A headache is a symptom rather than a disease and may be caused by high blood pressure, insomnia, weak eyesight, sinusitis, hunger, Anemia, listening to loud music, studying in improper light, emotional strain, overwork, constipation, and flatulence. In Ayurveda, headache is known as Shirahshool. Headache may be accompanied with watering of the eyes, bleeding from the nose or giddiness depending on the body energy that is aggravated. Ayurvedic headache treatment begins with a proper evaluation of the reasons and causes first.
Improper diet and lifestyle causes vitiation (impairment) of the vata (air) and kapha (water). Vata is obstructed by the kapha in the head region, causing headache. As the pain intensifies, vata also vitiates pitta dosha (fire), causing a burning sensation in the head, nausea and vomiting. Headache is also often caused by emotional stress, overwork or insomnia. All of these causes are considered along wih Ayurvedic observations before beginning headache treatment in Ayurveda.
- Pain in the back of the neck and shoulders.
- Pain in the head
Ayurvedic Headache Treatment
The traditional science of Ayurveda considers headache to be caused because of two primary reasons – a sensitive nervous system and impaired digestion. Improper diet and lifestyle causes aggravation of Pitta (Ayurvedic humor representing Fire) in the body. In an aggravated state, Pitta impairs digestion, leading to production of digestive impurities (known as ama). This ama gets stored in the manovahi strotas (mind channels), thereby becoming the cause for headaches. Ayurvedic headache treatment emphasizes on completely removing the toxins and strengthening the mind channels for long term relief.
A sensitive nervous system lowers the ojas (energy) in the body. Ojas is the essence of all body tissues and provides strength to the nervous system and body. If you have a strong nervous system, you are able to fight against problems and carry on with your work with a healthy mind. Lowering of ojas causes migraine-like problems.
Ayurvedic headache treatment does not focus on simply alleviating the pain but aims at treating the root cause. Herbal preparations are administered to balance aggravated body energies and restore the digestive function.
Diet & Lifestyle Advice
- Have warm and easily digestible foods, boiled and steamed vegetables, soups, vegetable juices, porridge, brown rice and whole-wheat flour.
- Eat fruits like apples, papayas, mangoes, grapes and pears.
- Buttermilk, salads, and boiled rice sautéed with cinnamon, cumin seeds and garlic or asafetida are good in the daytime.
- Also, 5-6 almonds or walnuts and some raisins can be eaten each day.
- Avoid refined, oily, spicy, cold and stale food.
- Avoid yogurt, especially at night.
- Avoid working for long hours continuously; take short breaks. Have a good night’s sleep in a dark room.
- Avoid overexposure to cold or hot weather. Cover your head with an umbrella, or wear a hat or cap when you go out.
- Apply a paste of ground clay or sandalwood powder mixed with rose water for relief in burning sensation with headache.
- Grind 10-12 grains of black pepper and 10-12 grains of rice with water to make it a paste. Apply this paste on affected area of the head for 15-20 minutes.
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of clove powder with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon oil. Apply this paste on the affected area for 20-30 minutes.