Cluster headaches can be a nuisance and extremely painful. Seasonal cluster headaches can interfere with daily activities or cause you to have to reschedule events.

In a previous post, we discussed the triggers of these seasonal cluster headaches, which are generally weather change and dehydration that comes with weather changes.  Below, we will look at a few ways to relieve the pain of these cluster headaches.

seasonal cluster headachesRelieving the Pain

Avoiding seasonal cluster headaches can be relatively easy.  Drinking plenty of water, wearing good eye protection during sunny days, and keeping warm in the chilly months are huge steps that will help prevent them.  Look at lifestyle factors too, as those will often play a role in cluster headaches. These migraines are more common in smokers and those who drink alcohol excessively.  During the cluster period, a smoker or drinker is more sensitive to the nicotine and alcohol, and even the slightest bit of alcohol can act as a trigger to more headaches.  Nicotine and alcohol, like caffeine, are stimulants and increase the pressure in the brain, which is why they are responsible, in many cases, for cluster headaches.

Don’t let the season change slow you down in your exercise routine! It has been shown that exercise is as effective as drugs in the treatment of cluster headaches. Remember that there are many different ways to treat headaches naturally. Try natural methods before jumping to a pharmaceutical agent that could prove to do more harm than good to the body.

Natural and Herbal Remedies

Some of the most successful natural remedies for headaches are dietary changes, massage, hypnosis, chiropractic care and acupuncture.  In addition to those, there are herbal remedies available as well. The most popular is feverfew, which inhibits the release of agents that dilate the blood vessels, stops the release of substances that cause inflammation, and re-establishes good tone in the blood vessels. Up to 70% of people with uncontrolled migraines have reported improvement in their symptoms by taking this herb. Additionally, one in three had no more attacks.  In the last 15 years, there have been more than 50 scientific papers written on the effectiveness of feverfew in the treatment of migraines.

Nutritional and Dietary Triggers and Changes

In addition to all of the above, nutritional deficiencies can play the part of migraine trigger as well.  These deficiencies can happen because of long-term poor dietary habits or because of the normal eating changes that happen as the seasons change.

Women with migraines are often low in magnesium, so that may be a supplement worth trying if you cannot get it sufficiently in your diet.  In some studies, supplementing with B6 and B2 (riboflavin) has been exceedingly helpful.  Essential fatty acids are vital for overall body functioning, but especially for those with migraine headaches.  If this is not something you can work into your diet, then supplementing with evening primrose, blackcurrant seed oil, or borage may be helpful and reduce the occurrence of cluster headaches.

Nitrates may be a trigger for cluster headaches. These are in processed and smoked meats.  Sometimes, they are even found in medications like nitroglycerin!

Unfortunately, for many, caffeine intake can be a trigger for cluster headaches. It constricts the blood vessels and increases the pressure in the brain.  Avoiding caffeine (tea, coffee, soda, chocolate, etc.) can be of great benefit if you suffer from cluster headaches that seem to come and go with the seasons.

I would recommend trying any or all of the above before turning to pharmaceuticals, which are not naturally made and can harm the body more than help it. Too many painkilling agents can actually cause the headaches to be more severe and frequent. This is referred to as the “rebound” effect, which is caused by the reaction to the clearing of the drug from the body. This is much like the headache you get if you quit caffeine or other stimulant. To avoid this rebound effect, try natural treatment remedies and lifestyle changes first.

 

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