To help raise awareness for National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month in June and prepare you for a comfortable summer ahead, I've prepared a comprehensive roundup below.
I’ve missed out on a lot of life because of headaches and migraines and truly know first hand how debilitating they can be. From 13 years old, I started to experience migraines, growing up on the golf course and when exposed to the sunlight, it would trigger migraines with aura and this is when it all started. From missing school, to social events, then work and now life in general. I’ve picked up and learned a few tricks along the way for how to find relief and cope with the debilitating days caused by migraines and headaches. Below I’ve shared some of what I’ve learned and what’s worked for me over the years and I hope you too can find some tips on your journey to wellness.
Understanding Migraines and the different types of headaches:
The following is a snapshot of the most common types of migraines and headaches experienced by people, serving as an overview rather than an exhaustive list. It's important to remember that individuals may experience varying presentations, characteristics, and triggers for headaches and migraines, making each case unique.
The Most Common Types of Migraines and Headaches:
Migraines: Migraines are recurring headaches characterized by moderate to severe throbbing pain, often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and sometimes visual disturbances. They can last anywhere from a few hours to several days and can significantly impact daily life.
Tension Headaches: Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. They usually present as a dull, aching pain on both sides of the head, often described as a tight band or pressure. Tension headaches are often triggered by stress, muscle tension, or poor posture.
Cluster Headaches: Cluster headaches are intense, excruciating headaches that occur in cyclical patterns, known as clusters. They typically cause severe, piercing pain around one eye or temple and can last from a few minutes to a few hours. Cluster headaches often come with additional symptoms like redness or tearing of the eye and nasal congestion.
Sinus Headaches: Sinus headaches occur due to inflammation or congestion in the sinuses, usually resulting from sinusitis or allergies. They typically cause pain and pressure in the forehead, cheeks, and around the eyes. Other symptoms may include nasal congestion, facial tenderness, and a stuffy or runny nose.
Hormonal headaches: These are headaches that occur in relation to hormonal changes, such as during menstrual cycles or menopause and mimic symptoms similar to tension headaches or migraines depending on the severity.
It’s important to note, there are various subtypes and overlapping features within these categories. Someone can experience chronic or severe headaches, and once diagnosed their journey will begin to receive a personalized treatment plan to manage or hopefully lessen the episodes. If someone is experiencing recurrent or severe headaches, it is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.
Non-Conventional Headache & Migraine Relief Options:
For me, throughout my life, I’ve experienced each type of migraine and headache listed above and the various symptoms and flare-ups associated. In my teens, I experienced hormonal migraines that would trigger nausea and vomiting. In my early twenties, I started to experience visual disturbance and sensitivity to sound, and in my thirties, I started to experience vertigo symptoms. During flare-ups, I can be bedridden for 1-3 days until the pain and associated symptoms calm down. Understanding there is a genetic component to headaches and migraines at the end of the day they still cause debilitating days.
There are a couple non-conventional medical treatments that aid in reducing the intensity of headaches and migraines or the frequency in which they occur. In a recent blog post I wrote, here, I talk about acupuncture and the various benefits it can provide. Headache and migraine relief is absolutely one of the benefits I experience with acupuncture and it’s an important part of my on-going wellness routine. Acupuncture involves inserting tiny needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow, known as qi, to promote the release of endorphins, which act as natural pain relievers. It may also help reduce inflammation, regulate blood flow, and modulate the nervous system. Research suggests that regular sessions can potentially decrease the frequency, intensity, and duration of migraine and headaches. It is important to note that individual responses to acupuncture can vary, and it is advisable to consult with a qualified acupuncturist or healthcare professional for personalized treatment and guidance.
I talk a lot now about living a slow-paced lifestyle, which you can read about here. This has helped my healing and overall well-being, as well, going slow reduces the amount of swelling and inflammation in the body, which lessens the amount of headaches and migraines that are triggered. Also, when I’m more mindful, I remember to stay hydrated and cool, which is essential to keep the blood flowing and reduce inflammation which reduces episodes. Living a slow-paced lifestyle has shown to be a beneficial way to reduce stress, improve overall well–being, enjoy life more fully and be in the present moment.
When a migraine strikes, I've discovered a nonconventional yet effective approach to addressing cold feet. I've noticed that my feet are often cold during a migraine episode. If I'm at home, I take the time to soak my feet in hot water infused with NatureMary’s tea bag. The heat from the water redirects blood flow away from the head to the feet, providing relief by alleviating the pressure in the head. Alternatively, if I lack the energy to soak my feet in the tub, I place a heating pad on my feet to warm them up. This simple and unconventional tip has been a game-changer in managing my migraine disease.
Lastly, I do find relief with pharmaceuticals, and always have ‘emergency pills’ or triptans on hand for when I lose my vision entirely. That said, given the vast options available and how complex our bodies are, appropriate management and treatments should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
It's important to remember that migraines and headaches can vary from person to person, and not all remedies work for everyone. However, these techniques have been beneficial for me, and I hope they can provide relief for others as they navigate their wellness journey.
CBD and Natural Remedies to relieve Headaches & Migraines:
To round out this article and enhance your self-care routine, I’ve shared my top five CBD and natural remedies for relieving headaches and migraines! By incorporating these products, I've noticed a significant reduction in triggers and an overall calmer nervous system.
To start, I recommend indulging in a warm bath infused with NatureMary’s ‘steep your bath’ tea bag. It's my go-to for the ultimate relaxation and restorative bath. Or for an extra touch of luxury and to help with pain relief, I choose a Mojo Hydrotherapy CBD bath bomb while enjoying Apple music’s bubble bath playlist or the newest audiobook on Audible. Throughout, I ensure to stay hydrated with Flow Water and sometimes I'll enhance the experience with a CBD drink.
After my bath, I apply a touch of Saje Peppermint Halo behind my ears and in a halo effect across my forehead and roll NaturesMary’s Dream Pedicure Stick on my feet. Then, as I settle into bed, I find relief by draping a fresh out of the freezer Halfmoon lavender eye mask over my eyes to reduce swelling and inflammation. With these steps, I'm able to activate a deep, restful sleep, and often find that my migraines or headaches have lessened or vanished upon waking.
Make this royal self-care routine a must-have during National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month and beyond. I encourage you to incorporate these CBD and natural remedies for guilt-free relief and a rejuvenated well-being as you move forward on your wellness journey.
Highlighted is a more detailed description of the healing properties and benefits of each product I mentioned within the royal self-care routine.
NaturesMary’s ‘Steep Your Bath’ Giant Tea Bag
You don’t sip the bath, you steep in the bath to enjoy an at home luxury spa feeling! These single-use giant tea bags are formulated with a combination of ingredients including non-cannabis terpenes, earth clays, and botanicals that relax the mind and body, soothe the skin, and delight the senses. They are infused to provide the body with a host of benefits including detoxing the body of toxins, promoting better skin health, reducing inflammation and pain in the body and promoting better sleep. NatureMary’s is made in Canada, vegan and cruelty free and you can see their whole line of Premium Skincare and Therapeutic Bath products https://www.naturemary.com/.
Mojo Hydrotherapy CBD Bath Bomb
Infused with CBD, therapeutic grade lavender essential oil and loose leaf earl grey and made using products that are a blend of plants and oils; these products are handmade to order and will leave your muscles melting for 4-6 hours depending on your body and time soaked in the water. To view Mojo Hydrotherapy’s boutique visit https://instagram.com/mojohydro.
Halfmoon Lavender Eye Mask
This lavender scented organic cotton eye pillow is simple, beautiful, and calming. The soft cotton cover and weighted wheatberry fill relaxes the face and facial muscles by applying gentle and soft pressure to the eyes. The lavender scent elevates the sensory experience of your relaxation session. Use at room temperature, toss it in the freezer for post bath use or heat up in the microwave for an added warm touch and invigoration of the lavender aroma. To find out more about the Halfmoon Lavender Eye Mask and other wellness products visit here.
Saje Peppermint Halo
Roll the stick along your temples and hairline, creating a 'halo'-like effect. You can also roll the stick along the back of your neck and across your shoulders. And for extra cooling and soothing, roll directly onto your scalp. This is a must have tool in your migraine and headache arsenal, it’s small enough to fit in your purse or pocket so at first sight of a headache you can apply the halo. For more information about the Saje peppermint halo roller visit https://www.saje.com/
NatureMary’s Dream Feet Pedicure Stick
It's like lip balm, but it’s made for your feet! This stick instantly soothes and softens dry, cracked skin. It’s silky smooth, not greasy or messy, so you can use it any time to show some love to your hard-working and often-ignored feet. Your endocannabinoid system (ECS) needs to be nourished and supported just like any other physiological system in your body. Nourishing your ECS can be as simple as getting enough sleep, eating wholesome unprocessed foods, and relaxing fully in natural surroundings. You can also nourish your ECS with terpenes, botanicals, herbs, and other natural products and this is precisely what NatureMary products are designed to do– nourish your ECS. NatureMary’s is made in Canada, vegan and cruelty free and you can see their whole line of Premium Skincare and Therapeutic Bath products https://www.naturemary.com/.
Ensure you’re well supported:
Lastly, my medical team is diverse as it should be because the body is complex. The team works together and ensures that treatments are optimized and symptoms are monitored as they progress. It's not uncommon to have a neurologist, neuro-opthamologist, pain management physician, geneticist, acupuncturist, massage therapist and others working on your team to support you. This speaks to the complexity and how debilitating migraines and headaches can be.
You should always speak to your healthcare team if you have new or worsening symptoms, even if it’s to protect your mental health and peace of mind, ensure you have the conversation. And before you start any new treatment or therapy option speak with your healthcare team as every body reacts differently to treatments and you can weigh the risk vs benefit with your team together.
Overall, I hope this article has provided you with practical insights to enhance your wellness journey. By understanding migraines, exploring alternative relief methods, and discovering the potential benefits of CBD and natural remedies, you can equip yourself with valuable tools to manage headaches and migraines more effectively. Here's to a healthier, happier you, with fewer headaches and a renewed sense of well-being.