Headaches can be debilitating. Whether it’s a sinus headache resulting from a cold, a cluster headache, or a full-blown migraine, headaches prevent you from getting work done, participating in the activities you love, and enjoying time with friends and family.
You have probably been told by your doctor to take a painkiller as soon as you feel a headache coming on, or perhaps you even have a prescription. With all the new evidence that has called into question the efficacy of these drugs, it leaves many of us with the difficult decision to suffer alone in a dark room, or take the risk and numb the pain.
The Problem with NSAIDs
NSAIDs, or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, are often used and prescribed by doctors to treat pain of all kinds, from arthritis to menstrual cramps. Common NSAIDs include Ibuprofen, Asprin, Midol, and Naproxin. According to the FDA, NSAIDS may (1):
Increase the risk of heart attack or stroke
Cause ulcers or bleeding in the stomach or the intestines
- high blood pressure
heart failure due to excess fluid retention of the body
- life-threatening skin and allergic reactions
- asthma attacks
Other potential side effects include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dizziness. Some studies have even linked the use of NSAIDs to miscarriages. (2)
If that list scares you, you’re probably feeling lost as to how to find relief from your headaches without the risk. Luckily, there are measures you can take to rid you of your pain easily at home, completely drug-free.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese Medicine practice that uses tiny needles on the areas that you feel pain, in order to relieve the excess tension and pressure that is causing you pain. Not only could this technique cure you of your headaches, but it could also help improve stress, anxiety, and depression. Acupuncture should always be done by a certified professional.
Acupressure is the same concept as acupuncture, only you are using your hands and fingers to target specific trigger points to relieve the pressure in your head. Unlike acupuncture, you can safely practice acupressure on yourself the minute you start to feel the tension rising.
5 Acupressure Points for Headache Relief
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, these are some of the best acupressure points for naturally relieving migraines and headaches.
Gallbladder 20 (GB20, Feng Chi)
This point is right at the base of the skull, where the neck muscles attach. To massage, clasp your hands together behind your head and use your thumbs to apply firm pressure at the site. Relax and message for 4-5 seconds. (3)
Gallbladder 21 (GB21, Jian Jing)
This point is midway between your spine and your rotator cuff. To massage, cross your arms on your chest and use your pointer fingers to apply pressure. (3)
Large Intestine 6 (L14, He Gu)
This is located at the highest point of the muscle when you squeeze your thumb and pointer finger together. Once you have located the spot, open your thumb and finger and massage the webbed area between the two digits using your thumb and pointer finger of the opposite hand. (3)
Triple Engergizer 3 (TE3, Zhong Zhu)
This point is located in the groove between the knuckles of your fourth and fifth fingers, on the top of your hand. Using your pointer finger of the opposite hand, apply pressure to relieve tension from the area. (3)
Temporal (HN5, Tai Yang)
Located on the top of the cheekbones, just behind the eyes. Use gentle pressure to massage the tension away. (4)