Most of us get headaches every now and again. Some of us get headaches all the time. At least this is what the American Headache Society says. To be exact, it is reported that 90% of men and 95% of women get at least one headache over the course of a year. Out of this group, approximately 12 million Americans get chronic headaches. The vast majority of headache sufferers (over 75%) do so as a result of stress. 12% of headache sufferers endure migraines, which really isn't that surprising because we all probably know at least one person who chronically suffers from migraines. And yes, migraines are primarily caused by stress and anxiety.
While nobody likes to experience a headache, the fact of the matter is that headaches mean well - at least most of the time. Warning signs, if you will, headaches let us know that something else isn't right with the body. Whether it's dehydration, constipation, sinus pressure, stress etc., headaches are manifestations (symptoms) of underlying conditions. Granted, there are some people who seem to suffer needlessly from chronic headaches. Whatever the case is, headaches are crappy.
There are many things you can do to rid yourself of a headache besides taking aspirin, with prevention being the most effective. This is where stress management comes into the picture. More often than not, stress can be transformed into positive energy through mental and/or physical management. One of the best things you can do to melt away stress is yoga and meditation. Oh, did I mention that headaches can be signs of spiritual conditions as well? Yoga and meditation are especially excellent remedies against headaches, for not only do they help take the stress away, they teach us how to prevent stress from entering back into our lives. A true holistic remedy.
In terms of physical treatment, acupuncture and acupressure have shown to work well in both treating and preventing headaches. A recent study actually showed that acupuncture had similar results to a beta blocker medication called metoprolol. Studies also show that electrically stimulated acupressure needles work especially well. If the headache is tension related, besides yoga, getting regular massages is good for treatment and prevention, while a good way to get to the ultimate source is by getting electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback. In other words, becoming aware of the tension. Portable electrode devices help to pinpoint when tension starts and where it is being held, thus allowing a person to release the muscles creating the tension. In a study of 36 adolescents who experienced tension headaches, 86% of them experienced fewer headaches after receiving EMG biofeedback.
In regards to taking medication to treat migraines, if you feel you have to do so, please give vitamins and herbs a chance first. Magnesium, Riboflavin, Feverfew herb and Butterbur herb have all proven effective in clinical trials to prevent headaches. There is also a coenzyme, Q10 (a vitamin like substance) that has proven very effective in reducing migraine attacks. And remember, a headache is a warning sign. Be on the lookout!