If you’ve ever felt a “knot” in your shoulder and dug in with your fingers to find both tension and relief, then the chances are you’ve found a myofascial trigger point – a knot of connective tissue that is tender to the touch and causes pain or other symptoms. This post today is all about getting to grips with myofascial trigger points.
Where are Myofascial Trigger Points Found
Myofascial trigger points can be found most commonly in the soft tissues of the body – the muscles and fascia – the connective tissue. They can also form in ligaments, tendons and nerves. Some can be as large as a golf ball, while others are as tiny as a grain of sand.
We owe a lot of our understanding of myofascial trigger points to Dr Janet Travell, personal physician to John F Kennedy, whose lifelong study of the phenomenon of myofascial trigger point syndromes started from her desire to understand often unexplainable pain symptoms.
One of her key discoveries is that the effects of a myofascial trigger point may be felt either where the trigger point is located or, more commonly, elsewhere in the body. This is called ‘referred pain’. Although myofascial trigger points are usually associated with pain, they can also produce a wide range of other symptoms including problems with vision, sleep coordination, and balance.
Despite Dr Travell’s work, myofascial trigger points are still not commonly understood from a medical perspective. The referred symptoms that mean trigger points are often overlooked and sometimes misdiagnosed as a better-known medical condition.
Getting To Grips With Myofascial Trigger Points
Nearly everyone experiences symptoms from myofascial trigger points at some time in their lives. The causes of trigger points can be due to trauma, such as an accident or surgery; overworked muscles through work or sport; or the simple wear and tear of daily living.
Many people don’t even know they have problem myofascial trigger points until they visit a massage therapist or other hands-on bodyworker. However, once you know about the typical patterns of pain and other symptoms caused by specific trigger points, it is easy to start to treat yourself. Regular self-care can address existing myofascial trigger points, it is easy to start to treat yourself. Regular self-care can address existing myofascial trigger points and prevent new ones from forming.
Working with your myofascial trigger points is not an exact science, as their location can vary from person to person. However, armed with a good trigger point book that shows ‘body maps’ of common referral patterns and typical trigger point locations, you can identify your most likely problem areas.
Start by getting the feel of myofascial trigger points. They may vary in size but will always feel tender to the touch. Sometimes pressing on a myofascial trigger point will recreate a familiar pain pattern, which means you are in the right place. Often the area you are working on will twitch as the trigger point releases.
Pressure is Key
Myofascial trigger points respond to gentle sustained pressure of up to 90 seconds. Working too hard or too fast can be painful and cause the tissues to tighten instead of releasing the restrictions that have caused the trigger point to form. Maintain the pressure until you feel a softening in the tissues or change in your pain. After 90 seconds release the pressure even if you feel no change in this session. Sometimes myofascial trigger points need to be worked on a few times to help them release.
You can apply pressure with your fingers, thumbs, or a soft fist. Or it’s often easier to use a ball, or a larger inflatable myofascial ball which creates a more gentle pressure.
Little and Often
Little and often is best when working with myofascial trigger points. Regular daily work brings the best results so aim for 20-30 minutes a day in total. Stretching after treatment is beneficial as this helps the muscles return to a relaxed state and prolongs the benefits of your self-care.
Here are some good areas to treat:
Back of Neck
Myofascial trigger point patterns here can cause a stiff painful neck, headaches and burning pain in the scalp. Trigger points under the base of the skull may also cause eye pain and disruption of vision.
Self-treatment: Place 2 inflatable myofascial balls in a bag and lie flat on the floor or your bed with a small pillow under the top of your head. Place the balls just below the base of your skull with one on either side of your spine for comfort. Rest on the balls and the weight of your head should be enough to help release trigger points here.
Top of Shoulder
Myofascial trigger point patterns at the top of the shoulder can cause problems with moving your arm in all directions and can affect movements such as waving, lifting and carrying items like shopping bags. Trigger points here are felt mainly when you use your arm and can also cause a sense of weakness in your arm and pain in your shoulder.
Self-treatment: Position a ball between the top of your shoulder and a wall. Move the ball around slowly until you find a tender area which is a myofascial trigger point. Lean into this with a sustained gentle pressure for at least 90 seconds, or until you feel a sense of eased tension or reduced pain.
Front of Pelvis
Myofascial trigger point patterns at the front of the pelvis can cause pain and tightness in the hips and legs when you walk, run, or go upstairs or up hills. Trigger points here can cause back pain, difficulty getting up from sitting, or standing for long periods, and also can affect your breathing if they restrict the movement of your diaphragm.
Self-treatment: To find the right area, feel on one side of your lower abdomen to locate your pelvic bone, place a ball just inside the bone on the soft tissue, and then lie on your front on the floor or a bed. This may cause an indigestion-like discomfort at first but maintain gentle pressure until the tenderness eases or for 90 seconds. You can then move the ball to work on the other side.
Myofascial trigger point patterns in the calves can give rise to pain in the calf itself, plantar fasciitis or foot pain, and lower back pain.
Self-treatment: sit on the floor with your back to a wall and place a ball under your calf letting your leg rest on it. Allow the weight of your leg to press the ball into your calf for 90 seconds or until you feel the tissue softening. You can move the ball to other tender points on your calf and repeat it.
I hope you find this post of interest. There is a book by Amanda Oswald who is a leading UK myofascial and trigger point specialist entitled “Living Pain-Free: Healing Chronic Pain with Myofascial Release and Trigger Points: Use the Power of Touch to Live Life Pain-Free”.
I’ve got it on my shopping list. As usual please feel free to visit my lifestyle blog which you can find by clicking here.
Today I am going to share with you new scientific research studies that I think you may find of interest as published by The Federation of Holistic Therapists.
Psychedelics: Placebo effects may be stronger than previously thought
Scientists from Canada’s McGill University have found that up to 61% of participants in an experiment reported some psychedelic effects after consuming a placebo administered in a psychedelic party setting with lights, a DJ, psychiatrists and technical assistants in lab coats, a security guard, and several actors trained in mimicking the expected effects that a dose of the real psychedelic drug would have. This is amongst the highest levels of response found so far in research into psychedelic drugs.
Recent research has shown that psychedelic drugs may have much to offer in the treatment of depression and anxiety. This study suggests that the context in which a drug or placebo is administered can be leveraged to give a comparable response, but using a lower dose of a psychoactive compound, or, indeed, a placebo treatment. The results may help explain the idea of a “contact high” where people experience the same reactions as someone who has taken a drug. They may also suggest that the current trend of micro-dosing, where very small amounts of psychedelic drugs are taken to enhance creativity may have a strong placebo effect.
Nutrition: Enzymes to reduce FODMAPs
Consuming foods that are high in FODMAP compounds often results in digestive distress, but a new study from the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland may offer a solution.
FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrate molecules that are poorly absorbed in the human small intestine. These non-absorbed compounds move along to the large intestine, where intestinal microbes feed on them. This results in the production of gases that causes symptoms especially for those suffering from intestinal disorders, but also for many others.
VTT used enzymes to break down galactan, commonly found in legumes and fructan, which is present in many cereals. Further studies showed that the enzymes also worked in the commercial preparation of food products. This would allow the food industry to reduce or eliminate problematic FODMAPs during processing. It’s thought that the research could lead to the introduction of new low FODMAP.
Pain – Spider venom may offer opioid alternative
The venom of tarantula spiders may offer pain relief without the addictive side-effects associated with opioid painkillers, according to new research published by the University of Queensland. The university’s research team used the molecules in the spider venom to create a mini-protein that binds to pain receptor sites in the body, blocking the transmission of pain signals. They hope new drugs developed from the venom will provide relief for severe chronic pain without causing addiction or serious withdrawal problems. So far, studies on mice have proved effective.
Nutrition: Statins appear to improve gut microbiome diversity in the obese
Obese people are frequently prescribed statins to lower their cholesterol levels, but the drugs may also offer the additional benefit of fostering a more diverse range of healthy gut microbiota. Previous studies have shown that obese individuals have a gut microbiome that differs from those in a healthy weight range, having a poorer bacterial diversity, with fewer good bacteria and more of the species that promote inflammation.
The results suggest that statins could potentially modulate the disrupted gut microbiota and linked inflammation in obesity.
Bone Health: Trials bring benefits of organic nitrates into doubt
Trials conducted by a research team at the University of Auckland have shown that organic nitrates do not have clinically relevant effects on bone mineral density or bone turnover in postmenopausal women, and the medications caused significant side effects.
Previously, several clinical trials suggested that organic nitrates could reduce the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women, who often experience a loss of bone density as they age. Some of these studies have subsequently been withdrawn as a result of scientific misconduct.
The new double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trials of three different preparations and two dosage levels showed that such treatment resulted in no differences in bone mineral density or bone turnover markers between organic nitrate treatment and placebo.
Diet: Potatoes can be a source of high-quality protein for women
Potatoes have traditionally been considered as a source of starchy carbohydrates, but researchers at McMaster University have discovered that potatoes can offer potential benefits as a source of protein, particularly as dietary trends change and worldwide demand has increased for plant-based alternatives to animal-derived sources.
Young women fed additional potato protein isolate increased the rate at which their muscles made new protein, while the placebo group did not.
Energy: Electrical activity in living organisms mirrors that of atmospheric electrical fields
We’ve known for over a century that living organisms demonstrate electrical activity at very low frequencies and that some diseases, such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s occur in conjunction with electric abnormalities in the body. Now a group of researchers at Tel Aviv University has shown a direct link between electrical fields in the atmosphere and those found in living organisms, including humans.
The paper published in the International Journal of Biometeorology, suggest that over evolutionary timescales, living organisms adapted and evolved to actually use the electricity in the environment in the form of global lightning. The process was likened to the evolution of our eyes being driven by sunlight.
Furthermore, in some animals, the electrical spectrum is difficult to differentiate from the background atmospheric electric field produced by lightning.
It is thought that the connection between the ever-present electromagnetic fields, between lightning in the atmosphere and human health, may have huge implications in the future for various treatments related to electrical abnormalities in our bodies.
Medical Herbalism: Magnolia bark compound may help with drug-resistant epilepsy
A paper presented in Chemical Neuroscience suggests that a compound derived from magnolia bark could quell drug-resistant seizures. Globally, around 50 million people have the disorder and around 30% of them find that the currently available drubs do little to control the disease. Some who can control the seizures with drugs find that they experience side effects ranging from dizziness to mood disruptions.
The research team looked at 14 plants used as anti-seizure remedies in Traditional Chinese Medicine and found that the bark of Magnolia Officinalis, a tree native to China, reduced seizure-like behaviour when tested on zebrafish and mice. In tests with mice, the researchers found that the magnolia bark’s most potent anti-seizure compound, magnolol, reduced the rodents’ otherwise drug-resistant seizures. It and similar compounds in magnolia bark could provide a starting point for the development of treatments for resistant epilepsy, according to the researchers.
I hope you found this post “New Scientific Research Studies” of interest I know I did.
Depression comes in all shapes and sizes and ticks various different boxes. The thing with depression is a lot of people are quite good at hiding it, in fact, they are very good. How many times have you heard that sadly someone had taken their own life and their friends and family didn’t have a clue. Believe me, it happens and it happens a lot. I will try and talk about what depression looks like but there is no description that fits all people. It is also one of those things that is so difficult to understand unless you have experienced it yourself. I hope today’s post goes some way to show you what depression looks like, also it might help if you are starting to think that you may be struggling with depression and also highlight some things to the loved ones of people who are struggling.
It is so important to be able to understand; it’s a valuable position to be in and you can help more than you realise. You don’t need to be a psychologist to help someone. The biggest thing you can do is to listen…. just that…. listen. No interruptions from you just be there for the other person. It takes a lot to be able to say “I’m struggling” so stop whatever it is you are doing and just be there. Believe me when I say you can make a difference!
I have experienced a lot of tragedy, hurt, pain, and loss throughout my life. Rape, murder, physical abuse, homelessness, emotional abuse, financial abuse, the list goes on. The last major episode was when I was in an abusive relationship and spent 8 months sleeping on the living room floor. That ended with me being found in the garden with a knife in my hands; needless to say I ended up in A&E with the crisis team. So I know what it feels like to be so desperately unhappy to the point where you can’t take anymore.
We all have different limits but there is a level to how much we can take as an individual. This is why it is so important to try and recognise the signs if you possibly can. I hope that today’s post will also give hope to people struggling. After everything I have been through I can promise you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
I have achieved a first-class honours degree while in an abusive relationship, homeless and with a new baby. I have retrained in complementary therapies while struggling with fibromyalgia and other chronic health conditions. I set up an online mental health support group while struggling with PTSD which now has over 500 members. I have this month set up a not-for-profit community interest company while we are in a pandemic. So seriously if I can get through to the other side there is no reason why you can’t either.
Emotions I Have Felt
Emotions I Now Feel
I felt unheard
I feel empowered
I felt judged
I feel strong
I didn’t feel good enough
I have self-worth
I didn’t feel worthy
I have passion
I felt left out
I believe in myself
I felt blamed
I have the power within in me to achieve anything I want to
I felt uncared for
I have love in my life
I felt unloved
I have compassion
I felt controlled
I have empathy
I felt betrayed
I have kindness
I felt unimportant
I have friends
I felt disrespected
I have my life
I felt desperately sad
I have tenacity
It Can and Does Happen To Anyone
Depression, anxiety, etc can happen to anyone and everyone. It can creep up on you and it can hit you suddenly for all sorts of reasons. Today is the basics for people to understand that it affects everyone and anyone and you know what it is ok; it doesn’t mean you have failed at something, or you are not good enough. All that is bollocks. The more we talk about it the better it will be. We live in a crazy world and we all need help even if it is just a hug; we all have needs and we are all different thank God.
As nearly everyone knows depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It affects how you feel, think, and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. It is a cruel illness. It moves over you like a black fog until you feel like you are clinging onto a clifftop by your fingertips. The easy thing to do is just let go the hard thing is to climb back up. People are there to help you climb back up; you are loved more than you will ever know. There is always another option.
So I have written a list of things that you can feel or experience when suffering from depression. The list is just a way to make you think about where you are emotionally; do any of these things below resonate with you? If they do then please talk to someone. You can talk to your GP, a friend, a boss, the Samaritans, Mind, there are a lot of groups out there and I will be providing the information for all of these organisations on a separate page.
Canceling plans at the last minute
Believe you are a burden to people
Eating all the time or not at all
Mood swings that can last for hours or days
Being emotionally distant
Constantly needing reassurance
Isolating to protect themselves
Having an outburst over something that others would consider to be small
Pretending to be happy or okay
Feeling incomplete and messed up
Avoiding people and social interaction
Sleeping too much or too little
Increased use of drugs or alcohol
I am not going to end this post without some kind of self-help so please find below 10 ways you can try to help yourself get to a better place.
Things You Can Do
Commit to plans, practices, habits, rituals, routines that are good for your well-being – even when you don’t want to.
Allow yourself to feel a multitude of feelings without labeling it as wrong, bad or negative.
Practice listening to your needs and discovering different ways of meeting those needs.
Practice self-forgiveness for not being perfect, for forgetting, for your past, for what you don’t know, and for getting “off track: sometimes.
Let yourself start again, over and over, as often as needed.
Take care of your basic needs, stay hydrated, get enough sleep, move your body, and eat plentifully.
Give yourself permission to rest, to take breaks, and to have downtime.
Spend quality time with yourself: reading, writing, creating and getting to know who you are underneath who you think you should be.
Use a lens of curiosity and compassion with yourself as often as possible.
Remind yourself that you are as worthy as anyone else in life. Make yourself a priority in your own life.
I hope you find this post valuable. If you would like to leave comments or ask me questions then please do and I will get back to you as soon as I possibly can. I suffer with depression and have bad days just like a lot of others do. However, I will always be here and will continue to raise mental health awareness and continually fight to prevent suicide.
This weekend I listened to my own advice and I went outside to a wooded area, surrounded myself with nature and walked the dog with my daughter. Every day is precious and every day should be celebrated in a small way.
I hope you enjoy your weekend and I will speak to you again on Monday.
I don’t know about you guys but it is very easy to lose sight of what you are passionate about while being in lockdown. Times are scary, unknown and we lose track. We have a future we are uncertain about and we don’t know which way that will take us as a nation, a community and as an individual. This is the reason that today I am sharing with you 10 questions to find and ignite your passion.
I have been a bit in limbo and it dawned on me today just how much I’d lost my mojo. So today’s post is all about looking within and reconnecting to the things you are passionate about and to use these as a focus for our future lives. Because one day we will get them back; so just hang on in there.
If you don’t have one it might be worth getting a really nice book/journal and a nice pen. and get into the habit of writing things down; like the questions and answers to the below. When you get five minutes pick it up and give it a read; form the answers in your head and visualise yourself doing them.
What was your favourite thing to do growing up?
When you were a child what did you dream of doing when you grew up?
What is your favourite topic to talk about?
What is it you like doing so much that you lose track of time?
Whose life do you envy the most and why?
What would you do differently with your education if you got a chance to start over?
If you had 5 minutes and the whole world was forced to listen what would you say?
What would you do with your life if you had no fear?
What would you do with your life if you had a guarantee of success?
What would you do with your life if money wasn’t an issue?
I will be writing a lot more posts during lockdown so please feel free to keep visiting.
As you know I am now a “not for profit” community interst company. I set this up to provide free complementary therapies to people in emotional crisis and on a low income. To do this I have to apply for grants, fundraise etc. Also the profit from private clients gets put back into the company.
Unfortunately my start date coincided with lockdown and isolation so it is proving to be very difficult to fundraise and to also help anyone who really needs it. It occurred to me yesterday that I could encourage the sale of gift vouchers through this site which can be then used by the frontline workers fighting the coronavirus.
All you need to do is when completing the gift voucher is to put NHS in the “to” section. This will mean that the money will be put to one side so that on the day we are allowed back to work I can start treating front line workers immediately. I am also putting together a group of volunteers that will be willing to assist me.
I know it is difficult right now with money and believe me I am in the same boat as you but even £1 can make a difference.
Please help me to help the people who need this.
Thank you for reading and thank you for helping it is greatly appreciated. If you could also share this post I would be extremely grateful.
Today’s post so what’s going on in the world of Karma Times is basically just that. An update of what I’ve done, where I am now and where I’m going.
Some of you may already know but for those that don’t I have officially finished my studies and am now a qualified complementary theapist. This is one of the best things I have ever done. It has taken me a long time to find a job that I actually love so feel very privilidged. The treatments I am currently offering are reflexology, aromatherapy, massage and Reiki but more will be added.
Nail Technology Training
Because I actually enjoyed the learning process so much I made the decision to study level 3 Nail Technology so that I can provide pedicures and manicures alongside hand and foot reflexology. It will also be a seperate add-on that I can provide a range of manicures, nail enhancements etc as an extra which is great because that appeals to my creative side and breaks my routine up slightly.
The nail course runs for 26 weeks and is quite intense. But throughout the year I will be adding nail related treatments/services as and when I have received the training to a suitable level to practice. So keep a look out for that one.
In about 2-3 weeks I will be also starting my level 2 beauty so will be able to provide facials, waxing etc. I am now also seriously considering Level 3 beauty afterwards so that I can provide mini makeovers for people who need a bit of a lift on an emotional level. Where that is someone who has just broken up with a partner, or recovering from cancer etc..
The setting up of a social enterprise is extremely important to me and is definitely my aim. I want to be able to provide complementary therapies and now also beauty therapies for people struggling and having an emotional or physical crisis. As I have said before the people who really need these services and treatments can’t afford to have them. I know this because I was one of them. I have seen the difference these things make first hand. I will be looking for sponsorship and financial backing moving forward to help make this happen. So if there is anyone reading this who can help please do not hesitate to contact me.
My aim is also to provide a monthly meeting for people who are struggling with a variety of things. It will be a social club but with a difference. It will cover healthy eating, weight loss, exercises as in stretching etc, mindfulness, different forms of creativity, coffee, chat, anxiety, depression, social anxiety help, and also for people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, fibromyalgia, ME, MS etc.. Hopefully at some point in the future it will become a weekly meeting.
What’s going on in the world of Karma Times
I think I have covered the above as best I can. There will be a lot more going on but this is enough at the moment.
I am pleased to confirm that I will now be practicing from my treatment room at Capello’s salon, on Kings Road, Harrogate on every Wednesday and Thursday.
There will be the possibility that other days will become available for appointments but due to further studying other commitments I will be concentrating on these two days at the moment.
If you would like to book an appointment please contact me directly and not the salon. My number is 07939 640338. Please feel free to leave me a message or send a text if I am not available to talk to you and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Migraines affect twice as many women as men and are experienced by one in seven people in the UK )Migraine Action, 2018).
Reflexology could be a beneficial treatment for people who are experiencing migraines, a recent study suggests (Imani et al, 2018).
A randomised controlled trial was conducted, with 75 male subjects divided into three equal groups, receiving reflexology (intervention), a placebo or no intervention (control) to evaluate the effects of the therapy on nitroglycerin-induced migraine-type headaches.
Researchers collected data using a patient information form created for the study and a numeric rating scale to measure pain intensity.
Subjects in the intervention group received foot reflexology, focusing on the points corresponding to the brain, for 10 minutes on each foot. For the placebo group, subjects to received an ineffective foot massage, focusing on unspecified points on the heel that didn’t relate to the head. Both treatments were repeated three hours later, with data collected at the start of the study and after interventions.
The results showed a statistically significant reduction of headache intensity in the reflexology group when compared with both other groups after treatments.
Why am I telling you all this? I’m telling you this because after Easter I will be studying reflexology so will be looking for lots of local volunteers to practice on. I am also writing about this because I struggle with migraines and headaches; whether it is part of the fibromyalgia I don’t know but believe me when I say I know how debilitating they are.
20 Ways To Get Rid Of A Migraine
Headaches are a common condition that many people deal with on a daily basis.
Ranging from uncomfortable to downright unbearable, they can disrupt your day-to-day life.
Several types of headaches exist, with tension headaches being the most common. Cluster headaches are painful and happen in groups or “clusters,” while migraines are a moderate-to-severe type of headache.
Although many medications are targeted at relieving headache symptoms, a number of effective, natural treatments also exist.
Here are 19 other effective home remedies to naturally get rid of headaches and prevent migraines
Inadequate hydration may lead you to develop a headache. In fact, studies have demonstrated that chronic dehydration is a common cause of tension headaches and migraines .
Thankfully, drinking water has been shown to relieve headache symptoms in most dehydrated individuals within 30 minutes to three hours. What’s more, being dehydrated can impair concentration and cause irritability, making your symptoms seem even worse.
To help avoid dehydration headaches, focus on drinking enough water throughout the day and eating water-rich foods.
Take Some Magnesium
Magnesium is an important mineral necessary for countless functions in the body, including blood sugar control and nerve transmission.
Interestingly, magnesium has also been shown to be a safe, effective remedy for headaches. Evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency is more common in people who get frequent migraine headaches, compared to those who don’t.
Studies have shown that treatment with 600 mg of oral magnesium citrate per day helped reduce both the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.
However, taking magnesium supplements can cause digestive side effects like diarrhea in some people, so it’s best to start with a smaller dose when treating headache symptoms.
While having an alcoholic drink may not cause a headache in most people, studies have shown that alcohol can trigger migraines in about one-third of those who experience frequent headaches.
Alcohol has also been shown to cause tension and cluster headaches in many people. It’s a vasodilator, meaning it widens blood vessels and allows blood to flow more freely.
Vasodilation may cause headaches in some people. In fact, headaches are a common side effect of vasodilators like blood pressure medications. Additionally, alcohol acts as a diuretic, causing the body to lose fluid and electrolytes through frequent urination. This fluid loss can lead to dehydration, which can cause or worsen headaches.
For example, one study compared headache frequency and severity in those who got less than six hours of sleep per night and those who slept longer. It found that those who got less sleep had more frequent and severe headaches.
However, getting too much sleep has also been shown to trigger headaches, making getting the right amount of rest important for those looking for natural headache prevention. For maximum benefits, aim for the “sweet spot” of seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
Avoid Foods High In Histamine
Histamine is a chemical found naturally in the body that plays a role in the immune, digestive and nervous systems. It’s also found in certain foods like aged cheeses, fermented food, beer, wine, smoked fish and cured meats.
Studies suggest consuming histamine may cause migraines in those who are sensitive to it. Some people are not able to excrete histamine properly because they have impaired function of the enzymes responsible for breaking it down.
Cutting histamine-rich foods from the diet may be a useful strategy for people who get frequent headaches.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids that contain aromatic compounds from a variety of plants. They have many therapeutic benefits and are most often used topically, though some can be ingested.
Peppermint and lavender essential oils are especially helpful when you have a headache. Applying peppermint essential oil to the temples has been shown to reduce the symptoms of tension headaches.
Meanwhile, lavender oil is highly effective at reducing migraine pain and associated symptoms when applied to the upper lip and inhaled.
Try A B-Vitamin Complex
B vitamins are a group of water-soluble micronutrients that play many important roles in the body. For example, they contribute to neurotransmitter synthesis and help turn food into energy. Some B vitamins may have a protective effect against headaches.
Several studies have shown that the B vitamin supplements riboflavin (B2), folate, B12 and pyridoxine (B6) may reduce headache symptoms. B-complex vitamins contain all eight of the B vitamins and are a safe, cost-effective way to naturally treat headache symptoms.
B vitamins are considered safe to take on a regular basis, as they are water-soluble and any excess will be flushed out through the urine.
Soothe Pain With A Cold Compress
Using a cold compress may help reduce your headache symptoms. Applying cold or frozen compresses to the neck or head area decreases inflammation, slows nerve conduction and constricts blood vessels, all of which help reduce headache pain.
In one study in 28 women, applying a cold gel pack to the head significantly reduced migraine pain. To make a cold compress, fill a waterproof bag with ice and wrap it in a soft towel. Apply the compress to the back of the neck, head or temples for headache relief.
Consider Taken Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance produced naturally by the body that helps turn food into energy and functions as a powerful antioxidant. Studies have shown that taking CoQ10 supplements may be an effective and natural way to treat headaches.
For example, one study in 80 people demonstrated that taking 100 mg of CoQ10 supplements per day reduced migraine frequency, severity and length.
Another study including 42 people who experienced frequent migraines found that three 100-mg doses of CoQ10 throughout the day helped decrease migraine frequency and migraine-related symptoms like nausea.
Try An Elimination Diet
Studies suggest that food intolerances can trigger headaches in some people. To discover if a certain food is causing frequent headaches, try an elimination diet that removes the foods most related to your headache symptoms.
Aged cheese, alcohol, chocolate, citrus fruits and coffee are among the most commonly reported food triggers in people with migraines. In one small study, a 12-week elimination diet decreased the number of migraine headaches people experienced. These effects started at the four-week mark.
Read more here about how to follow an elimination diet properly.
Drink Caffeinated Tea or Coffee
Sipping on beverages that contain caffeine, such as tea or coffee, may provide relief when you are experiencing a headache. Caffeine improves mood, increases alertness and constricts blood vessels, all of which can have a positive effect on headache symptoms.
It also helps increase the effectiveness of common medications used to treat headaches, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. However, caffeine withdrawal has also been shown to cause headaches if a person regularly consumes large amounts of caffeine and suddenly stops. Therefore, people who get frequent headaches should be mindful of their caffeine intake.
Acupuncture is a technique of Traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate specific points on the body. This practice has been linked to a reduction in headache symptoms in many studies.
A review of 22 studies including more than 4,400 people found that acupuncture was as effective as common migraine medications. Another study found that acupuncture was more effective and safer than topiramate, an anticonvulsant drug used to treat chronic migraines.
If you’re looking for a natural way to treat chronic headaches, acupuncture may be a worthwhile choice.
Relax With Yoga
Practicing yoga is an excellent way to relieve stress, increase flexibility, decrease pain and improve your overall quality of life. Taking up yoga may even help reduce the intensity and frequency of your headaches.
One study investigated the effects of yoga therapy on 60 people with chronic migraines. Headache frequency and intensity were reduced more in those receiving both yoga therapy and conventional care, compared to those receiving conventional care alone.
Another study found that people who practiced yoga for three months had a significant reduction in headache frequency, severity and associated symptoms, compared to those who did not practice yoga.
Avoid Strong Smells
Strong odors like those from perfumes and cleaning products can cause certain individuals to develop headaches. A study that involved 400 people who experienced either migraine or tension headaches found that strong odors, especially perfumes, often triggered headaches.
This hypersensitivity to odors is called osmophobia and common in those with chronic migraines. If you think you may be sensitive to smells, avoiding perfumes, cigarette smoke and strongly scented foods may help decrease your chance of getting a migraine.
Try An Herbal Remedy
Certain herbs including feverfew and butterbur may reduce headache symptoms.
Feverfew is a flowering plant that has anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies suggest that taking feverfew supplements in doses of 50–150 mg per day may reduce headache frequency. However, other studies have failed to find a benefit.
Butterbur root comes from a perennial shrub native to Germany and, like feverfew, has anti-inflammatory effects. Several studies have shown that taking butterbur extract in doses of 50–150 mg reduces headache symptoms in both adults and children.
Feverfew is generally considered safe if taken in recommended amounts. However, butterbur should be treated with caution, as unpurified forms can cause liver damage, and the effects of its long-term use are unknown.
Avoid Nitrates and Nitrites
Nitrates and nitrites are common food preservatives added to items like hot dogs, sausages and bacon to keep them fresh by preventing bacterial growth. Foods containing them have been shown to trigger headaches in some people.
Nitrites may trigger headaches by causing the expansion of blood vessels. In order to minimize your exposure to nitrites, limit the amount of processed meats in your diet and choose nitrate-free products whenever possible.
The only bacon now that I eat is nitrate free.
Sip Some Ginger Tea
Ginger root contains many beneficial compounds, including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances.
One study in 100 people with chronic migraines found that 250 mg of ginger powder was as effective as the conventional headache medication sumatriptan at reducing migraine pain. What’s more, ginger helps reduce nausea and vomiting, common symptoms associated with severe headaches.
You can take ginger powder in capsule form or make a powerful tea with fresh ginger root.
Get Some Exercise
One of the simplest ways to reduce headache frequency and severity is to engage in physical activity.
For example, one study in 91 people found 40 minutes of indoor cycling three times per week was more effective than relaxation techniques at reducing headache frequency. Another large study including more than 92,000 people showed that a low-level of physical activity was clearly associated with an increased risk of headaches.
There are many ways to increase your activity level, but one of the easiest methods is to simply increase the amount of steps you take throughout the day.
Try CBD Oil
I’m relatively new with CBD oil and I am trying different varieties. I have used the capsules from CBD Brothers (online store) and so far they have been amazing. I am now trying the Simply CBD drops and they don’t seem to work as well and although it is supposed to be lemon flavour it doesn’t have a nice aftertaste so be prepared to drink something afterwards to get rid of the taste. I will do a more thorough article about CBD oil in a separate post.
Ultimately, many people are negatively impacted by frequent headaches, making it important to find natural and effective treatment options.
Yoga, supplements, essential oils and dietary modifications are all natural, safe and effective ways to reduce headache symptoms.
While traditional methods like medications are often necessary, there are many natural and effective ways to prevent and treat headaches if you’re looking for a more holistic approach.
I hope you liked 20 ways to get rid of a migraine helpful and if you have any to add to the list please do so.