The Fundamentals
Headaches are defined as acute or chronic, diffuse pain in different portions of the head. They are not necessarily confined to any nerve distribution area; it can be frontal, temporal, or occipital; confined to either side of the head, or to the region immediately over one eye. The pain can be characterized as dull and aching to acute and sharp. It can be intermittent intense pain, throbbing pain, pressure pain as though the head were being tightened in a vise, or penetrating pain.

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National Headache

Affecting millions of people worldwide on a daily basis, headaches are one of the most common ailments. Because the symptoms and pain differ according to the variety of headache, sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what type of headache it is and what will be the best treatment for it. Tension headaches are the most common recurrent headache and are usually caused by tight muscles in the shoulder or neck. Migraines result from the arteries in and around the brain becoming narrowed, thereby allowing insufficient blood flow to the brain. Some symptoms of migraine include extreme sensitivity to light and sound, visual disturbances such as light flashes or black dots, and nausea. Cluster headaches are severe and the onset is immediate. The pain is localized behind or around one eye. This type of headache is less common than the tension or migraine. Headaches can be caused from diseases of the sinus, teeth, eyes, ears, nose, or throat, or from acute infections, or from head trauma. Chronic headaches can be caused by physical, emotional, or psychosomatic factors. Fevers, metabolic conditions, or exposure to toxic chemicals are also causes.
Herbs can be extremely useful in reducing the pain and helping to rid the body of stress, toxins, or infection that is the cause of the headache. Feverfew has been shown in laboratory studies to relieve migraines in that it inhibits the release of the brain chemical serotonin from the blood cells which prevents restriction of the arteries. Another helpful herb is Ginger, which studies have shown acts as an anti-inflammatory decreasing the likelihood of platelets clumping together. A substance in Ginger called 6-shogaol seems to decrease pain. Ginkgo is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that improves blood flow and is also non-toxic. Passion Flower is a gentle relaxant which helps to loosen tight muscles in the tension headache sufferer. Valerian, as a sleep-inducing herb, is helpful for those who just need a restful night to relieve headache pain, and Osha Root, White Willow, and Hops Strobiles are also helpful.
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Note: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the use of a qualified health care professional. We strongly recommend the use of a physician for the diagnostic phase of any treatment. With an accurate diagnosis in hand, we believe the consumer, at that point, has a basic, unalienable right to seek out factual information on all therapeutic approaches, both orthodox and alternative, and choose those approach(es) that are right for them. Nonetheless, a "good doctor" should be considered a requisite starting point.

To U.S. Users: None of the products mentioned on this page have been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration; therefore, they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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