Recurring Headaches – Naturopathic Solutions

  • Tara Andresen

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Headaches are one of the most commonly occurring disorders, they’re even more prevalent than the common cold. There are a number of different types of headaches and a variety of causes. To treat headaches a naturopath will identify and eliminate headache triggers, replenish deficient nutrients and improve relevant muscle function with acupuncture.

The vast majority of headaches are caused by tension in the muscles of the head, shoulders and neck. With tension headaches you may feel tightness, pressure or throbbing anywhere on your head or neck. Often the pain is worse as the day goes on but disappears upon waking the next day.

Migraine headaches are different than headaches. They are less common but much more severe. Migraines are very painful and often accompanied by vision disturbances, extreme sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting. A migraine episode may last a few hours or it can go on for several days. Unlike tension headaches, migraines are not caused by muscle tension but by disturbances in blood flow to the head.

Cluster headaches are a different type of headache, characterized by painful one-sided headaches that usually occur in clusters of several headaches in a short period of time. There may be no headaches for weeks or months.

Headaches can be triggered by a number of factors, most often stress and anxiety, but also allergies, hormone imbalances, compromised digestion, low blood sugar, fatigue and drugs. Most headaches can be addressed by identifying and removing the triggers, along with implementing strategies for natural pain relief. However, some headaches signal a medical emergency including double vision, confusion, a stiff neck, projectile vomiting, paralysis, vertigo, fever, deafness in one ear or extreme fatigue or weakness.

Naturopathic treatment options vary depending on the type of headache. Tension headaches require treatment of the underlying muscle tension as well as removing triggers and pain relief supplementation. Trigger point acupuncture is a specific technique that releases muscle tension to effectively resolve and then prevent tension headaches. Specific nutrient support includes magnesium, calcium and essential fatty acids.

A Naturopath will treat migraine headaches differently than tension headaches. Migraine headache treatment also includes removal of triggers and acupuncture but different herbs and nutrients are used. Riboflavin, COQ10, 5-HTP, feverfew and butterbur and examples of these treatment options.

To find out more about treatment for headaches, book your appointment with Dr. Andresen at one of her Toronto Naturopathic Clinics.