Ways to Naturally Prevent Chronic Headaches

Do you suffer from chronic headaches? Try one of these natural methods to keep your headaches under control.

Book appointments for acupuncture.
Numerous studies attest to acupuncture’s benefits in treating and preventing chronic headaches. For instance, in one well-designed study, German researchers divided 270 tension headache patients into three groups, giving one group acupuncture, one group sham acupuncture (using needles on sites that are not true acupuncture points), and one group no treatment over eight weeks. Those who received the real acupuncture and sham acupuncture saw their headache rates drop by almost half, while the control group saw little change. Plus, those who received the real acupuncture treatment found they had fewer headaches for months after the treatment ended. Start with a series of six to eight treatments once or twice a week, depending on the severity of your symptoms.

Have your feet rubbed.
Reflexology–which involves massaging or pressing specific points on the feet–improved headaches in 81 percent of 220 chronic headache patients who participated in a clinical trial testing it. However, there was no control group in this study, so we can’t be sure how much of the benefit was due to the placebo effect. If it gets rid of your headache, though, does it matter?

See a chiropractor.
One review of eight clinical trials found that spinal manipulation improved chronic tension and migraine headaches as well as, or better than, aspirin or a placebo. Other studies find chiropractic care combined with exercise is even more effective. However, if you have osteoarthritis of the neck, rheumatoid arthritis, cerebral vascular disease, or heart disease, skip the chiropractor, since it could increase your risk of stroke.

Decline that drink.
Alcohol is a known headache trigger. Just half an hour after that first sip of wine, you could wind up with a throbbing noggin.

Cut out any food triggers.
Some foods can provoke headaches, including citrus fruits, chocolate, dairy, and foods that contain tyramine, like aged cheese and cured meats. So can some food additives, including sodium chloride, sodium nitrate, monosodium glutamate, and the sweetener aspartame.

Improve your posture.
If you sit in front of a computer all day, eye and neck strain can lead to headaches. Have an ergonomics expert evaluate your workstation. Hint: Your legs and arms should be bent at right angles, and your head shouldn’t tilt up or down.

Get a good night’s sleep.
Insomnia or restless sleep can land you with a headache the next day.

Swallow fish oil supplements.
Because inflammation contributes to headaches and fish oil counters inflammation, try taking 3 grams fish oil a day to relieve frequent headaches. It’s good for your heart and the rest of your body too.

Plus: 7 Headache Cures to Keep on Hand

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