Headaches are very common but they are rarely a symptom of an underlying disease. They frequently accompany acute infections – more so in the presence of a high temperature – but routine headaches are more mechanical in origin. Stress, anxiety, bad posture, working all day on the computer, can all cause tension in the neck and shoulders. This is the most common cause of headaches that occur on a daily basis.
Other causes may be eye strain, food allergies, sinusitis, dehydration, excessive drinking or excessive use of painkillers. Headaches vary from a mild, inconvenient ache, to a skull-crushing incapacitating pain. A headache all over the scalp, with pain in the neck and shoulder muscles, is likely to be caused by stress, tension or poor posture. A frontal headache is more likely to be caused by eyestrain or sinusitis.
A throbbing headache, with nausea or vomiting and often preceded by visual disturbances can be classified as a migraine headache. Cluster headaches often begin suddenly, cause severe pain on one side of the head and are recurring. Sometimes headaches will be serious enough to drive you to the doctor, especially if ordinary painkillers do not seem to help.
It is important to see a doctor if you have a very serious headache that starts suddenly, if you experience numbness, confusion or sudden drowsiness or if a headache is caused by a blow to the head. Most headaches, however, are no cause for alarm and can be treated quite easily. Many natural remedies are readily available for finding relief from headaches.
1. Lavender Oil
Lavender is a herb that grows in the Mediterranean and other parts of the world. It is a calming, soothing herb that is often used as a sedative. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that it works to relieve headaches. Some new studies show that inhaling lavender essential oil may even be effective in treating migraine headaches.
The compounds found in lavender oil can help to open up and dilate blood vessels and this is what reduces the headache pain. Inhaling the steam is one way to treat your headache. Put two to three drops in a pot of boiling water and lean carefully over the pot to inhale the steam. You can also place a drop of lavender oil directly on your temples or the base of your neck.
Another method of using lavender oil is to put two to three drops in a cup of cold water. Soak a washcloth in the water, wring it out and then place it on your forehead or the back of your neck while lying down. You can do the same with warm water for a warm compress if you prefer. If you have an aromatherapy diffuser, use a lavender essential oil and lie down for a while so you can absorb the oil diffusing into the atmosphere.
You do need to exercise some caution when using lavender essential oils because there are people who have an allergic reaction to them that can actually make headaches worse. Talk to your doctor if you experience migraines and are thinking about using lavender essential oil. Lavender essential oil may interact with other medications and they should not be used if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.