Are there different types of headaches?
A headache is never just a headache. That’s why it’s so important to resist the urge to cover up symptoms with drugs, and take a moment to figure out what’s causing your pain. And just like there are different types of stomach pain with different causes, your headaches are sending specific messages too.
Natural Headache Remedies
Ayurvedic medicinal practice has a unique, holistic approach to healing headaches from the source. Ayurvedic principles teach that there are 3 different ways that your mind and body get pushed out of balance. This causes 3 totally different headaches: Vata Headache, Pitta Headache, and Kapha Headache.
A Vata headache is predominantly felt in the back of your head. The pain tends to be throbbing, or even moving slightly. If you’re experiencing this, it may be due to one of these causes:
- Neck and/or shoulder muscle tension
- Stiff back
- Toxins in the colon (associated with constipation)
- Anxiety and fear
How to Treat a Vata Headache
You can treat this type of headache with 3 steps. Step 1 is a tonic, Step 2 is an oil massage, and Step 3 is nasal aromatherapy.
- Boil 1 tsp haritaki powder in 1 cup of water. Drink hot.
- Massage your neck with some warmed up calamus root oil.
- Lie flat on your back (get a small pillow or rolled up towel for neck support), and place 5 drops of warm sesame oil at the opening of each nostril. Breathe slowly and relax for a few minutes.
A Pitta headache is felt from the temples, but it travels to the center of your head. It is often described as “shooting” or “piercing” pain, and it can come with feeling nauseous and having sensitive, burning eyes. It can also be made worse with bright lights and hot temperatures.
This type of pain is caused by:
- stomach imbalance (like heartburn)
- intestinal imbalance (like indigestion)
How to Treat a Pitta Headache
If you get these types of headaches, it’s important to use preventative treatment as well as treatment at the actual time of the pain. Again, there a few different remedies that work for Pitta headaches.
- Eat cucumbers, cilantro, and dates regularly
- Eat 2 tbsp of aloe very gel 3x a day
- Put 3 drops of ghee at the opening of each nostril before you go to bed
- Massage your feet and scalp with warm coconut oil before bed
A Kapha headache is at the front of your head, and can extend through your forehead down to your sinuses. It often feels dull, and not a sharp pain. Many people say it gets worse in mornings or evenings, and when they bend down. It can come with a cough or stuffy nose. This type of headache is caused by:
- Sinus congestion
- Hay fever
How to Treat a Kapha Headache
In addition to finding the source of your allergies and congestion, these remedies will deal with your headache pain.
- Mix ½ tsp of sitopaladi powder with 1 tbsp raw honey. Eat 3x a day.
- Put 1 drop eucalyptus oil in a bowl of warm water. Bend your head over the bowl, and cover it with a towel. Inhale the steam for a few minutes to ease congestion.
While these are the 3 major headaches according to Ayurvedic medicine, those who practice it also recognize other small causes of headaches. When you get rid of these, the headaches should immediately go away. These pesky causes include:
- Sleeping with too many pillows
- Incorrect posture (sitting at a computer for hours will really affect your neck!)
- Being exposed to cold temperatures
- Eye/Ear Problems (regular trips to the doctor and optometrist can catch those issues fast)
- Extended travelling
- Emotional buildup (meditate, talk it out, you got this)
See? Absolutely none of these required reaching for a pill bottle. When you take the time to learn your body’s language, it makes a huge difference to every aspect of your health.