillary sinuses are involved. During the early phase, the temperature may rise to 102 degrees. Anything higher than this suggests further complications, such as otitis media or inflammation of the middle ear. In chronic sinusitis, the headache is less severe, and the patient may complain of recurrent colds. Sinusitis and its complications will be discussed in coming posts.
A headache Caused by eyestrain.
This type of a headache may be due to the body’s attempt to gain clear vision. Within the eyeball, the small ciliary muscles control the shape of the lens of the eye. This enables us to focus our vision on the object we are looking at. Prolonged contraction of these tiny muscles can be a cause of a headache due to “eyestrain.” Also, the muscles that move the eye (extraocular muscles) may go into tension, particularly if the muscles controlling one eye are not balanced with those on the other side. This imbalance may cause blurring vision so that the head may have to be held in a certain position in order to focus the vision. This in turn causes chronic contraction of the muscles of the neck, resulting in a headache.
If the eyes are exposed to a very bright light, a headache may develop lasting twenty-four to forty-eight hours, possibly due to the irritation of the delicate tissues in the eyes. Such a headache may last from one to two days. Looking at the sun for only a few seconds may actually burn the retina, and cause a severe headaches arising from eyestrain and other disorders of the eye can be prescribed only by a specialist in eye conditions, or in other words, an ophthalmologist.
Treating a sick headache best treatment for a sick headache is to prevent it from coming on. Megrim headaches always arise from the stress and strain within the brain, and from there the trouble may spread to the stomach and intestinal organs.
Here are some suggestions for treatment:
1. Do not be quite so exacting with yourself and with others. Plan your work well, but don’t fret or worry when things go wrong. It may not always be your fault.
2. Get plenty of sound sleep each night. Also, take a short nap in the day time if you can. This will help to relieve tension and restore your scene of well-being.
3. Beware of habit-forming drugs. These may bring quick relief, but they do not remove the cause. It is easy for a person to become addicted to powerful drugs. Better leave them alone.
4. Avoid things to which you are sensitive, such as bright lights, loud noises, tobacco smoke, strong perfumes, heavy traffic, and perhaps even some of your neighbours. Don’t allow yourself to exceed your own limits.
5. A hot foot bath for about twenty minutes will often relieve a severe headache. An Ice cold cloth to the head will also bring relief and make the hot foot bath even more effective.
6. Avoid nervous tension. Get sufficient exercise out of the door, especially walking. This will receive tension and help to prevent headaches. Gentle massage to the neck and back will often bring relief.
7. Keep calm and quiet. You cannot always have your own way, even at home. Remember, a happy attitude toward life is one good way to prevent these tensions from coming on in the first place.
So try to face your problems bravely, without fear or weakness. A Calm, the quiet atmosphere will bring peace within yourself, and with others, and with God.Alternative Therapies or Natural herbs and food to cure a headache.
Apples are highly beneficial in the treatment of all types of a headache. A ripe apple, after removing the upper rind and the inner hard portion should be taken with a little salt every morning on an empty stomach in such cases. This should be continued for about a week. It will yield .good results even in cases of disgusting chronic headache.
Tanacetum parthenium: Can reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. It works effectively only if taken daily. It won’t help if taken once you have a migraine.
– Passiflora incarnate: One of the nature’s best tranquilizers, contains at least 3 tranquilizing or sedating compounds, relieves muscle tension, insomnia, mild headache relief.(Not recommended for pregnant women or children under 2….Do not drive or operate heavy machinery after using passion-flower)Willow Bark – Salix alba: Relieves headaches.
Peppermint is a herb that can create a soothing effect and cure the headaches with its coolness. The other similar herb is passion-flower which has slightly different effects than the peppermint. It comes with a certain amount of sedative effect. This can slowly release the pressure on the mind and body and gradually cool the brain to cure headaches.
Cayenne pepper is another effective option that can cure the headaches because of its heating effect. You might feel an intense pain initially but this will gradually reduce and you will feel better.These herbs were used to combat this problem in the ancient ages especially in India and China.
Yoga does not cure headaches on its own, here are some yoga poses and yoga mudra that are generally
effective for a migraine and headache:
Relaxation poses for Headache and Migraine
For any ailment, the importance of relaxation yoga poses cannot be over-emphasised.
They can be performed at the beginning and end of any yoga session or at any time when
the body feels tired and needs a deep rest:-
Flapping Fish Pose – Matsya Kridasana
This is a great relaxation pose. Many people naturally sleep in a variation of this pose because intuitively they feel the deep rest that can be gained from it. Lie on your stomach and interlock your fingers. Extend the right elbow so that it is pointing away from your head and point the left elbow down towards your legs. Rest your right cheek on top of your interlocked fingers. Bend your left leg, bringing your thigh close up towards your ribs. Touch your left elbow to your left knee or as close as possible. Keep your right leg straight. Relax in the final position and breath normally. After 5 minutes, change sides. The bent knee and the head may be supported on a pillow for extra comfort.
As well as inducing deep relaxation, this pose stimulates digestion by stretching the intestines, helping to remove constipation. Therefore, it is especially beneficial for those people whose headaches are connected to poor digestion. This pose also redistributes excess waistline weight.
Mudras for Headache and Migraine
Mudra works according to the principles of Ayurveda. It is very much useful to manipulate any constitution(doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha). Mudras are a very effective remedy for a headache. The major advantage of mudras is you can practice it anywhere at any moment of time. To know more about these mudras click on the links.
Sit on your heels and place the palms of your hands on your thighs. Close your eyes and relax, keeping your head and your spine straight. Inhale and raise your arms above your head. As you exhale, bend the top half of your body forward from the hips. Stretch your arms out so that they rest shoulder-width apart on the ground in front of you. Rest your forehead on the floor in front of your knees. You can bend your arms slightly so that they are fully relaxed. Try to hold this position for a minute at first, building towards
holding it comfortably for at least three minutes.Moon Pose helps to calm an overactive mind common amongst a headache suffers. It gently brings fresh blood and oxygen to the head, calming and soothing frayed nerves.Moon Pose is also great for calming anger, inducing an overall sense of well-being and a
peaceful state of mind.Note that those with very high blood pressure slipped disc or vertigo should not perform this asana.
Palm Tree Pose – Tadasana
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms by your side. With your body weight evenly distributed on both feet, breath in and slowly raise your arms above your head.Interlock your fingers, turning your palms upwards. To help your balance, fix and keep your eyes fixed on a point on the wall in front you, just above the level of the top of your head. Keep breathing. After a few breaths, inhale deeply and raise your heels slightly off the ground. Tighten your buttocks and stretch towards the sky. Imagine that your body is triple it’s normal length, stretching up as high as you can. Tuck your pelvis in so that your lower back doesn’t strain. Remember to keep your facial muscles soft and relaxed as you hold this pose, creating no additional tension in the body. Hold for as long as is comfortable and then exhale slowly as you lower your heels and bring your arms down. This is one round. Complete 5 to 10 rounds.Although it is more difficult to retain one’s balance, this pose can also be performed looking up towards your interlocked fingers. This is a useful pose for those suffering from headaches, helping to alleviate tension in the neck and shoulders, developing physical and mental balance and stretching the entire spine and the intestines. As the spine is a great channel of energy, the stretch happening in the spine during Tadasana can help to alleviate energy blockages between the lower back and the head.
Double Angle Pose – Trikonasana
Stand up straight with your feet one foot apart. Take your arms behind your back and interlock your fingers. Take a deep breath in. Keeping your head up and looking forwards, breath out gradually as you bend the top half of your body forward from your hips. If you have been someone who commonly has problems with your back, then take extra care with bending forward or avoid it altogether. Bending the knees slightly as you
move into a forward bend will help to eliminate the extra pressure that is often felt in the lower back during forward bends. As you do this, raise your arms behind your back without straining them and allow your hands to drop over your head, down towards the ground. Hold this final position for about 10 seconds to begin with, keeping the body as relaxed as you can. To move out of the position, raise your head so that you are looking upwards and outwards and take a deep breath in as you raise your body up to standing position. Relax your arms by the side of your body. Close your eyes and stand still for a few moments, allowing the breath to return to normal. Observe any sensations in your body, relaxing completely and feeling the firm connection between your feet and the ground.
Dwikonasana is highly recommended pose for a headache suffers. With the arms acting as a lever, this pose gives the shoulders and chest an excellent stretch and helps to dissolve the tension we often store beneath the shoulder blades. However, those with very painful shoulder joints should avoid this asana.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose, inset) Place a block against a wall on its second-highest height. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip distance apart on the floor. Touch the crown of the head lightly against the block. Carefully place a sandbag so that three-quarters of it rests on the block
and one-quarter rests on your forehead. (This light pressure on the forehead helps relax the area.) Come up into Setu Bandha Sarvangasana on an exhalation and place another block underneath the sacrum. Once the block is placed, bring your arms to a -degree angle from your torso with the palms facing up.
Do not aggressively drag the shoulder blades toward the feet, which can create tension along the sides of the neck. Avoid pressing the crown of the head into the block; use the strength of the legs to draw the pelvis
in the direction of the knees. Allow the gentle pressure of the sandbag on your forehead to encourage
the energy in the skull to release toward the floor. Stay here for 1 to minutes. Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose) The fully supported version of this pose (with more lift under the hips) can trigger a headache for some, so it’s best to have the pelvis either unsupported or only slightly elevated here.
Fold a blanket so it is about a half-inch thick and place it against a wall. With the knees bent and feet flat on the floor, sit sideways against the wall on top of the blanket, with a sandbag nearby. Using your hands for support, lie back and sweep your legs up the wall. Bend your knees and carefully place the sandbag on the soles of your feet; straighten your legs up the wall again. Rest the buttocks against the baseboard and the backs of the legs against the wall. (If you have tight hamstrings, move the buttocks a few inches from the wall.) Place an eye bag over your eyes. Bring the arms out to your sides and experiment with their exact placement so you can maintain a long, relaxed feeling along the sides of the neck. Allow your face and the front of your body to release toward the floor as you exhale. Stay for about 10 minutes.
Palming – Eye exercise
Sit quietly and close your eyes. Rub the palms of your hands together briskly until you can feel the heat in your hands. Gently place the palms of your hands over your eyes and hold them there until the heat has been absorbed into your eyes. Feel and visualize the energy and warmth moving from your hands to your eyes as the eye muscles relax.
Make sure the palms of the hands and not the fingers are covering the eyes. Enjoy resting your eyes in the soothing darkness. Keep your eyes closed as you lower your hands to your knees. Repeat the process at least three times.It is said that the benefits of this practice are increased if practiced in front of a rising or
setting sun. Palming helps to smooth eye tension that often contributes to the pain and discomfort of a headache and migraine sufferers
Various rhythms and methods of breathing have different effects on the mind, body and spirit. According to Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of the International Art of Living Organisation, 70% of the body’s toxins are released through the breath. The breath is a subtle yet powerful tool in which to release much of the stress, tension or anxiety associated with headaches and migraines.
Ujjayi Breathing – The Psychic Breath
Known as the pranayama that gives freedom to bondage, or the psychic breath, Ujjayi breathing is both simple and powerful. Start by sitting for a few quiet minutes in a comfortable position, closing the eyes and relaxing the body completely. Begin by observing the natural breath without making any effort to change it. Then shift your awareness to your throat. Imagine that the breath is moving in and out through the throat.
Gently contracting the throat muscles, breath in and out slowly and deeply. The sound that starts to come from the throat is like the sound of a baby snoring. It is just a very gentle sound that should only be heard by you, so keep it light. Concentrate on the sound in your throat. Begin by practicing the Ujjayi breath for up to 5 minutes, working up towards 15 to 20.You can practice Ujjayi breathing whilst lying down, which is especially good for people suffering from insomnia, but sitting up will give you the added benefits of a rejuvenating
Yoga Kriyas for Headache: NETI KRIYA
To clean the internal passages perform Kunjal and fast by consuming small quantities of fruits&milk.
Yoga asanas like paschimottanasana, Tadasana, Bhujangasana, Halasana, Sarvangasana, nd shavasana are the best choice in this condition.