Medical herbalist Nicola Parker researches natural headache remedies

If you have frequent headaches, it is a good idea to have your doctor examine you, as they can often offer various diagnostic tests to find out why the headache is occurring.

If you’ve already done this and have been told everything is fine, it may be wise to consider different ways to treat chronic headaches. Although pain relievers are available without prescription or over the counter, long-term use of them is not for everyone, and many people prefer to focus on prevention rather than symptom management.

The most obvious way to prevent headaches is to make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day, ideally one and a half liters, which is about six average sized glasses. Also, check with your optician to make sure you are wearing the correct glasses or contacts. If you work at your desk all day, you should check your posture and see a physiotherapist or osteopath if you have neck, back and shoulder pain.

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If you’ve checked all of these things but are still getting regular headaches, the next thing to do is check your magnesium levels. This is usually not tested by your GP, but it is easy to check for yourself. Muscle cramps, restless legs or muscle twitching are important signs of a magnesium deficiency. Other symptoms may include severe menstrual pain or a sluggish bowel. Magnesium helps relax muscles, and many headaches are caused or made worse by tension in the back and neck muscles. Low magnesium levels can prevent this tension from releasing.

Low magnesium-related headaches tend to be dull aches and pains that last for many hours or even days. You may find that the pain is there when you wake up and it remains as a dull background pain that doesn’t respond well to regular pain relievers. Tea, coffee, cola, and salt all use up magnesium. So if these foods are in your diet on a daily basis, a short intake of magnesium citrate tablets can help very quickly.

Not all headaches are caused by muscle tension and in severe cases the problem is not a headache at all, but migraines. Migraines can be particularly aggressive. They are often one-sided and can be accompanied by nausea, blurred vision, and debilitating pain that make everyday activities impossible. Some migraines can be related to a woman’s menstrual cycle, so pinpointing the cause and getting the right treatment can be difficult.

For migraines, I use an herb called feverfew. In my clinic, I often combine feverfew with strong pain relievers and examine and try to treat causes and triggers. I keep a feverfew remedy called MigraEeze over the counter.

Migraeeze is an approved herbal remedy for migraine relief. Feverfew has long been known as migraine herb, a classic remedy mentioned in much of our traditional literature. Feverfew is anti-inflammatory and is used by many herbalists to treat menstrual cramps, especially in cases where menstrual pain is accompanied by migraines. In fact, I haven’t made a mix for menstrual cramps without feverfew as a major part.

People who use MigraEeze use it in two ways depending on their goal. It is possible either to take one tablet a day to prevent symptoms or to keep it in your closet and take a tablet as needed when you feel the symptoms appear.

For severe migraines, I recommend trying the first approach for at least a month to see if the herb is right for you.

Magnesium and MigraEeze work well together, relieving muscle tension, reducing inflammation and promoting blood flow to the painful area.

If you are just starting your journey to natural remedies for headaches or migraines, consider combining the two for a month and monitoring your progress. Alternatively, for a deeper look into the problem, consider consulting an herbalist who may dig a little deeper and offer something stronger for long-term support.

l For more information or to make an appointment with Nicola, contact her clinic on 01524 413733.