Instead of depending on pain medications to get you through the day, try one of these drug-free headache treatments for relief.
- Chiropractic Adjustments: Research shows neck adjustments can decrease disability and pain in many patients with cervicogenic headache, and reduce the frequency of migraine headaches.
- Ginger: In one study, ginger supplements were found to be as effective as sumatriptan for decreasing the severity of a migraine attack. As an added bonus, the patients taking ginger didn’t experience any unwanted side effects.
- Butterbur: A review from the American Academy of Neurology concluded that supplements of a flower called butterbur are effective for preventing migraine, whereas non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were only categorized as “probably effective.”
- Exercise: Women who exercised for 40 minutes three times per week had the same reductions in migraine pain as women taking an anti-seizure medication called topiramate in a 2011 study.
- Massage Therapy: Massage therapy can help to relieve neck symptoms in patients with cervicogenic headache, according to one new study. Massage can also ease the tension and stress related to tension-type headaches.
- Trigger Point Therapy: This therapy is commonly used by chiropractors and other manual therapists to target trigger points, or hyper-irritable spots of pain in the muscles. One study found that trigger point therapy applied to the neck reduced cervicogenic headache pain by 71%.
- Lavender Essential Oils: The calming effects of lavender can significantly reduce the intensity of migraine headache attacks, according to a 2012 study.
- Stop Chewing Gum: Teenagers who quit chewing gum excessively experienced a resolution in their persistent headaches, in one new study.
- Sex: One German study showed that having sex during a headache episode significantly reduced pain intensity for 70% of adults with migraine and 91% of adults with cluster headaches.
- Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese medicine can significantly reduce chronic pain and migraine. One recent case study also showed the benefits of combining acupuncture with chiropractic care.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A new study showed that kids with chronic migraine had significant improvements after receiving cognitive behavioral therapy. The study demonstrates the importance of addressing the mental aspects of chronic headache.
Of course, it’s important to speak with your doctor about these treatments if you’re suffering from persistent headache. A chiropractor can use spinal adjustments along with other drug-free complementary therapies to ease your headaches safely and effectively.
By: Marissa Luck February 10, 2014