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We have all had a headache at least once in our lives.
And if you have, you know they are not fun.
In fact, they can be absolutely unbearable for some.

Of course there are ample products out there designed to help headaches and the symptoms that come with them. But many are full of ingredients that can be very harmful to us. And long term use can be damaging to us.

Some negative effects of taking NSAIDS for pain (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are gastrointestinal issues, allergic reactions, bloating, gas, kidney or liver issues, high blood pressure, and ulcers.  Now why would we pump our bodies full of something that could cause such terrible reactions?

We want relief, but there is a better way. More natural ways. And even better- they can be done at home with everything you need at your disposal.

Here are 10 ways to get rid of that pesky headache at home today!

1. Water
Hydration, hydration, hydration! Water is a key element to many ailments, especially headaches. If we are not getting enough water throughout the day, our bodies become dehydrated and we can get headaches, become irritable and even have trouble concentrating.

If you feel a headache coming on, you may just need some water. Some find drinking a glass of water (at least 8 ounces) will help their headaches within an hour’s time, faster than most NSAIDS.

A great idea to start your day is even drinking a glass of water once you wake up. This will get your day off on a good foot by immediately hydrating yourself. Bottoms up!

2. Caffeine- friend or foe?
Caffeine is known to assist with our moods and energy levels, and can even help us with a headache. You may be thinking that seems crazy that caffeine of all things could help with a headache, but it’s true! constricts blood vessels which can have a positive effect on headache symptoms.

BUT that being said, caffeine withdrawal has also been shown to cause headaches if a person regularly consumes large amounts of caffeine and suddenly stops, so caffeine should always be consumed with that in mind as it can affect people differently depending on their regularity of consumption.

3. Cold Compress
Applying a cold compress or cold cloth to your head may help reduce inflammation and is said to help slow nerve conduction and also helps to constrict blood vessels. Lying down with an ice pack or cold cloth over your eyes is a great and effective way to reduce your headache ailment- while also relaxing. Win win!

4. Try Yoga or Other Exercises
Yoga is known to be a wonderful stress reliever. It can also improve flexibility, build muscle, promote higher energy levels and decrease pain. Feeling more relaxed and stress free is a great way to help prevent a headache.

Regular exercise is crucial for our overall health. Physical activity has always been a well known treatment for headaches. Keep your body in motion!

5. Ginger Tea
Ginger has been used for centuries for many wellness benefits, such as headaches and migraines.

A common symptom that comes with headaches and migraines, is nausea, which ginger is widely used to target. Ginger contains many elements that have been known to have anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce headache pains.

It can be taken in many forms but the best and most soothing option for a headache, would be sipping on a nice hot cup of ginger tea.

6. Limit Alcohol Consumption
We all want to unwind after a hard day, or celebrate on the weekend. But limiting alcohol consumption can be key to preventing a headache.

Many find that too much alcohol can cause a headache. Especially if you had a little too much the night before, the next morning may make you feel a little rough. If you are prone to headaches, making sure you are consuming little amounts of alcohol at a time will help prevent that headache from sneaking in. 

7. Get A Proper Night’s Sleep
We need sleep to function at our best.

Getting a proper night’s sleep will help prevent headaches and keep your body performing at its best. When we don’t get enough sleep, we feel drained. Lack of sleep affects us in many ways, from low energy to physical symptoms such as headaches.

Ensuring we are getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night will help keep our body feeling rested and prepared to take on the next day. It will keep our bodies and mind feeling reenergized. 

8. Turn Down The Lights
When you have a headache, you become very sensitive to light. Keeping light dim and even reducing the light on your computer will help with that sensitivity. Many sufferers from a headache need to use a blue light filter on their computer so a headache doesn’t plague them when they are working.

If you feel a headache coming on, turn down the lights and let your eyes rest. 

9. Acupressure 
Applying pressure to your head is a great way to relieve a headache or migraine as it helps ease our tension and relaxes our muscles.

Using your index and middle  fingers, apply pressure to your temple, back of the neck and even between the eyes, while applying a slow circling motion. These are key pressure points where we most often feel tension. You can do this in 10-20 second intervals and repeat until you start to feel the tension release. 

10. De-Stress (meditation)
Meditation is widely used for de-stressing calming the nerves, much like yoga. However meditation allows you to sit in one spot and just focus on yourself. 30 minutes of meditation can help your body relax and melt away any tension.

The American Migraine Foundation states that meditation may actually work to inhibit the part of the nervous system responsible for stress. Frequent migraine attacks can be triggered by or aggravated by stress, tension, and anxiety, and mind-body techniques like meditation may relieve headaches by alleviating underlying stress.

There you have it.

10 simple, effective and drug free ways you can help your headache all while in the comfort of your own home.

Say goodbye to those pain meds and try one of these today. You have nothing to lose, except for the pain!





Resources:

https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/features/pain-relief-how-nsaids-work

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5655397/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3727573/

https://migraine.com/migraine-treatment/natural-remedies/ginger-for-migraine-headaches/

https://www.healthline.com/health/pressure-points-for-headaches#How-to-use-pressure-points-to-relieve-headaches

Rear view of a young man holding her neck in pain, isolated on white background, monochrome photo with red as a symbol for the hardening

According to the FDA, 60% of the US population is deficient in magnesium – a critical nutrient required for over 300 enzymatic processes in the human body. [1]

I have to confess I have a major problem with these FDA recommendations.

It’s my professional opinion (and one that’s widely shared in the nutrition world) that the levels of magnesium the FDA considers “non-deficient” are woefully low and way below what should be considered “optimal”.

By my definition, close to 85% of the population would qualify as having sub-optimal levels of magnesium.

Getting your body to optimal levels of magnesium and allowing these enzymes can run at full capacity can have profound effects on the health of your nervous and endocrine (hormone) systems.

There’s also some very cool functional applications for magnesium supplementation in acute muscle relaxation and improving sleep. More on this in a bit…

=>Click here to skip ahead and learn more about my favorite transdermal magnesium formula.

Why You’re Probably Magnesium Deficient

This simple answer to the question on why so many people are magnesium-deficient is “poor diets”, but this doesn’t tell the whole story.

The amount of magnesium found in our foods is ultimately dependent on how much magnesium is in the soil they’re grown in, and almost all of our produce today is grown in soil that has been farmed for decades by industrial farming operations and is badly depleted of magnesium and other nutrients.

Farmers use fertilizers to replace the nutrients the plant needs to grow, but this is a far cry from growing plants in truly nutrient-rich healthy soil. As a result, most foods today contain less magnesium and other minerals than they did historically.

What Happens When You’re Magnesium Deficient

As I mentioned above, magnesium is a necessary co-factor for no less than 300 enzyme-driven processes in the body, so it stands to reason that when your magnesium levels are suboptimal, there will be consequences.

  1. Muscle Tension – Every time you think to move a muscle, it’s the movement of calcium and magnesium ions through the membranes in your muscle cells that make this movement happen at it’s most basic level.

    When you’re magnesium deficient, you won’t have sufficient magnesium ions available in your muscles to allow for complete relaxation of the muscle after a contraction. Calcium accumulates in the cells, keeping the muscles in a semi-contracted state and chronic muscle tension results. [2]

  2. Headaches – As you probably know well, chronic muscle tension will lead to headaches. Beyond this, recent studies have found that magnesium deficiency is also a cause of non-tension migraine headaches. [2][3]

  3. Anxiety + Adrenal Dysfunction – A 2012 study detailed the connection between magnesium deficiency and chronic anxiety that doctors have observed for decades. Dysregulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) is often observed in cases of magnesium deficiency and researchers in this study noted that this HPA axis dysregulation was almost certainly the driver behind magnesium-related anxiety. [4]

  4. Insulin Resistance + Pre-Diabetes – Receptors for the hormone insulin on your muscle and liver cells require magnesium to function properly. Deficiency in magnesium will greatly reduce the sensitivity of your cells to this hormone. This increases risk for clinical “insulin resistance”, otherwise known as pre-diabetes. [5]

  5. Poor Sleep Quality – When the muscles are unable to relax completely and the adrenals are in a state of dysregulation, poor sleep quality is sure to result. It’s no surprise that this is one of the most common consequences of magnesium deficiency observed by physicians. [2]

Oral Magnesium or Transdermal?

The traditional way to address magnesium deficiency is through taking oral magnesium supplements.

While effective, there are limitations to this strategy. To fully address deficiency, magnesium needs to be delivered deep into muscle tissues throughout the body. While oral magnesium supplementation will achieve this eventually, it is quite slow, particularly when compared to transdermal supplementation.

I do still take an oral magnesium supplement daily, as I believe the absolute best strategy is to supplement both orally and transdermally. If you do take an oral supplement, choose one that is in chelated form (like magnesium glycinate) for maximum absorbability.

=>Click here to skip ahead and learn more about my favorite transdermal magnesium formula.

Why Transdermal Magnesium?

If you choose only one type of magnesium supplement, transdermal is unquestionably the way to go. Here’s why:

  1. Superior Absorbability – When magnesium is absorbed via the skin, absorption considerably more efficiently than in the gut, where other nutrients often impair the uptake of magnesium. [6]

  2. Muscle Relaxation – Perhaps the most compelling reason to use magnesium transdermally is the profound muscle relaxation it produces.

    When magnesium is absorbed transdermally, it moves directly into the skin’s dense capillary network. From these dermal capillaries, movement into neighboring muscle tissue is efficient and rapid.

    Whereas oral magnesium takes 45-90 minutes to reach skeletal muscle tissue and generally doesn’t penetrate very deeply, magnesium applied transdermally reaches the skin within minutes and produces a significant relaxing effect in the areas sprayed.

  3. Improve Sleep Quality – Whether you’re aware of it or not – when you can’t sleep, the inability of your muscles to fully relax is playing a major role.

    Using transdermal magnesium 20 minutes before bed will significantly improve sleep quality.

Transdermal Magnesium: The Options

1. Epsom Salt Bath  – This is the classic “old school” route to get transdermal magnesium, and in many ways, still the best.

You will absorb huge amounts of magnesium over the course of a 15-20 minute bath, and because you’re immersed in the magnesium solution, the absorption will be well distributed throughout your body.

The recipe is simple: just dissolve 2-3 cups of epsom salts in a warm (but comfortable) bath and get in. 15-20 minutes is plenty to absorb huge amounts of magnesium into your skin and muscles.

If you’re in need of therapeutic muscle relaxation, an epsom salt bath is easily the best option. Realistically though, it’s not exactly convenient for most of us to prepare a bath and hang out in it for 20 minutes every day. Thankfully there’s another option as of a few years ago…

2. Transdermal Magnesium Chloride Sprays – These magnesium spray products are relatively new to the market, and I couldn’t be happier to see them growing in popularity.

Transdermal magnesium sprays allow one to experience much of the absorption and muscle-relaxation benefits of epsom salt baths, but in an infinitely more convenient form.

At this point I’ve tried most of the transdermal magnesium products available, and the one I’m most sold on is a product from Activation Products called EASE Magnesium.

Here’s why: For a transdermal magnesium product to be fully effective, the magnesium must be fully infused – to the single-ion level – into the solution, otherwise it will simply sit on your skin and not absorb. This is what I believe sets this product apart.

Activation uses a more sophisticated and time-intensive infusion process to ensure the magnesium is completely infused in the aqueous solution.
The difference is significant, and the muscle relaxation produced by EASE is noticeably greater than with other magnesium spray products.

I use about 40 sprays of EASE Magnesium on my shoulders chest and neck (the muscles where I hold the most tension) about 15 minutes before bed and the effect on time-to-sleep and sleep quality is profound.

=>Click Here to learn more about EASE Magnesium Spray. If you deal with headaches, anxiety, muscle tension or poor sleep quality, this product can be truly life changing.

References

[1] http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=15672

[2] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/#en3

[3] http://cep.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/12/22/0333102414564891

[4] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390811003054

[5] http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/37/2/419.short

Source: Graham Ryan, Synchro