Last Updated on November 11, 2022 by Brenda
A soothing and calming spa-like experience awaits you using aromatherapy with the best essential oils for headaches.
The oils will prove therapeutic leaving pain medications with their side effects behind. Lavender was used by the British until 1940 when chemicals for pain were being manufactured. People mixed Peppermint and Eucalyptus with alcohol to rub onto their foreheads and it gave them relief.
Relieving Headache and Migraine Pain with Aromatherapy
There are numerous types of headaches with migraines being the most painful and most debilitating. I once had right eyeball pain known as ophthalmologic migraines and it felt like knives were in my eye under pressure. The cause?—my right contact lens was too tight and once that was corrected, no more migraines. If you have pain behind your eyes, be sure to see an ophthalmologist (medical doctor) for diagnosis. An optician cannot do this; they make glasses and cannot prescribe medications.
A migraine is a severe and painful type of headache associated with throbbing pain, nausea, and heightened sensitivity to light and loud sounds. Some people first have the intense pain with visual disturbances. You might see an aura or small cross hatches or jagged lines in your visual field that lets you know a migraine headache is on its way. You might have blurred vision with more symptoms.
A superb essential oil for migraines is Rocky Mountain Oils™ Migraine Support blend. It is a sweet floral minty fragrance and is light for relaxation that’s what your muscles need. The 15 mL bottle contains Marjoram, Lavender, Peppermint, Helichrysum gymnocephalum, Roman Chamomile, and Helichrysum italicum, the very best headache relieving oils. This oil can be used for cluster, tension, sinus, and all headaches as well.
The short but exceptionally painful cluster headaches occur mostly in the spring or fall every day for weeks and months. Some people think they have allergies, but that’s not true. It involves a facial nerve and these headaches occur more often in men than women around age 30. They can go into remission and come back as before. It creates pain around one eye and hurts worse than a migraine. This headache is called the suicide headache because you would rather be dead than pace trying to get rid of it. It feels like intense stabbing pain around one eye with tearing, redness, and swelling or drooping of the eyelid.
The hypothalamus in the brain that is your internal biological clock controlling your sleep/wake cycles seems to be responsible, but no one seems to understand the nerve pathway or how it is activated. The trigeminal nerve near your eye going up to your forehead, across your cheek, down your jawline and above your ear is the culprit. This nerve serves you for feeling heat, cool, and pain in your face. Cluster headaches do not last as long as migraines but are more severe.
This type headache feels as though a band is tight around your forehead and head with tormenting pressure. The pain is not as intense as cluster and migraine headaches but is still severely painful. These are usually caused by hiking up shoulder muscles putting tension on the back and neck muscles. The muscles become tight and you have pain. Find a way to relieve your stress and do some upper body exercises getting out of your chair. Other causes might be mental worry and stress, not enough sleep, bad posture, poor eating habits, smoking, and alcohol. Some prescription medications can cause these headaches and should be discussed with your doctor. Some of the best essential oils for tension headache relief are discussed below.
Sinus headaches are so miserable you can’t think straight. Keep a humidifier in your home to have moist air at all times. Some use essential oils that you can add to the water. Dry air makes the mucous membranes in your nose hard and causes congestion in the sinus cavities in your head in front at the forehead and under your eyes. You can use both products too; a humidifier and an essential oil diffuser simultaneously. Read below the essential oils for sinus headaches.
There are TMJ headaches from the temporal mandibular jaw bone that is mechanical and must be corrected by a TMJ specialist. The pain is at the temples in front of the ears and the pain makes it hard to move your jaw and when eating because it’s so painful sometimes making a clicking sound.
Sugar headaches are caused when people have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Always consult your healthcare provider if it associated with diabetes.
How Essential Oils Work for Headache Pain
There is too much hype about pain killer medications for treating headaches. Some are so highly addictive causing the opioid epidemic in society today. Many have side effects and they are all expensive. The USA has so many people who became hooked on pain killers once used for legitimate pain but then their bodies got used to it and wanted increasingly more.
The best 100% essential oils for headaches are a safer and more effective way to fix what distresses you. With essential oils, you will find pain relief because they improve circulation and reduce stress. They boost your immune system, are relaxing, and soothing. Aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years by ancient cultures and Native Americans who understood them well.
Nothing is new under the sun and what was one done millions of years ago is being done today with technology. Another subject.
Headaches Have a Trigger Source
We can’t see these triggers so it’s hard to believe it’s happening. Women have major headaches due to hormone changes during their menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause. When estrogen levels drop, headaches can follow. Replacement hormones can make headaches worse in some women. Stress is another main trigger.
Sometimes allergies, pressure from sinus inflammation, food allergies, head colds, and excessive exercise can be a trigger. Hair pulled back tight in ponytails or wraps can cause bad headaches. Be sure your teeth are in good condition because they too can cause headache pain.
The best recommendation is to use essential oils to rescue you from headache pain and any condition you have.
Most Popular Essential Oils for Headaches
Essential oils provide pain relief for increasing wellness. The plant’s essence gets to the root cause of your problem treating the triggers that cause your pain. Put the number of drops you need into an ultrasonic diffuser using water, or the entire bottle in a nebulizer diffuser that uses no water for a more intense aroma. You will have no side effects from nature’s pure oils and you control the dose with the drops you use.
You can also add a few drops to your bath water or use with a carrier oil for a massage.
1. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata)
The aroma of Eucalyptus radiata is similar to Eucalyptus globulus being fresh, clean, medicinal, and slightly woody with additional sweet and fruity notes making the scent a bit softer. Eucalyptus radiata is considered the most therapeutic of the three varieties to give you headache relief.
Because Eucalyptus works like an expectorant, it will rid your body of toxins opening the nasal passages eliminating pressure so that liquid mucous can flow. The pain-reducing and relaxing effects can be beneficial to people suffering from tension headaches.
2. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender is considered the must-have oil to keep on hand at all times due to its versatile uses. It relieves headaches to calm and relax you with its therapeutic properties that promote peaceful sleep and ease feelings of tension often found in cluster, tension, and sinus headaches. Add the essential oil to a diffuser and take deep inhalations to provide a calming effect.
3. Helichrysum (Helichrysum gymnocephalum)
This oil is an anti-inflammatory to help with headache pain of all types. It has a musky, slightly honey-sweet and pleasantly pungent aroma like wild sage, making it ideal for pairing with Peppermint and other minty essential oils. It is used to enhance youthful skin and applied to sore muscles to recover from overdoing exercise and tension to relieve headaches. It clears congestion that can cause headache pain.
4. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita or balsamea Willd)
Peppermint has a considerable amount of menthol. It relaxes, and eases tension headaches associated with tight muscle pain. It is very stimulating so might interfere with sleeping. This is the most often suggested to use of the mint family; however, Spearmint is lighter. The benefits include the long-lasting cooling effect on the skin, ability to inhibit muscle contractions and role in stimulating blood flow in the forehead when applied topically.
Applying peppermint essential oil topically across the forehead and on the temples effectively lessens tension headaches.
5. Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
Roman Chamomile, like Lavender essential oil has a high percent of esters (isobutyl angelate). Therefore, this oil provides anti-inflammatory and sedative properties. It is also a good oil to use if you are trying to alleviate a headache during the evening and nighttime hours. It is relaxing to remove tension when you have horrific headaches.
6. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary has a strong herbaceous, floral, slightly woody, balsamic aroma presenting a top-middle fragrance note. It helps with muscle tightness and aches with tension headaches. Don’t let muscle aches and pains slow you down. High in camphor, Rosemary soothes our tired bodies and enables us to keep going. The camphor smell reduces congestion to eliminate sinus headaches.
7. Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
Spearmint oil is highly recommended of all the mints second to Lavender to use use for headaches and contains menthol. Menthol opens the airways often causing sinus and tension headaches. Blend a few drops with a carrier oil and massage at your temples.
Put a few drops in your essential oil diffuser and inhale the mist. Don’t confuse Spearmint with Peppermint. Spearmint is more cooling with more distinctions for what aches you eliminating sore muscles relieving all types of headaches.
Other essential oils for all types of headaches are: Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Jasmine, Lemongrass, Marjoram, and Patchouli.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) helps sooth an upset stomach and relieves pain when you have a migraine. Ginger tea leaves have been used for centuries to relieve vomiting, nausea, and an upset gastrointestinal tract. Do not make tea with essential oils!
Marjoram (Origanum majorana) has a warming effect on your body and mind and relieves tense muscles and is well-known as a natural analgesic. It helps to relieve the pain of a headache. It is also an antispasmodic to relieve the tight, sore muscles that generally accompany a migraine headache.
Methods for Applying Essential Oils
- To improve blood circulation when you have headaches and get rid of all that tension, dilute 2 to 3 drops of peppermint oil with fractionated coconut oil and rub it on your shoulders, forehead, and the back and sides of your neck.
- Lavender essential oil encourages you to relax. It will relieve stress and tension in your muscles and is calming. Breathing it in through a diffuser or using it topically in a massage cream affects the limbic system through your skin to relax the central nervous system. This makes it the supreme essential oil for treating headaches of any type. When your sleep is restless, a big cause for headaches, this will help to regulate serotonin levels in your brain that are responsible for getting to sleep.
Add 10 drops to your bath water and breathe in deeply. Add about 5 drops to your diffuser water and inhale that too.
- For migraines, massage Peppermint or Lavender essential oil with a lotion or carrier oil into your temples and back of your neck. It will also get rid of the queasy feelings of nausea and with the anxiety you get with those feelings.
- For tension headaches apply Eucalyptus or Peppermint oil to your temples, forehead, and wrists to reduce tension and stress. Running warm water on your wrists from the sink faucet helps too when you raise the temperature 15-degrees on your hands. This will short circuit a vascular headache such as migraine by helping to normalize circulation. Soak your hands in a large bowl of hot water and relax.
- For sinus headaches mix Eucalyptus essential oil with a lotion or carrier oil and apply it to your chest area, top of your nose and temples to open up clogged nasal passages. This will help with inflammation and tension in the sinus cavities.
- For sugar headaches that very few people get from low blood sugar levels, mix equal parts of Lavender, Rosemary, and Coconut Oil applying to the skin at your temples, forehead, and back of your neck.
- Add one drop of Rosemary to a cup of soup or smoothie, but no more than one drop.
Using Cold or Hot Compresses
Most people find that their headaches respond best to a cold compress, but you can use a warm or hot compress or alternate the two for the result that works best for you. You can also place a second compress at the back of your neck and sides of your neck. When you do not have time for compresses, dab a small drop of Lavender, Eucalyptus, or Peppermint oil on each temple. For some people, a hot bath only makes their head pound more. However, if bathing does ease your pain, add a few drops of relaxing Lavender or Chamomile to your bath water.
Headache Recipe Blend for Migraines
- 1 bowl filled with refrigerated cold water
- 2 cups ice cubes
- 2 drops Marjoram essential oil
- 2 drops Ginger essential oil
- 1 drop Peppermint essential oil
- 1 washcloth
Put the ice cubes into the cold water and add the essential oils that will float on top. Stir it and put the washcloth into the mix and apply to your forehead avoiding the eyes. Apply to the sides of your neck where the carotid arteries are. These arteries supply blood to the head and brain. Repeat as the washcloth becomes warm. It will usually work in about 10-minutes.
Potential Side Effects of Essential Oils for Headaches
If you have not used essential oils before, do a patch test about the size of a nickel on your top wrist. If you don’t itch or get a rash, you’re probably okay to go. Dilute the oil with a carrier oil, lotion, or cream and apply to your skin areas. One to two drops should work in two tablespoons of an oil base.
Final Thoughts on Essential Oils for Headaches
Rest in a quiet dark room and be sure to drink lots of water. Dehydration can cause headaches so drink plenty of water. Chiropractors can help with headache pain making spinal adjustments to nerves running down the spine. I visit my chiropractor in conjunction with using the best quality essential oils for headaches. You never ever want to buy cheap inferior essential oils.
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