There truly is no pain greater than a pounding head, those moments when you almost wish you had a hammer to beat out the pain. It can singularly destroy your day at work, make you miserable and leave you irritable. As hard as it is to believe, a headache, tension headache particularly, has to do with poor lifestyle habits rather than any other hereditary or chronic reasons.
The causes, symptoms and treatments for tension headaches
The common types of headaches include tension headaches, sinus headaches or migraine. Of these, tension headaches can be easily corrected by making a few lifestyle changes.
Tension headaches occur when muscles in the head and neck region contract to give you an intense, mild or moderate pain experience, like someone tied your forehead too hard. You may also feel some tenderness in the neck and scalp areas.
1. Not slowing down enough
You can make the tension headaches go away by eating better, sleeping better and slowing down in life in general and pacing yourself. Take out time for yourself. Nourish your body, mind and spirit. You can practice certain yogasanas, deep breathing practices and yoga mudras for immediate relief with these headaches. Some of them are even safe for work, if a headache episode ensues in the midst of a busy day.
Headaches can make you hard to be around. They can disrupt your productivity, affect your relationships and usually cause dullness and lack of interest when they have lingered on for some time.
To be fully productive, healthy, dynamic, to be able to give your 100% in what you do and be more available to the world around you, self-care may be a necessary investment. You can go for wellness retreats that specifically target particular medical conditions and craft a wellness experience around it. They provide treatments, healing foods, meditation workshops, herbal spa treatments and creative activities, among other features.
To make tension headaches, permanently go away, seek refuge in the endless gifts of Ayurveda in the form of holistic and deeply rejuvenating and detoxifying cleanses and treatments that are personalized to treat headache symptoms unique to your physiological and mental constitution.
Wellness Retreat Near Me
A quiet and heavenly place for the finest Ayurvedic spa and massage treatments that few people know about is the Art of Living Retreat Center, nestled at the top of Blue Ridge Mountains in Boone, North Carolina.
The center has all the ingredients-spa retreats, Panchakarma, finger licking delicious fare, Yoga and Ayurvedic Dosha balancing treatments with the idyllic views of the hills-that go into making a perfectly relaxed and rejuvenating vacation with quality soul-time. Here’s where you can check in with your loved ones for some well-deserved self-care.
2. Vata and Pitta imbalance
According to Ayurveda, tension headaches are caused by severe vata and occasionally pitta imbalance in the body. Vata is one of the three Doshas or bio energies in our body that regulate all natural processes in the creation. They function as a combination of the Five Great Elements of Panchamahabhuta in the nature-air, ether, earth, fire and water. Vata combines space and air, and governs bodily movement and the life force.
Vata is responsible for controlling nerve impulses and higher cerebral functions. It controls cell division, the arrangement of cells and formation of different layers of organ formation. Vāta also controls the mind, inhalations, exhalation, blood circulation. It controls feelings and emotions like alertness, nervousness, fear, anxiety, pain, tremors and spasms.
Vitiated Vata can cause anxiety, irregular appetite, mild weight loss, constipation, interrupted sleep, bloating and headaches.
3. Skipping meals
You may not realize how poorly it affects your health, particularly if you have a history of bad headaches. Skipping meals can increase your vata during the day. When you are working, engaged in activity and skipping meals, it can also cause pitta to get out of hand. All this can cause persistent headaches. So make sure you are eating on time, at frequent intervals every day and ideally on the same time.
4. Diet to balance Vata-Pitta
Vata is adversely affected by cold conditions. To help balance it, warm, cooked food should be included in your diet. You can have foods like stews, soups. Cold, dry, spicy and light foods should be avoided.
- Avoid raw food.
- Very heavy food can also lead to vata imbalance.
- Sweet, sour and salty food help balance your vata dosha when had in moderation.
Try some of these ayurvedic recipes as a ‘starter’ to balance your vata:
Vata balancing recipes:
Mix Veggie Salad
- Sweet potato
- Salt to taste
How to prepare:
- Steam or boil the sweet potato
- Blanch (boil, and then, cool) the carrots
- Mix the vegetables
- Sprinkle some grated coconut over it
- Add salt to taste
- Drizzle some oil on the mixture
- Toss and serve
- In general, it will be best to cook the vegetables.
- You can also pick from this choice of vegetables for the salad – beets, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, green beans, lettuce, mustard greens, okra, peas, potatoes, sweet pumpkin, radish, spinach, berries, cherries, fresh dates and figs. It will add color and flavor to your vata recipe.
- As part of the salad dressing, you may choose from among these – lemon juice, chili powder, hing (asafetida) powder, rock salt, sugar/jaggery and til (sesame seed) oil.
Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup red pumpkin peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, washed and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon (tsp.) cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. clove
- 1 tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- 3 cups water and 1 cup coconut milk or 1 cup of each, half-and-half
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Nutmeg for garnish
- 2 tbsp. ghee
How to prepare:
- Boil or steam the butternut squash and pumpkin.
- Now, add the water or coconut milk and mix. Keep aside.
- Warm the ghee. Add the cumin, ginger, turmeric powder, clove, and cinnamon in it, till an enticing aroma fills the room.
- Add the spices to the original mix.
- Mash the mixture with a masher.
- Garnish with nutmeg.
- Serve hot.
Dehydration is a common cause of fatigue and tension headaches. If you are trying to quit caffeine, you can experience headaches as one of the withdrawal symptoms. Hydration is very important in treating these kind of headaches. Experts recommend drinking a glass of water every hour to two hours to keep tension headaches at bay.
6. Abhyanga is highly recommended
One of the most effective methods to heal Vata imbalance is self abhyanga or warm oil massages. Abhyanga calms the mind and the nervous system that is under attack from the physical stress and psychological or emotional stress we carry into our systems from our work place, relationships or family interactions, all of which distracts you from being a true centered and ever joyful Yogi. Abhyanga helps you eliminate this emotional toxin which is stored in our body in the form of stress and tightness. It leaves you feeling peaceful, clear and light.
You can try self abhyanga with Shankara’s Calming Body Oil, that comes with the incredible goodness and nutrition of Sesame oil; Macadamia nut oil; Almond oil; Avocado oil; Hempseed oil; Vitamin E Tocopherol; Evening Primrose oil; Sandalwood EO; Borage oil; Cardamom EO; Vetiver EO; Haritaki extract; Shatavari extract; Dashmoola extract; Gotu Kola extract; Aniseed EO; Clary Sage EO; Cypress EO (Leaves); Ginger EO (root); Bala extract; CO2 extract of Helio Carrot; Shavegrass extract; Rose extract; Calendula extract; and Jasmine extract.
Self-Abhyanga is the practice of massaging yourself with the help of oil to balance doshas. The three main benefits of Self Abhyanga are-
· Nourishes your body and has anti-aging effects.
· Stimulates internal organs and better circulation that improves waste removal and detoxification of the digestive system.
· Better sleep quality.
7. Try Yoga
Yoga is one of the best non-invasive and preventive solutions for neck and headache pain. Yogic stretches can release the pressures from the various muscles and spine that have been compressed from lack of movement and buildup of stress and tension. A sequence of Sukshma Yoga (light warm up asanas that bring sustainable relief) and other Yogasanas or Yoga postures as prescribed in the ancient Indian Vedic texts can work for a stronger neck and muscles in general.
These Asanas, apart from helping relieve your stiffness, will also relax your mind, freeing you of the stress that has been sitting in your system. But, it is most important that each Yogasana is done while paying attention to the breath and the region or part of the body that is getting stretched in the process of doing the asana.
(Also Read: 13 Tips To Heal Neck Sprain)
8. When headache is due to muscular tension
When the headache is due to muscular tension, a really effective option is regular oil massages that can help relieve the tension, stress or stiffness from the concerned parts of the body. Shankara Muscle Release Oil is herbal oil known for its ability to relieve muscular tension, that is pain that emanates from neck or shoulder region. For headaches that have their origin in Vata imbalance can get reduced by applying specially formulated calming oils or calming essences, au naturale and deeply relieving.