You guys are wonderful and know everything so I suppose I'll turn to you for advice...For the past month or so I've been getting this really bad migranes and back pains. I know that Tylenol and Advil are no-nos...but I don't know what else to do. When I don't take something to help with the pain, I am very iritatable and don't want to move, which affects my friends and boyfriend. I don't want to be mean! Is there something that I might be able to do that would help? Advice is much appreicated. : /
I've had really bad migraines for a looong time and I can't stand taking medication of any kind. It's best if you can find out what triggers them, and avoid it. For me it's chocolate, milk products and too much sun. However if you're in a pinch, there are a couple of essential oils that will help. If the migraine is stress-related lavender will often help. Peppermint will help almost any migraine because it acts very similar to caffeine, but without the side-effects. With either oil rub it on your temples and forehead. There is no need to dilute them unless they irritate your skin, but only use a drop or two. Make sure you get the best quality oils you can find. Most of the brands available are seriously contaminated.
Be careful with the peppermint, because the fumes can make your eyes water when you put it on your forehead. However the cool sensation will have a slight numbing effect on the pain. Just sit back, close your eyes and breathe deeply, and you'll feel better soon.
If you don't have access to oils, you can get some temporary relief with acupressure. The one that helps me is on the back of my neck. I bend my head forward to stretch the muscles around my spine and breathe deeply and relax. Then I find the tendons that run along my spinal cord into my skull. Using my thumbs I press upward towards my skull on the indentations that are on the outside of those two tendons. Doing that gives me some relief for about 5-10 minutes. Supposedly squeezing the webbing between your thumb and forefinger can also help, but it's never worked for me.
I hope some of this helps. Migraines are hell and I hope yours goes away soon. If you have any questions or don't understand my description, please ask. I usually check the site a couple of times a day.
Ever tried aspirin? It's actually a compound originally derived from willow bark...one of the original plant remedies that made it into the mainstream medicine cabinet. It's used as a component of many migraine medicines like Excedrin (but they add acetaminophen[Tylenol] and caffeine) because it works pretty well -- both diminishing the pain and thinning the blood slightly to improve circulation and thus ease the pain.
I find aspirin and lots of fluids works. Especially electrolyte-containing fluids, such as coconut water and SmartWater -- at least for me, mild dehydration can provoke or worsen a bad headache very quickly, and electrolytes help replenish one after dehydration.
Caffeine can help, too -- if you consume caffeine -- so I take green tea as well (but of course, I pair it with fluids to avoid a dehydration effect).
Heat packs can help as well, on the forehead/eyes and back, to increase circulation and ease the pain.
The usual disclaimer: You probably want to find out if the backaches and migraines come from any physical root cause that might require treatment, and for that you'd need to talk with a doctor.
Lovin- First off, I noticed your name and for some reason I thought, "I wonder if she's from Washington" ( because everyone is loving the sun there right now!) and sure enough, I was right:) I grew up in Kirkland!
I too have suffered from migraines since I was 13 and in the last few months, I haven't had any as bad as what I use to get. In November of 2007, I had a 3 day migraine that caused me to throw up and I was leaving that night to fly to Toronto! I ended up going to the hospital for a shot to treat because I couldn't take it anymore!
I am like rainylaine, chocolate, really strong tastes left in my mouth like garlic or pickled ginger, spearmint, my body temperature getting too hot, and dehydration will cause me to have a migraine. That took me years to figure out though. I noticed the number one reason I don't get them now is because I am no longer stressed all the time. I am currently not working, where as before I worked 11 hour days doing 3 jobs. I was eating well during that period of time and working out, but I think it took a toll on my body. I also do weight lifting a few days a week and when I noticed my shoulders getting tense (which will also set off a migraine) I make sure to stretch or do yoga, and then get a massage. I've even had one while having a migraine and I immediately noticed a difference! If you can't afford a massage which I know can be costly, I suggest you simply get a tennis ball and place it in between your back and a wall. Move the ball up and down with your back and let it roll over the sore parts. It looks stupid but feels amazing. You can also find foam rollers at most athletic supply stores that you can place on the ground and roll your back over. I use it on my legs after running and it massages out all the sore spots. Remember to drink water though so your system will flush out the toxins stored in the muscles. And last but not least, if you drink tea, I know it's not a raw solution, but small amounts of caffeine are supposed to help with headaches! I have also tried the pressure on the thumb area with no luck. I hope some of this helps as I know how terrible they can be!
I used to suffer from awful migraines and it took a few years to realize what triggered them. Dairy was the biggest of all the culprits but in close second was all refined sugars and wheat. Try cutting those out completely.
I always hated the meds for migraines growing up because of the awful side effects so now if I get one(which is rare) I just cancel anything I am supposed to do and I rest through it and drink fruit juices. It's weird because during the migraine my sense of taste gets skewed so I can never tell what I'm drinking....
I can vouch for the dehydration comments, as well! When I read your question, that was my first thought. I get horrible headaches occasionally, and have come to realize that I haven't drank much water in the days preceding. If I sit down, relax, and drink at least a pint of water, I have found my headache goes away within a half hour. Then, of course, be mindful of drinking more, every hour, for a while.
I have had a time or two that it took more than a pint- whew, I was really dehydrated on those days! But be careful, there *is* such a thing as drinking too much at one time- rare, but can happen. I think our fluid needs varies, per person, but I have read that we should be taking in at least a half ounce per pound. So, whatever you weigh, divide that by half, and you should be drinking that much water every day, by that standard.
I have also read about caffeine being helpful. Do be careful, here, though, as that can backfire. I get horrible headaches when the caffeine leaves my body- like an addiction reaction - the body wants more. This is why folks who regularly drink coffee have "coffee headaches" in the morning when they haven't had their coffee yet.
Headache, combined with *lower* back pain (you didn't specify), really makes me think it's a dehydration issue. Lower back pain often can be the kidneys. I've seen this a lot (no I am not a doctor, but have surprised them, by telling more than one friend they likely have a kidney infection- only to have it confirmed by their doc. Doc's orders? Plenty of fluids.)
Best of luck to you, in finding what is causing, and curing, yours!
Thank you guys for your responses.
I have tried peppermint and rosemerry and they seem to calm it for a bit but then it comes back.
I've been trying to stay away from asprin and all meds. and such as much as possible.
KMcR: My mum recommended I try using a ball between my shoulder blades last night. :) I found stretching to help tremendously, but it tightens back up a couple minutes afterwards. :(
I also know to drink plenty of water, esp with a headache, but it doesn't seem to have a slightest difference.
Thank you very much! I'll keep at it. :)
Have you tried seeing an herbalist and or doing a cleanse. Aside from dehydration which is a def. possibilty sometimes headaches are caused by bacteria, especialy migranes. Try cleansing and I would try to see what foods may also be causing them. Good luck!!
Lovin- Try switching your water for coconut water. It hydrates your body a lot better.
Just thought of this. Are you 100% raw? If not then do you consume dairy? That could be a cause. Anything fermented such as wine and beer, cheese etc, are contributors to migraines.
Mine were caused by dairy but later I found out that that particular reaction to dairy was hormonal and I grew out of it. I now have endometriosis which is also a hormonal type of disease. I would get periodic blood tests if I were you to check if your hormone levels are normal. They generally can't catch it with just one test because of the ups and downs so I'd suggest several times.
I hope this helps!