A study conducted by the Academy of Pain Medicine suggests that as many as 45 million individuals contract deep-seated headaches – 28 million of which stem from migraines. From this number, over 10 million people visit a doctor or emergency room due to the pain and irritation caused. No matter the origin, whether from stress, eye strain, sinuses or any one of the countless causes, headaches can be incredibly restrictive and can have a real impact on your daily life. Rather than loading up on painkillers, which can potentially cause more harm than good, here are a number of effective and drug-free solutions to help you get back on your feet.
Massage therapy: a natural solution
Recent studies show that techniques such as massage therapy, including the stimulation of well-known trigger points, are extremely helpful when it comes to relieving tension headaches. One study concluded that “the muscle-specific massage therapy technique used has the potential to be a functional, non-pharmacological intervention for reducing the incidence of chronic tension headache”.
Touch therapy solutions have been proven to be very effective in both relieving and curing the majority of headache symptoms including pressure, sickness and of course, pain. A very common question is whether or not touch-therapy works instantly. Although it can vary from person to person, touch-therapy does provide instant relief to headache symptoms and works extremely quickly on numbing pain. If applied correctly, touch-therapy providers can actually identify signs of impending headaches, allowing them to relieve them before they occur. Remedies are available in a broad range of solutions including reflexology, acupressure solutions and trigger point simulation. Here are some techniques you can try for yourself:
- Place your hands behind your head and place both thumbs on opposing sides of your spine. You should be able to just feel the bony ridge (commonly known as the occipital ridge) at the bottom of your skull. Firmly press down and tilt your head slowly forwards and backwards. Repeat this move several times before relocating your thumbs closer to your ears. Tension headaches are commonly caused by the trigger points located in this muscle group.
- The next step is to position your middle and index fingers at the bottom of your skull. You can place these fingers just below your ears or either side of your neck (this is called the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle). Firmly apply pressure for 10 seconds before moving your fingers down the muscle about one and a half inches. Once again, firmly apply pressure for 10 seconds and repeat these steps all the way down the muscle until reaching the collarbone. Then repeat the same process but in the opposite direction, back up the SCM muscle. The SCM muscle is home to seven know trigger-points, making it one of the most susceptible muscles in the body.
- Eye Reflex – This is a reflex point that can be found between the bottom of the second and third toe on both feet. By applying pressure to this area with your thumbs, you can help subside tension headaches caused by eye strain. You should apply pressure for 10 seconds and release before making small circles on the same area.
- Neck Reflex – The neck reflex point can be found at the bottom of the big toe on both feet. You can increase circulation to the neck, assisting in the relief of headache pain, by applying pressure to the area for 10 seconds and by consequently making little circles with your thumbs.
- Brain Reflex Point – Located on the big toe of both feet, you can find this reflex point in the skin behind your toenail. Using your thumb, pinch the bottom of both big toes using your index finger for 10 seconds. Release the pressure and repeat. Next, make small circles using your thumb. For a bit of added pressure, it is highly recommended you use plastic clips, such as a clothes-peg. By stimulating this pressure point, you can help to release congested energy, consequently reliving headache pain.
Acupressure Solutions for Headaches
- ‘Drilling Bamboo’ – Using your index fingers, firmly apply pressure to the indented part of the skull where the ridge of the eyebrow and the bridge of the nose meet. Apply pressure for a maximum of 10 seconds at a time and release and repeat. This kind of remedy helps to relieve headaches that stem from sinus pain and eye strain.
- ‘Union Valley’ – Where the ‘webbed’ skin is between your thumb and your index finger, firmly apply pressure using your alternative finger and thumb, pinching it gently for 10 seconds. After applying pressure, make small circles with your thumb in a clockwise direction and then anti-clockwise. By applying firm pressure on this area, you are helping to release tension from the neck and head.
- ‘Gates of Consciousness’ – Place your index and middle fingers onto the back of your head, just below the base of your skull (you should feel hollow parts of either side of the neck, between the upward travelling neck muscles). Firmly press upwards on both sides of the muscle for 10 seconds. Release the pressure and repeat. This is a relatively strong muscle and should be able to handle more pressure than other parts of the body.
Natural Recipes for Curing Headaches
Here is an easy recipe you can use to make a solution that will help to relieve headaches. These sorts of solutions are commonly referred to as Aromatherapy remedies.
To get you started, you will need:
- 4 Drops of Spearmint Oil
- 2 Drops of Eucalyptus Oil
- 2 Ounces of Unscented Oil
- 8 Drops of Lavender Oil
Before you continue with creating your solution, it’s highly advised that you rub a few drops of the blend between your fingertips and leave it for a minute. As you commence with these solutions, the smell of these oils on your fingertips will help to soothe any stress and release any tension in your nerves. Always remember to keep these oils away from your eyes as they can cause irritation.
If pain persists, seek professional treatment
As with any problems you’re experiencing, if you’re unsure on how to use these solutions yourself, or you are still experiencing headaches and stress, it’s highly recommended that you visit an experienced professional who will be able to help you using advanced training methods. Here at Williamstown, we can provide a whole host of services from massage and trigger-point therapy, all the way through to pregnancy massages and Myotherapy solutions. You can find a complete list of our services on our website.
Williamstown Osteopathy & Pilates
95 Douglas Parade, Melbourne VIC 3016
(03) 9397 8877
Yarraville Clinic – Williamstown Osteopathy & Pilates
189 Somerville Rd, Yarraville VIC 3013
(03) 9397 8877