Feel better now! 5 different headache types and how to cure your headache with food

I am sitting at my computer blogging, of course, and all I can think of is how painful my headache is.  If you’re like most, you know the feeling all too well – the throbbing, the pressure, the inability to think clearly, and the sudden burst of irritability. Yep, that was me the other day, but my concern on top of the pain was that my sister, whom I only get to see 1-2x a year,was coming to visit.  I needed to be at peak performance!  I realized I had to find a way to feel better so I could enjoy our short-lived time together.  It was day 3 of my headache and over-the-counter medicine wasn’t working. I did not want to pop another pill.  I had to find a way to stop it…anything…please.

We accept that headaches occur frequently and we always have a stash of pain relievers to get them off our minds… literally. However, that instant gratification has a price – those over-the-counter drugs can actually cause rebound headaches, heart problems and digestion issues. Instead of popping another pill, let’s talk about some of the causes, remedies that are available to you. With some research I found ways to heal my headache, naturally, with food. I felt better and was able to schlemiel schlimazel down the sidewalk on a beautiful day with my sister and my 6 year old in tow!

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1. Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are typically characterized by a piercing pan and severe burning. They usually occur behind or around one eye or on a single side of your face at a time. In some cases, it is accompanied by flushing, redness, swelling, and sweating. These occur on the side that is affected by the headache. Eye tearing and nasal congestion often happen on the same side. Cluster headaches take place in a series. A headache will last between half an hour and two hours, and true to their name, they come in clusters—one or more times a day, often at the same time each day for a cycle that can last a few weeks, or a few months.

Researchers are not so sure about what typically causes headaches. However, they know that some effective ways to treat the symptoms are available. A cluster headache is painful and can be soothed by eating certain foods. Try cooking up a delicious bowl of creamy lentils to alleviate the pain.

source: Pinch of Yum

People who suffer from this type of a problem have low blood levels of magnesium, and magnesium-rich foods such as chard, pumpkin seeds, spinach, yogurt, black beans, almonds, avocado, and bananas can help.

2. Tension Headache

Most people suffer from lingering, chronic headaches that usually develop almost daily and results to a tension headache. Tension headaches feel like an uncomfortable tightness or just a pressure around the entire head. This is the most common form of a problem experienced by adults. In fact, chronic tension headaches may disturb your quality of life, making it difficult to get sound sleep, putting you in a bad mood and also causing trouble, especially when you try to concentrate on your work. Some of the signs and symptoms of a tension headache include the dull, aching head pain, a lot of pressure and tightness all over the forehead, muscle aches as well as illnesses on the back and sides of your head.

Beating a tension headache typically requires a precise combination of lifestyle changes. Learning to ‘let go’ of things such as anger and stress, and more importantly, adopting some new healthy eating habits. The most important factor that you are supposed to consider is to improve your diet. Are you currently eating most of the anti-inflammatory foods that will support the energy levels and also your ability to cope with stress? In order to defeat this form of a headache, make sure you stay hydrated and drink enough water throughout the day. Furthermore, it is wise to stick to healing food such as a clean source of protein to stabilize your blood sugar.

source: the buddhist chef

Such foods include wild fish, cage-free eggs, raw dairy, grass-fed meat and beans among others. Also, consider foods rich in fibers and healthy fat foods such as spinach, vegetables, ancient grains, seeds, bananas, olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, and almonds. A yummy spinach curry with chickpeas should do the trick!

You might also be interested in 11 ways to remedy sleep deprivation to help you get more sound sleep.

3. Migraines

The migraine pain is an intense pulsing from deep with your head. This is a pain that usually lasts for days and significantly limits or reduces your entire ability to conduct your everyday routine. Also, migraines are typically one-sided pain and throbbing. In fact, those people with this type of headache are sensitive to sound and light. Vomiting and nausea accompany it. Any visual disturbance precedes some of them, and the symptoms are experienced before the main headache starts.

Just about anything can trigger a migraine like weather condition changes, stress, high odors, loss of sleep, particular foods and drinks, and fluctuations of estrogen level. Research has shown surprising links between migraines and food. First, eating ample amounts of potassium from potatoes and bananas, edamame, as well as ginger and yogurt, can help. These foods contain plant estrogens that are responsible for blunting the negative impacts of the estrogen that your body produces naturally. This will be particularly useful for those women who typically get migraines accompanied by their periods since this is due to a sudden drop in estrogen.

source: Cookie and Kate

Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, and mackerel can assist in controlling migraines. They are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Furthermore, though it depends on different people, once a migraine strikes, a few cups of coffee may help in relieving the pain. In fact, caffeine is very active, particularly in assisting to shrink various swollen blood vessels in your brain. It is one of the essential ingredients accompanied with acetaminophen and aspirin, in the over-the-counter migraine medicines. Take a cup or two when a migraine pain hit.

4. Sinus headaches

Sinus headaches are associated with a deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead or bridge of the nose. The pain usually intensifies with sudden head movement or straining. The pain is usually accompanied by other sinus symptoms, such as nasal discharge, feeling of fullness in the ears, fever, facial swelling, sinus pressure and sinus congestion.
Whether your headache symptoms can actually be attributed to the sinuses will need to be determined by your doctor. If your sinus headache is caused by a sinus blockage, such as an infection, you will likely have a fever. Sinus headaches are most likely to occur as a result of allergies, when grass, pollen, ragweed counts are high, or following exposure to other allergens.

Ways to help remedy a sinus headache is to use nasal lavage is the act of rinsing your nasal passages – and as unappetizing as that may sound, it works. You can use a specially designed squeeze bottle or a neti pot with a simple homemade saline solution.

Grandma was right! Chicken soup is both good for the soul and nothing is better for clearing up stuffed nasal cavities than a hot bowl of steamy chicken broth.  It’s not just because of the rising steam, which also helps- scientists believe that chicken soup contains unique ingredients that make it the best for soothing minor throat pain.

source: Food 52

In addition to chicken soup, drink plenty of liquids, such as herbal teas.  Some of the best teas for respiratory health and managing migraines are ginger tea, chamomile tea, and peppermint tea.

Just indulge in spicy foods that don’t cause migraine headaches, such as mango salsa, grilled peppers, or spicy burritos others also confirm that spicy foods like mustard, curry, and wasabi may help clear sinuses.

A hot compress across your sinuses will help to relieve pain. The American Academy of Otolaryngology recommends alternating a hot compress for three minutes with a cold compress for 30 seconds.

5. Rebound headaches

Rebound headaches, also known as Medication–Overuse Headaches, are caused by the near-daily use of a headache medication. Rather than being the solution, the medication becomes part of the problem. A rule of thumb is that if you are taking medication for your headache 10 or more days of the month, the medication may actually be perpetuating, or even causing the problem.

Life may be pretty stressful and busy. The common types of headaches can sometimes be overlooked and also masked with a painkiller such as aspirin. Note that when aspirin is overused for a long time, it may result in severe health issues.

source: kitchen konfidence

Eating apples, cinnamon, or lemon is thought to help with head pain. Cut back on processed foods, especially sugar and salt, which will throw your entire body out of whack.Try this spiced oatmeal smoothie made with cooked oats, Greek yogurt, apple, cinnamon, lemon and vanilla to turn your malady into mmm…delicious.

Any type of a headache is a perfect indicator that your body is lacking something. Eyestrain, fatigue, stress, allergies, poor posture, drugs or alcohol can trigger a migraine. Headache specialists tend to agree that allergies are usually not the cause of severe or recurrent headaches such as tension headaches or migraines. You should see a doctor to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. A headache is actually a signal that informs you that something needs to be changed and natural food remedies are the best in treating headaches.

Do you have a natural cure for headaches?  Please comment and share!

 

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11 comments

  1. Literally had no idea there were so many kinds of headaches. I have always just taken advil and moved on with my day, didn’t know there might be food-related cures! Thank you for sharing, going to look into some of these 🙂

    1. Hi Julia,
      Yes! Why pop a pill when you can eat something to make yourself feel better?? So glad you found some new helful information to better your life.
      Take care,
      Marnie

  2. I have never thought of potassium for migraines. I do believe it really helps to prevent leg and foot cramps. This is great advice. It is nice to be able to try different foods first before using the hard-hitting medications. Especially if you are trying to avoid side effects of medicines. Thanks!

  3. I usually eat whole almonds to fight my headaches but love that you have so many other suggestions! And breaking it down by headache type is so helpful!!

    Faye, Cluster Headache sufferer

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