Ayurvedic Medicine for Headache

It is undeniably hard to continue to be existing and blissful when it feels like your head is going to explode. Sometimes we can attribute a pounding headache to the binge-watching that stored us up all night, or perhaps it used to be that third glass of wine or bag of salty potato chips. But there are different instances when our complications appear like a complete mystery.

The normal Ayurveda healers, or Vaidyas, would say your headache is a wake-up call. And whilst it is our intention to relieve this struggling it is additionally a chance to take a deeper seem into our bodily physique as properly as our cutting-edge emotional state.

There are many sorts of head and facial aches that fall underneath the class of headaches. For most of us, complications come and go, and we frequently can determine out the set off (certain foods, outside in bloodless or heat, nervousness, etc). Not all complications are an issue, however, for recurrent ones, or complications that are extreme in nature, we want to pay interest and decide the root cause.

Causes of Headache

1) Primary headache Primary headaches aren’t related to any other diseases. However, also such a headache is caused If the pain-sensitive areas trespass similar as from a tense situation or high-stress day. Primary headaches can also do due to certain foods, temperatures, and surroundings. Affected areas involve the jitters of the head and neck, blood vessels, and certain muscles. Pressure headaches, cluster headaches, and migraines are some exemplifications of primary headaches.

2) Secondary headache These are headaches due to other causes similar to when a specific complaint causes the pain-sensitive jitters of the head to get stimulated. Secondary headaches can do due to different factors. Some of them are

  • Clotting of blood
  • Bleeding in the surrounding area of the brain or inside it
  • Brain freeze due to cold things
  • Poisoning by carbon monoxide
  • Hangover after alcohol consumption
  • Concussion
  • Dehydration
  • Glaucoma
  • Grinding teeth at night
  • Influenza
  • Rebound headaches due to overdoses of pain medicine
  • Panic attacks
  • Brain tumor

Headaches might be a result of a serious health condition. Therefore for recurrent, severe, and persistent headaches, a medical doctor or Ayurvedic practitioner should be consulted, especially if there is no relief after taking conventional pain-relieving medication. Headaches that are more severe than the ones in the past, headaches along with fever, sensory changes, and neck stiffness, and headaches that are debilitating are signs that there could be a more serious underlying problem.

Types of Headaches

Headaches have many types, and accordingly, the causes, severity, curing time, and treatment methods vary.

Tension headache: This is the most prevalent and common type of headache. Initially, there is tension in the shoulder and neck. With this headache, a person may experience slight pain at the edges of the head, the head having a heavyweight, or feeling as though a tight band is tied around the head. The span of these headaches can be hours or days, and they can worsen as the day ends. Excessive work, sleep problems, improper posture, stress, anxiety, and other lifestyle problems can cause tension headaches.

Migraine: In this neurological condition, severe and throbbing pain is experienced in the head generally on one side. The span can be a few hours or even days. Commonly along with migraine, symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and light sensitivity are present. Other sensations might be experienced even before the headache begins. These include dizziness, prickling sharp pain, seeing patterns before your eyes, etc. The probability of women having migraine headaches is greater than men. Though it might occur at any age, mostly older teens and adults experience it. To manage migraines holistically, diet and lifestyle habits are assessed and modified, and herbal medicines are suggested to give relief for symptoms and prevention.

Cluster headache: On one side of the head, sudden pain, primarily at night, is experienced. Mostly the pain is felt in the surrounding eyes. For some time, they may occur multiple times in a day and later may not happen for years and months. Causes that trigger this headache should be avoided, and if it worsens or persists, one should visit a practitioner for a holistic approach to mitigate the root cause.

Sinus headache: This type of headache includes facial pain in areas like:

  • Eyes
  • Forehead
  • Cheeks
  • Teeth

When a person leans forward, the pain worsens. The pain can have different severity. This type of headache is linked with sinusitis symptoms like congestion, mucus from the nose, postnasal drip, and feeling a strain inside the head, most often due to an allergic response but not always.

Medication overuse: Excessive use of pain medicines that treat headaches can cause this headache. This rebound headache seems similar to migraine attacks and tension headaches. After withdrawing the overused medicines, improvement is generally seen within two months. However, there may be an increased severity of headaches before improvement. Hence pain medication should only be used when needed and only for a short time.

Ayurvedic View of Headaches

In Ayurveda, headaches are not considered a disease, but a symptom of the vitiation of one or more of the doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, with the primary dosha being effected typically Vata.

Ayurveda makes mention of certain types of head pain:

Ardhaavabheda (unilateral pain )

Anantavaata (classical migraine)

Suryavatra (morning headache)

According to Ayurveda, some causes of headaches are:

  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Consuming polluted food (i.e. GMO foods)
  • Consuming oily and spicy food
  • Emotions like stress, sadness, and anger
  • Excessively consuming dry and salty food
  • Excessive intake of pungent food
  • Suppressing natural urges

Through the Ayurvedic exam (Rogi Pariksha) and questioning, the practitioner will determine the root cause and the dosha imbalance. Below is an explanation of the various types of headaches due to dosha vitiation.

Vata Headache

If you have throbbing, pulsating pain and the sensation of a band being tightened around your head, you have a Vata headache. Neck and shoulder tension, mental and emotional stress, an irregular sleeping schedule, possible toxicity in the gut (like constipation) and unresolved fear or anxiety are known culprits of this headache type.

What To Do:

Vata is represented by the dry, cool, fast-moving element of air. When dealing with a Vata headache our intention is to relieve dryness within the mind and body.  We also want to support and clear the gut.

  • Drink lots of warm water and incorporate ghee (clarified butter) into the diet.
  • For acute headaches, try a traditional nasya treatment by putting 5 drops of luke-warm sesame oil in each nostril while lying down.
  • Receiving a massage is also a great way to relieve tension in the body. 

Vata headaches require deep rest and relaxation so it’s ok to take that 20-min afternoon nap that you need. 

Pitta Headache

A Pitta headache typically starts in the temples and spreads to the central part of your head. They are known for their shooting, burning, piercing pain with a dash of nausea and often made worse by bright light, heat, or by eating sour or spicy foods. Migraines are associated with this category. Pitta headaches are often linked to imbalances in the stomach and intestines, such as acid indigestion, hyperacidity, or heartburn. 

What to Do:

Pitta is associated with the element of fire. Our goal when remedying a Pitta headache is to cool acidity (fire) in the body.

  • Avoid spicy, salty, fried foods and add more cooling foods such as cucumbers, watermelon, cilantro or dates to your daily diet.
  •  Massage warm coconut oil or brahmi oil onto the scalp and soles of the feet to soothe acute pitta headaches.
  • For migraines it is recommended to put a few drops of ghee into each nostril before bed.

Don’t forget to take a deep breath, get some rest and slow down your schedule.

Kapha Headache

This headache type is known to strike most ferociously in the Winter and Spring. Usually, you wake up or go to bed with a Kapha headache. It is accompanied by a cough or runny nose, probably gets worse when you lie down or bend over, and is characterized by a heavy, dull feeling in the face and head. Kapha headaches are commonly called sinus headaches because they are the byproduct of excess pressure in the sinus cavity. 

What To Do:

To remedy this type of headache we must relieve pressure in the sinuses.

  • Use a neti pot daily with salts to help open sinus channels.
  • Drinking hot ginger tea and taking in pungent spices like black pepper, cinnamon and cloves to reduce mucus congestion.
  • Inhaling eucalyptus steam is also great way to soothe a Kapha headache.

Ayurvedic Herbal Remedies for Headaches

Ayurveda prescribes herbs, yoga, and lifestyle therapies for headaches.

Effective herbal formulations for migraines and headaches are:

  • Brahmi ghritam
  • Sarapgandha vati
  • Ksheerbala capsule
  • Yograj guggulu
  • Yashtimadhu churna
  • Triphala churna
  • Aswagandharishtam
  • Balarishtam
  • Anu thailam
  • Brahmi thailam
  • Chandani thailam
  • Rasnadi kashayam
  • Sudarshan ghan vati

Ayurvedic Therapies for Headaches

  • Shirodhara
  • Nasyam
  • Shirobhyanga
  • Shirolepa

Yoga Postures for Headaches

  • Savasana (Corpse pose)
  • Setu bandhasana (Bridge pose)
  • Paschimottasana (Seated forward bend)
  • Janusirasana (Single head to knee pose)
  • Balasana (Childs Pose)

Ayurvedic Tips for Headaches

  • Avoid late nights, sleeping less than 7 hours or more than 8
  • Avoid frequent intake of painkillers
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption and smoking
  • Avoid consumption of strong tea and coffee
  • Avoid frequent fasting (or going long hours between meals)
  • Have a morning and evening walk
  • Avoid long periods of direct sunlight
  • Avoid outdoors in windy conditions
  • Avoid excessive use of digital screens

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