Headaches are the worst. They can make you irritable, unfocused, and can ruin your day. Headaches are one of the most common nervous system disorders according to the World Health Organization, affecting around 50% of the global population at one point during the year. There are several classifications of headaches that may start for a myriad of reasons. The biggest question we all have is, "how do I make it stop?".
There are many natural treatments for headaches such as chiropractic, trigger point therapy, massage, and essential oils. Another complimentary technique that has worked wonders when a patient comes in with a throbbing headache is acupressure.
Acupressure works by stimulating specific points on the body in order to help restore health and balance to the body's channels of energy and to regulate the opposing forces of yin and yang. Below are some points that have worked well for us in the past, and you can try on your own at home or work.
- The inside of the eyebrows just above the bridge of the nose - Application of pressure to this point, directly over the facial sinuses, can lead to relief for sinus pressure caused by allergies or even the weather.
- The temples - This area is great for tension headaches. Gently massaging both temples with your thumbs or fingers can help relieve some muscle tension.
- The base of the skull - This is the insertion point for many of the neck muscles. These points work best with firm, consistent pressure. Slightly tilt your head back and press upwards at the base.
- The web of the thumb - The specific point is in the thicker part of the web of the hand by the thumb. Firmly pinch the area between the thumb and forefinger with the opposing thumb and forefinger. This area may be sensitive at first, but the pain will usually dissipate after about 30 seconds. Be sure to do both hands.
- On the foot - Start between the big toe and second toe, and about one inch back. Like with the hand, press firmly on this spot for about 30 seconds. Make sure to do both feet!
These points are just a start. Please be aware that headaches can be a sign of something much larger. The American Headache Society recommends consulting your doctor if any of the following apply.
Systemic symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, or weight loss. Neurologic symptoms including confusion, blurry vision, personality changes, weakness on one side of the body, or sharp facial pain.
Very sudden headaches, sometimes called "thunderclap" headaches can be a sign of bleeding in the brain.
If you are older than 50 and experience a new or progressive headache.
If you notice your headache is significantly different than any headache you have ever had.
Other symptoms to keep an eye out for are stiff neck, rash, having the "worst headache of my life", and elevated blood pressure.