Many of us are often plagued by headaches that can range from moderate and tolerable ones to extreme cases that are sometimes hard to deal with. To an extent, Ayurveda can be helpful in determining the underlying cause of the headache and treating it efficiently.
There are majorly three types of headaches, each one of which is associated with a certain kind of dosha imbalance. They are as follows:
A Sinus headache can be caused usually during spring. This is the season in which major qualities of the Kapha dosha are predominant. Sinus headaches are caused by a Kapha-Vata imbalance. Nasal congestion,an overall heavy and dull feeling are all traits of a sinus headache.
Causative factors include:
- Accumulation of Ama (digestive toxins)
- Lack of Exercise
- Excessive consumption of heavy and cold foods
- Exposure to wind, fog and cold.
In the case of Sinus Headaches, it is recommended that you favor a Kapha pacifying diet. Include more astringent and bitter foods while avoiding sweet, sour and salty foods, especially during the spring time.
An impaired Vata dosha is what causes a Tension Headache. It is a very common type of headache that is characterised by a sharp, unsteady pain. It can be caused by:
- Mental & Emotional Stress
- Irregular food habits and sleeping patterns
- Improper diet
- Eyestrain caused by Exposure to a tV or computer screen for long hours
- Suppressing emotions
In the case of Tension headaches, it is better to include more sweet, sour and salty foods into your daily diet while avoiding bitter and astringent foods. This is part of a Vata-pacifying diet.
Caused by a Pitta-vata imbalance, Migraines are distinguished by a sharp, hot searing pain that is normally triggered by visual sensations such as eyestrain from excess use of computers and TV screens. They can also be caused by:
- Imbalances in Digestion
- Accumulated ama
- Excess Stress
For migraines, it is advised that you favor a Pitta-pacifying diet throughout most of the year. This would mean adding more sweet, bitter and astringent foods while avoiding acidic, sour and salty dishes. In this regard, tomatoes should be avoided as their excess consumption can trigger migraine symptoms. Additionally, you should avoid strong exposure to the sun.if you suffer from migraines.
A Few tips you can follow in general to treat headaches
- Most headaches are caused due to an imbalanced digestion. It is suggested that when you follow your dosha-pacifying diet, you start off the first few weeks with lighter foods before moving on to heavier foods so that it helps with your digestion.
- Freshly cooked, warm and organic foods are best for digestion.
- Eat your main meal at noon, when your agni is at its strongest
- Avoid aged cheese, butter, yogurt, leftovers and packaged foods. These are all difficult to digest.
- Avoid food combinations that disturb digestion. Eg: Milk combined with any food other than rice and wheat.
- Quit unhealthy habits such as staying up late at night, working excessively with computers, watching TV for long periods, exposing yourself to toxic fumes and chemicals etc.
- Plan a regular routine and stick to it. Make a habit of going to sleep early and waking up early. Include abhyanga (self-massage) into your morning routine. This will help improve circulation and enhance your digestion.
- To Balance digestion, exercise daily. Take a light stroll for an half an hour each day. Practice Yoga asanas that are known to help with blood flow to the brain.