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Home > Health & Disease in Naturopathy > Common Ailments > Headache
Headache
HeadacheHeadaches afflict almost everyone at some time or the other. Most headaches are functional, caused by temporary upsets and are not related to any organic changes in the brain. A headache is often nature`s warning that something is wrong somewhere in the body. The actual pain, however, arises from irritation to nerve endings in the shoulder, neck and scalp muscles and also in the smooth muscles encircling the blood vessels, which serve these areas.

There are several types of headaches, with as many ways of treating them. Taking an aspirin or a tranquilizer may provide temporary relief but it does not remove the cause. Moreover, the frequent use of pain-relievers causes nervous debility, weakens the heart and brings on other complications.

The common causes of headaches are allergy, emotional reasons, eyestrain, high blood pressure, hangover, infection, low blood sugar, nutritional deficiency, tension, the presence of poisons and toxins in the body, and migraine. Allergies, an often unsuspected cause of headache, vary in different individuals. The foods to which some people are allergic and which can trigger headaches are milk and milk products, chocolates, chicken liver, alcohol and strong cheese. Sneezing and diarrhoea are further indications of an allergy.

Intense emotion often causes headaches. Many people who outwardly appear to have a pleasant disposition may actually be simmering about a job, or may bear resentment towards a person or something. This hidden hostility may manifest itself bottled as headache. It is important, therefore, that negative feelings should not be up, but should find some safe means of expression.

Eyestrain is a common cause of headache. In such cases, an eye specialist should be consulted and proper treatment taken. Simple eye exercises such as moving the eyes up and down from side to side, palming, rotating the head with neck outstretched, forward and backward three times, then thrice clockwise and thrice anti-clockwise, can relieve eyestrain.

High blood pressure can cause pounding headaches. The headache usually starts at the back of the head on getting up in the morning. A safe method of treatment for this is to immerse your legs to calf-level in a tub of hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. This draws the blood away from the head and down to the feet, giving relief from the headache.

Many people get a severe headache after consuming alcohol in excess. Alcohol causes the blood vessels to swell, resulting in a painful headache. The best treatment for this is to avoid excessive consumption of alcohol. A hangover headache can be avoided by taking a vitamin B-1 (thiamine) tablet with the drink.

Headaches may occur if there is an infection, such as a cold, virus and fever. Here, it is the infection that should be tackled. Vitamin C therapy is the best all-round method. For cold, high doses of vitamin C should betaken at hourly intervals with the appearance of the first symptoms like a sore throat, runny nose, etc. Vitamin C has worked miracles, and is considered a natural antibiotic.

Low blood sugar is one of the causes of irritability and headache. Sugar is not a cure for low blood sugar, though it may raise the blood sugar temporarily and make one feel better for a while. Low blood sugar is the result of an abused pancreas, which over stimulates the production of insulin in the body. It can be controlled by eating smaller meals at short intervals rather than the standard three large meals daily- The intake of carbohydrates should be cut down to the minimum and coffee should be eliminated as it over stimulates the pancreas.

A lack of iron, resulting in anaemia, is a common cause of headache. The headache sometimes appears before the onset of anaemia, due to a chronic iron deficiency. Brewer`s yeast is an excellent source of iron and taking a few teaspoons daily can easily prevent anaemia. Headache can also happen due to the deficiency of B vitamins, namely pantothenic acid, B-1 (thiamine), B-12 and B-6 (pyridoxine) and can be cured by taking these vitamins.

When taking any of the B vitamin factors separately, it is absolutely essential to add the entire B complex range to one`s diet in some form such as Brewer`s yeast, liver, wheat germ, etc, otherwise too much of one factor can throw the other factors into imbalance, resulting in other problems. Actually, the entire B complex group itself serves as protection against headaches, including migraine.

Tension headaches are probably the most common of all, and are caused by emotional conflicts which result in stress. Stress causes the muscles of the shoulder, neck and scalp to tense unconsciously. Persons who are irritable, tense and lose their temper quickly usually get this type of headache. It increases gradually and passes off with the release of tension. One should try to relieve the stress, which produces the headache.

Poisons and toxins admitted into the body through food, beverages and water, as well as through breathing polluted air, can cause any number of disturbances. A headache may be the first warning that a poison has entered the body. Additives in foods and in many cases, cosmetics, skin and hair products are also serious offenders in bringing on headaches. In addition, there are toxic air contaminants which are too numerous to mention.

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