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How Are Headaches Classified?

Primary Headaches

Secondary Headaches

Cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches

Headaches during pregnancy

Menstrual Headaches

What can be done about menstrual headaches?

Ayurvedic Treatment for Menstrual Headaches

Headaches in Children

Top Triggers That Can Cause Headache

When should I seek medical care for a headache?

When to Call the Doctor If Your Child Has a Headache?

Ayurvedic Treatment for Headache

Home Remedies

Dietary Treatments for Headache

A headache or cephalgia (one of the Shiro Roga in Ayurveda) is pain anywhere in the region of the head or neck. It can be a symptom of a number of different conditions of the head and neck.  The brain tissue itself is not sensitive to pain because it lacks pain receptors. Rather, the pain is caused by disturbance of the pain-sensitive structures around the brain. Several areas of the head and neck have these pain-sensitive structures, which are divided in two categories: within the cranium (blood vessels, meninges, and the cranial nerves) and outside the cranium (the periosteum of the skull, muscles, nerves, arteries and veins, subcutaneous tissues, eyes, ears, sinuses and mucous membranes).

Headache is one of the most frequent of human discomforts. In today’s life headache is a regular feature. Most of the times a headache is more of a nagging nuisance than an indicator of a serious problem. But, in some cases the headache does warrant more serious attention as it can be the indicator of some significant problem.

How Are Headaches Classified?

Headaches have numerous causes, and in 2007 the International Headache Society agreed upon an updated classification system for headache. Because so many people suffer from headaches and because treatment sometimes is difficult, it is hoped that the new classification system will allow physicians to arrive at a specific diagnosis as to the type of headache and to provide better and more effective treatment.

There are three major categories of headaches:

  1. Primary headaches
  2. Secondary headaches
  3. Cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches
Primary Headaches
Primary headaches include migraine, tension, and cluster headaches, as well as a variety of other less common types of headache.

1. Tension headaches are the most common type of primary headache. Up to 90% of adults have had or will have tension headaches. While tension headaches are the most frequently occurring type of headache, their cause is not known. The most likely cause is contraction of the muscles that cover the skull. When the muscles covering the skull are stressed, they may spasm and cause pain. Common sites include the base of the skull where the trapezius muscles of the neck inserts, the temple where muscles that move the jaw are located, and the forehead.

Tension headaches occur because of physical or emotional stress placed on the body. These stressors can cause the muscles surrounding the skull to clench the teeth and go into spasm. Physical stressors include difficult and prolonged manual labour, or sitting at a desk or computer for long periods of time concentrating. Emotional stress may also cause tension headaches by causing the muscles surrounding the skull to contract.

Tension headaches occur more commonly among women than men. The pain is often described as:

  • The pain begins in the back of the head and upper neck and is described as a band-like tightness or pressure.
  • Often is described as pressure encircling the head with the most intense pressure over the eyebrows.
  • The pain usually is mild (not disabling) and bilateral (affecting both sides of the head).
  • The pain occurs sporadically (infrequently and without a pattern) but can occur frequently and even daily in some people.
  • The pain allows most people to function normally, despite the headache.

A major distinction between tension headaches and migraines is that tension headaches typically are not accompanied by nausea or vomiting, and they're usually not made worse by physical activity — symptoms that do often occur with migraines.

1.Migraine headaches are the second most common type of primary headache. Migraine headaches affect children as well as adults. Before puberty, boys and girls are affected equally by migraine headaches, but after puberty, more women than men are affected. The World Health Organization estimated in 2003 that 303 million people worldwide were migraineurs. A 2004 article suggested that there are almost 20 million migraine attacks happening every day. It is estimated that 8% of men and up to 25% of women will experience a migraine headache in their lifetime.

Migraine headaches can cause the following symptoms:

  • Pounding, throbbing pain or dull, steady pain on one or both sides of the head
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach aches
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Seeing spots or halos
  • Sensitivity to light, noise, and/or smells

Most migraines last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. Some can last as long as a couple of days. Some people with migraines:

  • Just don't feel right. Light, smell, or sound may bother them or make them feel worse. Sometimes, if they try to continue with their usual routine after the migraine starts, they may become nauseated and vomit. Often the pain begins only on one side of the head. Trying to perform physical activities can make the pain worse.
  • Get auras, a kind of warning that a migraine is on the way (usually about 10 to 30 minutes before the start of a migraine). The auras may only be seen in one eye. Common auras include blurred vision, seeing spots, jagged lines, or flashing lights, or smelling a certain odour.
  • Experience a migraine premonition hours to days prior to the actual headache. This is slightly different from auras and may cause cravings for different foods, thirst, irritability, or feelings of intense energy.
  • Have muscle weakness, lose their sense of coordination, or stumble.

People having migraine often get prodromal symptoms ( features which occur before the actual onset of headache ) like seeing flashes of light, nausea, tingling on the face, etc. They should then immediately take the medication prescribed by their doctor because it is easier to control the headache before it comes on full blown rather than after it has occurred.

2. Cluster headaches are a rare type of primary headache affecting 0.1% of the population (1 in a 1,000 people). It more commonly affects men in their late 20s though women and children can also suffer these types of headache. The cause of cluster headaches is uncertain. It may be that certain parts of the brain begin to malfunction for an unknown reason. The hypothalamus, an area located at the base of the brain is responsible for the body's biologic clock and may be the part of the brain that is the source for the headaches. When brain scans are performed on patients who are in the midst of a cluster headache, there is abnormal activity in the hypothalamus. Cluster headaches also:

  • Tend to run in families and this suggests that there may be a genetic role;
  • May be triggered by changes in sleep patterns;
  • May be triggered by medications (for example, nitro-glycerine, used for heart disease).

If an individual is in a susceptible period for cluster headache, cigarette smoking, alcohol, and some foods (for example, chocolate) also can be potential causes for headache.

The symptoms are:

During the period in which the cluster headaches occur, pain typically occurs once or twice daily, but some patients may experience pain more than twice daily.

Each episode of pain lasts from 30 to 90 minutes.

  • Attacks tend to occur at about the same time every day and often awaken the patient at night from a sound sleep.
  • The pain typically is excruciating and located around or behind one eye. <
  • Some patients describe the pain as feeling like a hot poker in the eye. The affected eye may become red, inflamed, and watery.
  • The nose on the affected side may become congested and runny.

Unlike patients with migraine headaches, patients with cluster headaches tend to be restless. They often pace the floor, bang their heads against a wall, and can be driven to desperate measures. Cluster headaches are much more common in men than women.

Primary headaches can affect the quality of life. Some people have occasional headaches that resolve quickly while others are debilitated. While these headaches are not life-threatening, they may be associated with symptoms that can mimic strokes or intracerebral bleeding.

Secondary Headaches
Secondary headaches are due to an underlying disease or injury that needs to be diagnosed and treated. Some of the causes of secondary headache may be potentially life-threatening and deadly. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential if damage is to be limited.There are eight categories of secondary headache. A few examples in each category are noted.
Head and neck trauma
  • Injuries to the head may cause bleeding in the spaces between the layers of tissue that surround the brain (subdural, epidural and subarachnoid spaces) or within the brain tissue itself.
  • Concussions, where head injury occurs without bleeding
  • A symptom of whiplash and neck injury

Blood vessel problems in the head and neck

  • Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Arteriovenous malformations (AVM) may cause headache before they leak
  • Carotid artery inflammation
  • Temporal arteritis (inflammation of the temporal artery)

Non-blood vessel problems of the brain

  • Brain tumours, either primary, originating in the brain, or metastatic from a   cancer that began in another organ
  • Seizures
  • Idiopathic intracranial hypertension, once named pseudotumour cerebri, where the pressure is too high in the cerebrospinal fluid within the spinal canal.

Medications and drugs (including withdrawal from those drugs)


  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Systemic infections (for example, pneumonia or influenza)

Changes in the body's environment

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Dehydration
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Renal dialysis

Problems with the eyes, ears,

nose throat, teeth and neck

Psychiatric disorders

Cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches
Neuralgia means nerve pain. Cranial neuralgia describes a group of headaches that occur because the nerves in the head and upper neck become inflamed and become the source of the pain in the head. Facial pain and a variety of other causes for headache are included in this category.

People having migraine often get prodromal symptoms ( features which occur before the actual onset of headache ) like seeing flashes of light, nausea, tingling on the face, etc. They should then immediately take the medication prescribed by their doctor because it is easier to control the headache before it comes on full blown rather than after it has occurred.

Headaches during pregnancy
It's not unusual to get headaches when you're pregnant, especially in the first trimester. And if you've always been susceptible to them, pregnancy can make the problem worse.

Headaches occur in over 80 percent of women during their childbearing years, thus they often present during pregnancy. The hormonal changes accompanying the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and the postpartum period are thought to be responsible for many headaches in women of reproductive age. More than 90 percent of these headaches are either migraine or tension-type headaches, both of which are typically more severe in women than in men.

For most pregnant women, headaches tend to diminish or even disappear during the second trimester, when the flood of hormones stabilizes and the body grows accustomed to its altered chemistry.

Menstrual Headaches
When you have your period, you may experience many uncomfortable symptoms, such as cramping, bloating or headaches. Menstrual headaches can generally be classified into two sections; those that are caused by psychological and those caused by physical factors. Normally, it is the latter that are responsible for menstrual headaches in most women.

Psychological causes: General anxiety along with the other everyday forms of stress, overwork and fatigue can trigger menstrual headaches. If these aspects of your life cannot be reasonably managed, their ability to destabilize a person emotionally is well known. This in turn has an effect on the body, creating changes that can instigate menstrual headaches. Upon returning to healthy work/stress levels, menstrual headaches as a result of psychological causes will generally stop.

Physical causes: The most likely cause of menstrual headaches is hormonal imbalance, given that declining oestrogen hormones are widely held to be responsible for migraines and headaches along with a host of other symptoms. This is because when hormones fluctuate the blood vessels in the brain tend to expand, causing headaches and migraines. When oestrogen hormones start dropping, this intensifies the process and menstrual headaches become more frequent and painful. The best way to avoid menstrual headaches in these cases is to keep a balanced level of oestrogen hormones.
What can be done about menstrual headaches?

Identifying whether the menstrual headaches are a symptom of menopause being caused by psychological or physiological factors is vital in choosing an effective treatment. If menstrual headaches are being caused by lifestyle stresses, such as overwork and lack of sleep, these are problems that can be handled through a change of diet or exercise routine.

If, on the other hand, the menstrual headaches are being caused by physical changes as a result of menopause, a hormonal balancing program could the best solution, particularly if the headaches are leaving you feeling distressed. Alternative medicine treatments have been shown to work naturally, and often target the issue of hormonal imbalance. Of course, it goes without saying that a combination of a healthy lifestyle along with alternative medicine supplements proves the most effective treatment. More specific treatments for menstrual headaches can be found at this link.

There are ways to alleviate symptoms and even curtail headaches all together.

    • Talk to your doctor if your headaches are severe during menstruation and he may prescribe a stronger pain reliever that you can take daily when you have your period.
    • Practice good lifestyle habits to help prevent headaches such as drinking plenty of water (at least 8 cups per day), exercising, and getting enough rest.
    • Limit salt intake in the days before and during menstruation. You retain fluid during menstruation, which can cause headaches, and sodium can cause you to retain extra fluid.
    • Consider switching birth control pills. Some birth control pills have a large oestrogen drop during the placebo phase, which may cause you to get a severe headache. Some pills offer less of an intense drop by shortening or eliminating the placebo phase; or there are progestin-only birth control pills. You can also switch methods all together to a hormone-free option.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Menstrual Headaches
Ayurvedic Treatment for Menstrual Headaches

Manasamitra Vatakkam - 2 tablets once a day

Stressnorm – 1 capsule once a day

Headaches Due to Severe Acidity

Headache due to acidity is caused mainly because of absorbing toxic products from the colon. When constipated the undigested food putrefies and releases toxins. These toxins and gases get released into the blood and cause irritation in nerves and nerve cells. This irritation of in turn results in headaches.

Taking pain killers to treat headaches due to severe acidity, is not a better solution, as the pain killers have other harmful side effects on other body parts. Home remedies and natural cures are the best remedies as they are effective, have no side effects, cheap, and they are easily available.

Headache remedies due to severe acidity:

Eating apples every morning on an empty stomach , with little salt is very beneficial in treating headaches due to acidity troubles. Apples are one of the simplest headache remedies due to severe acidity.

Eating 8-12 basil leaves anytime can provide quick relief from acidity .This will reduce headache. It is a very useful natural remedy for headaches from acidity.

  • Take mint capsules containing peppermint oil after your meal. They lessen gas formation and thus headache caused by severe acidity.
  • Take ½ glass butter milk with 1 tsp coriander juice. Drink this combination and you will get relief from acidity and headache. It is another proven headache remedy due to severe acidity.
  • Take 10 ml. Indian gooseberry juice with 5 grams raw sugar crystals. Take this combination 2-3 times in a day to get relief from headache due to acidity. It is a good home remedy for headache from acidity.

Headaches due to High Blood pressure – Headache due to hypertension is mainly because of pressure within the arteries mainly in the smaller arteries especially in the brain. Headache due to blood pressure is mainly experienced at the back of head and it is more severe when the person wakes up in the morning.

The same causes of headache have been explained in Ayurveda also. These causes vitiate all the three doshas (vata, pitta and kapha). The vitiated doshas cause tension, migraine, sinus and other headaches.

Headaches in Children
Whether they're pounding and throbbing or dull and aching, headaches are common in kids. Headaches can have a wide range of causes and many levels of severity. It's important to understand how to recognize when a headache is just a passing pain and when it's something more and requires medical attention.
Top Triggers That Can Cause Headache
If you have had headaches since childhood, for whatever particular reason, you most certainly must have been to the doctor to get yourself checked out. When the doctor was examining you, he may have mentioned the word 'trigger'. What is this trigger?

In the case of a headache, the word 'trigger' means something that initiates the headache. The trigger may not be the direct cause of the headache, but it assists or provokes the start of an attack in a patient who already suffers from them.

Everybody may have a different cause behind the triggers of their headaches. Common headache triggers vary, depending upon the type of headache and on the individual.

Below is the list of probable causes and the effective ways to deal with them:

1. Stress

Stress is the most common trigger for most headaches. Stress at work, personal problems, depression or frustration can trigger some severe cases of headache, both tension headaches (also called stress headaches) and migraines. The best way to avoid this trigger is to de-stress regularly using some effective meditation technique.

2. Specific foods

Fruits like avocado, papaya, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, vegetables like raw garlic, lentils, mushrooms, olives, onions, dairy products like sour cream, yogurt, cheese, red wine and food additives like Ajinomoto (Monosodium glutamate or MSG) are also responsible for triggering a headache. But these factors are only dependent on the individuals. So if you are suffering from these triggers, it is best to avoid them altogether.

3. Seasonal changes

Many people experience headaches or migraines during the change of seasons, when the weather changes from a sunny day to a rainy day etc. This is because the hypothalamus is very sensitive to seasonal variation. These weather-related headaches are more commonly known as barometric pressure headaches. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid these other than taking some form of medication.

4. Sleep deprivation

With our fast-paced lives, it is very difficult to get eight sound hours of sleep. It has been seen that those who slept an average of six hours a night had significantly more severe and more frequent headaches than those who got more than eight hours of sleep. So make sure you get a good eight hours of sleep everyday to wake up fresh and lively.

5. Sex

In one survey, 46 percent of headache sufferers said sex had triggered a headache. Mostly men confirmed that the pain builds during foreplay or they get a sudden headache around orgasm. This pain is a result of overexertion of the body. Physical exertion causes blood vessels in the neck, head, and scalp to swell, producing a build-up in pressure. So if you feel tired and exhausted, take a break from your nightly schedule. Strenuous exercise can also lead to exertion headaches.

6. Poor posture

The way you sit can also trigger tension headaches, as a result of pressure build-up in the head and neck muscles. Slouching at your desk, hunching your shoulders, staring at a screen that is too low or too high, using a chair with poor support for the lower back and using your shoulder and ear to hold the phone are all examples of poor posture. Take a good look at your workspace and make sure it is set up in a way to prevent headaches.

7. Nutrition

You are more vulnerable to a headache if you are dehydrated or have not received proper nutrition. Low blood sugar, high blood sugar and other food-related issues can cause blood vessels to dilate, which further triggers headaches. So listen to your body often. If you feel hungry or thirsty, don't deprive your body of what it requires.

8. Certain smells

Certain smells like household cleaners, along with perfumes and fragrances, air fresheners, house paint etc contain chemicals that can bring on headaches or trigger migraines in many people. If you're susceptible to headaches brought on by these smells, avoid them altogether. Use a table fan to drive these fumes away.

9. Hair accessories

Hair accessories can also trigger headaches, depending upon how you wear them. For example, a tight ponytail can cause strain on the connective tissue of the scalp, leading to a hairdo headache. Tight-fitting hats, braids and headbands can also have the same effect. If you notice problems, try to avoid keeping your hair pulled back too tightly and let it loose.

10. Hormonal changes

When oestrogen levels (female sex hormones) fluctuate dramatically, just before and during a woman's menstrual period, it may cause a headache. OTC medications are your best bet in such cases.

11. Cold foods

Do you get a sharp, stabbing pain in your forehead when you eat or drink some cold foods? If yes, then these are called ice-cream headaches. There is no treatment available as such for these headaches, but they generally last for less than five minutes. The pain in this type of headache is usually felt in the middle of the forehead.

12. Medication

Several medications (both prescription and non-prescription) given to you by your doctor can also cause headaches, especially if you use them regularly. These include medicines for common cold, diabetes medications, oral contraceptives etc. You may contact your doctor to get your dosage changed in such cases. Overuse of pain medicines may also trigger headache (rebound headache), especially in people who have frequent and severe headaches.

13. Smoking

Another reason to add to your list of incentives to quit smoking. It not only triggers headaches in smokers, but also in people who are exposed to the second-hand smoke of cigarettes. Nicotine, contained in the cigarette smoke, causes blood vessels in the brain to narrow.

Triggers should be at the top of the list during any examination for a headache. Once you know your set of triggers, try to avoid them to live a headache-free life.

Some of the other potential headache triggers include:

  • Skipping meals
  • Having a minor head injury
  • Using the computer or watching TV for a long time
  • Vision problems
  • Menstruation
  • Experiencing changes in hormone levels
  • Taking a long trip in a car or bus
  • Listening to really loud music
  • Drinking or eating too much caffeine (in soda, coffee, tea, and chocolate)

In some cases, headaches are caused by certain infections, such as:

  • ear infections
  • viral infections, like the flu or common cold
  • strep throat
  • sinus infections
  • Lyme disease

Most headaches aren't signs that something more is wrong, but occasionally headaches are caused by more serious medical conditions.

When should I seek medical care for a headache?

A patient should seek medical care if their headache is:

  • The "worst headache of your life." This is the wording often used in textbooks as a cue for medical practitioners to consider the diagnosis of a subarachnoid haemorrhage due to a ruptured cerebral aneurysm. The amount of pain will often be taken in context with the appearance of the patient and other associated signs and symptoms.
  • Different than your usual headaches
  • Starts suddenly or is aggravated by exertion, coughing, bending over, or sexual activity
  • Associated with persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Associated with fever or stiff neck or if light hurts your eyes
  • Associated with seizures
  • Associated with recent head trauma or a fall
  • Associated with changes in vision, speech, or behaviour
  • Associated with weakness or change in sensation
  • Not responding to treatment and is getting worse
  • Disabling and interfering with work and quality of life
  • Pain that develops very rapidly
  • A change in concentration or ability to think
  • A change in level of alertness
  • Altered speech
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty in walking
  • Headache with dizziness, or a feeling that you are falling to one side
When to Call the Doctor If Your Child Has a Headache?

When your child has a splitting headache, it's easy to worry. Only very rarely are headaches a symptom of something serious. However, you should contact your doctor if your child has unexplained or recurring headaches over a short period of time or on a regular basis.

Call the doctor if your child's headaches:

  • Occur once a month or more
  • Don't go away easily
  • Are particularly painful

Also note whether other symptoms accompany the headaches, which can help the doctor identify what might be causing them. Call the doctor if your child also has any of these symptoms:

  • Decreased level of alertness
  • Vomiting
  • Headache when your child wakes up, or one that actually wakes up your child
  • Headache following a head injury or loss of consciousness
  • Headache accompanied by seizures
  • Visual changes
  • Tingling sensations
  • Weakness
  • Clumsiness
  • Skin rash
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Fever or other signs of infection
  • Unable to go to school or participate in everyday routines and activities
  • Change in personality
  • Drinking or peeing a lot
Ayurvedic Treatment for Headache
In Ayurveda, treatments for headaches are given based on the cause of headaches. The remedies are administered as single drug therapy, herbo-mineral combinations, local applications, decoctions, nasal instillations, medicated oils and animal fat based preparations.

Herbs for Single drug therapy:

A paste prepared by the flowers of Muchukunda (Pterospermum acerifolium Willd) is applied to the forehead for relief from headache (pain on one side or pain throughout the head). Muchukunda is believed to reduce vata dosha and balances the “tridoshas” in the body.

Rauvolfia serpentina can be powdered, mixed with honey and consumed thrice a day for relief from piercing headaches. This herb is also used for treating high blood pressure.

Herbs for local applications:

A paste prepared by blending the roots of Costus or Kuth with castor oil, can be used for local application which provides relief from different types of headaches and corrects vata imbalance in the body.

The bark of pine, musk root, dried ginger and East Indian Rosebay can be made to a paste and applied locally.

A paste made by blending Long-pepper, nagar motha, aniseed, liquorice, water lily, costus root can be used for local application.

Herbs for Nasal instillations:

Nasal instillations help in clearing blocked nostrils and the increased blood circulation to the head help in relieving headaches. The bark of bay berry can be powdered, mixed with ghee and used as nasal instillation for relief from migraine. Similarly, a combination of extract of kusagrass and milk can be used for relief from an attack of migraine.

Herbal decoction and herbo-mineral preparations:

Decoction of round and long pepper is effective for piercing headaches when taken for three to four days. Similarly a decoction made of Cherubic myrobalan and few other herbs are useful for piercing headaches.

Ayurvedic Herbo-mineral preparations help in relaxing the blood vessels of the brain that are constricted. However these herbo-mineral preparations are not recommended for patients with kidney problems.

A preparation made of twenty herbs and four minerals (Sirah suladri vajra rasa) is commonly used for all types of headaches.

A preparation made of fifteen herbs and two minerals (Mahalakshmi vilas rasa) is used for headaches caused by common colds or mild headaches.

Home Remedies
  • A paste of clove and salt crystals is prepared in milk. The main curative ingredient in this is salt, which, being hygroscopic, absorbs the fluids in the head and decreases the tension.
  • Early morning after waking up dab an apple with salt and eat it. After that, drink some warm water or milk. Continuing this for ten days will reduce the problem of continuous headaches.
  • Peel a piece of garlic. Put it in the mouth and chew it slightly. Let its juices spread around the mouth region and upwards into the head. Keep on chewing the garlic mildly and allow the juices to spread. Within some minutes the headache would disappear. This treatment works even for the most persistent of headaches.
  • For headaches that are caused due to common colds, drinking a decoction of coriander and sugar helps tremendously. One more method to clear common cold related headaches is to place both feet in warm water for about half an hour.
  • For headaches that are caused due to excessive gas in the stomach, drinking a glass of warm water with a fresh lemon squeezed in it brings the headache as well as the gas problem down.
  • Grind some cinnamon and make it into a paste with water. Apply this on the head. This reduces headaches.
  • Soak some almonds in water overnight. In the morning, grind them into a paste and warm them slightly in ghee. Mix this in water and drink. This helps in treating headaches that have been going on since a long time.
  • Drinking a glass of water in which jaggery has been mixed helps in reducing headaches.
  • Take one teaspoon of almond oil and heat; when it has cooled sufficiently, place two drops of the oil in each nostril
  • Rub mixture containing one teaspoon of cinnamon oil and a quarter of a teaspoon of clove powder into the site of the pain
  • Place a wet cloth on the neck
  • Try an oil massage on your scalp; some suggested oils include sesame and

Home Remedies for Tension Headache.

  • For tension headaches massage few drops of peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil on temples.
  • Massage the scalp with slightly warmed sesame oil. This relieves tension headache and induces sleep.
  • Regular exercise, yoga and meditation reduce the stress levels and keep the tension headache at bay.
  • Persons of vata type can use hot water bags on aching parts and a hot shower will be of good help.
  • Persons of pitta type can use cold or ice packs on aching parts and wrap a wet cold cloth around neck.

Home remedies for migraine headache.

Although it is possible to get headaches from disorders in vata, pitta, or kapha, migraines frequently occur when systemic pitta moves into the cardiovascular system, circulates, and affects the blood vessels around the brain. The blood vessels dilate due to the hot, sharp quality of pitta. This, in turn, creates pressure on the nerves, resulting in migraines. Pitta disorders are characterized by the red complexion and eyes, light sensitivity, burning sensation, anger, irritability, and nose bleeds. So, the treatment involves following the recommendations for pitta pacifying foods, herbs and lifestyle.

Avoid hot, spicy foods, fermented foods, and sour or citrus fruits. A pitta-soothing diet is effective both for migraine relief and as a preventive measure.

Preventive Breakfast

If you are one of those individuals who get migraines at midday, which then subside later in the evening, there is a preventive approach available from Ayurveda. It is simple, but effective.

First thing in the morning, take 1 ripe banana. Peel it, chop it into pieces, and add 1 teaspoon warm ghee, 1 teaspoon date sugar, and a pinch of cardamom on top. This is delicious, and it will help to reduce pitta and prevent a headache from arising.

Herbal Remedy

The following herbal compound is beneficial in managing migraine.

·         Shatavari (flax hemp)- 5 parts

·         Brahmi (thyme-leaved gratiola) - 4 parts

·         Jatamamsi (Indian spikenard/musk root)- 3 parts

·         Musta (nut grass)- 3 parts

Prepare this mixture, and take 1/2 teaspoon twice a day, morning and evening, after breakfast and dinner, with a little lukewarm water. This formula is designed to pacify the aggravated pitta and help relieve migraine headaches.

Purgatives (such as aloe vera gel, rhubarb, and fennel), liver cleansers (such as bhamiamalaki and brahmi), sandalwood oil on the third eye, temples, chest and under the nose, medicated oils or ghee, using gudachi, Bala (Indian country mallow) and Ashwagandha (winter cherry).

Long-term healing includes Chyavanprash, Brahmi and Ashwagandha.

Other Treatments

Avoid Direct Sun: Because migraine headaches are predominantly a pitta disorder, they are affected by the hot sun. When the sun rises, it’s hot, sharp, penetrating rays increase pitta in the cardiovascular system and cause the dilation of the blood vessels in the brain, which results in the painful headaches. So avoid direct exposure to the sun. If you have to go out, use an umbrella or wear a hat or other protection from the sun.

Soothing Nose Drops: Once a headache has developed, putting about 5 drops of warm brahmi ghee in each nostril will help relieve the pain.

Head Massage: Shirodhara (hot oil head massage) is also beneficial.

Migraines from Vata Imbalance:

Migraines can also originate due to imbalance in vata dosha. The symptoms of vata imbalance are: anxiety, depression, dry skin, constipation, and extreme pain. The recommended treatment is: triphala as a purgative, jatamanshi, brahmi, and rest. Shiro dhara (hot oil head massage) is also recommended.

Migraines from Kapha Imbalance:

This condition is characterized by dull headache, heaviness, fatigue, nausea, white or clear phlegm, vomiting, and excess salivation. Respiratory disorders are often associated with these symptoms. The recommended treatment is: trikatu, brahmi, tulsi tea, inhaling eucalyptus oil, vomiting, exercise, nasal snuff of ginger or pepper. Shirodhara (hot oil head massage) is also recommended.

Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Headache

  • Betel (Piper betle) - The leaves of the betel have analgesic and cooling properties. When a paste of them is applied to the centre of the headache, then immediate relief is obtained.
  • Bishop's Weed (Trachyspermum ammi) - Bishop's weed can keep severe headaches away. It is most effective in headaches that occur due to migraine. The fumes of the lighted bishop's weed seeds are used for the treatment. These fumes are smoked or the seeds are sniffed directly.
  • Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) - The aroma of the clove has a headache-allaying effect. It can soothe the nerves and bring it back to a pacified state.
  • Garlic (Allium sativum) - Garlic has almost miraculous properties in relieving headaches, of whatever type they are. Their juice slowly permeates the head region and acts as a painkiller.
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale) - Ginger has painkilling properties. Due to this property, it is used as an external application on the affected head region. This gives relief from the headache.
  • Henna (Lawsonia inermis) - Henna flowers have the capacity to reduce headaches if they are caused by excessive heat. The henna flowers are applied externally on the head with vinegar to get the desired results.
Dietary Treatments for Headache

Sweet and mild tastes are better in relieving headaches than other tastes. When there is a headache, consuming a sweet preparation or even a spoonful of sugar helps.

Milk and ghee are also beneficial in headaches. Preferably, the milk of a cow should be warmed and had when there is a headache.

Rice is the preferred carbohydrate to be taken in times of headache. The water left after cooking the rice should be had when it is warm, with a dash of ghee added in it.

Spicy and fried foods must be avoided when there is a headache.

Anu Tailam Cures All Types Of Headaches

Anu tailam (oil) is a medicated preparation. It is prepared by boiling several medicinal plants in gingelly oil. It has many beneficial effects and no side effects.

Prescription: The patient needs to deeply inhale the oil just once daily. Approximately 20 drops of the oil needs to be dropped in each nostril. However, in acute instances or if the problem is chronic in nature the patient can inhale up to three times a day.

Caution Notes: One need not worry if while inhaling some portion of the oil gets into the tummy, Moreover, deep inhalation may, of course, propel sneezing or cause running nose temporarily. These symptoms result from the over-reaction of the nasal mucous membrane to the excess and sudden deposits of the Anu tailam.

Benefits: Properly inhaled, the oil clears the nasal blockage. The sinus passages leading to the nasal cavity are opened. This, in turn, brings about a sense of relief. Any sense of heaviness in the head and all forms of mental strain are removed. The nerves also enjoy a soothing effect.

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