According to the NHS website it is estimated that more than 10 million people in the UK suffer with headaches.
Since the brain itself has no pain receptors it cannot feel pain, the pain that we experience as a headache comes from the structures that surround the brain, like the muscles, arteries, veins and nerves, which can become inflamed or irritated.
Generally headaches are thought of as either primary or secondary. If the headache is the main symptom you suffer then it is classified as primary. An example of a secondary headache would be, if you have a bad cold, flu or temperature, then having a headache would be considered to be caused by the virus and not therefore a condition on its own.
The most common headache experienced is a tension headache (primary headache). Tension headaches occur because of physical or emotional stress in the body. Sitting at your computer all day can strain your neck or shoulder muscles which can develop into a tension headache. Likewise it is not unusual for someone suffering emotional stress at work or home to get tension headaches. This is due to the way the body tightens the muscles and nerves when we feel stressed, which can impede the blood flow, causing irritation and inflammation, resulting in a headache.
There are lots of over the counter pills to treat headaches and some on prescription from the doctor. All medicines carry the warning of side effects and while most can deal with the pain of the headache, they are not good to taken long term. If possible a natural solution is the best outcome. Below I will tell you a little about Reflexology and how it can help with the pain of headaches.
Headache treatment – the Reflexology way
There are over 7000 nerve endings on each foot that correspond to all areas, organs and systems of the body. The toes carry the nerve endings of the head. By using different pressure techniques Reflexology can stimulate these nerve endings, release any blocked energy, increase circulation, relax muscles and bring about relaxation and healing.
The big toe is the starting point in treating headaches and often sore areas can be found on the toes or the base of the toes where they join the rest of the foot. Directly under the big toe is the neck reflex and under the small toe is the shoulder reflex. On the top of the foot between the webbing of the big and second toe is an area that can be sensitive in those who suffer migraines.
In the case of headaches the aim of Reflexology is to:
- Release any muscle tension in the head, neck, shoulders and spine.
- Enhance circulation to all areas of the body but especially the spine, neck, shoulders and head.
- Reduce stress and tension, which is often responsible for a large proportion of headaches.Improve nerve function.
What can I do to help myself?
There are things you can do to help yourself if you suffer from headaches on a regular basis:
Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to stop becoming dehydrated.
- Take breaks if sitting at your desk all day, as sitting in one position can cause tension in the neck, shoulders and back.
- Make sure if you are working on a computer where the screen is level with the eyes so you are not straining your neck muscles and make sure the back is well supported by your chair.
- Stretch out the muscles in your neck and shoulder regularly, especially if you spend a lot of the day in one position.