Ayurveda takes a different approach. Vaidyas, or traditional healers, say that your headache is a wake-up call: Pay attention to your body, your mind, your emotions. What is causing your pain? And how can you get to the root of the problem? Every headache has a story to tell. Read on to determine the cause of your pain, then try a few natural ayurvedic remedies.
Ayurveda classifies many headaches according to which dosha (or subtle energy principle) is out of balance in your body-mind: vata, pitta, or kapha.
If you have throbbing, pulsating, migrating pain in the back of your head, you have a vata headache. Neck and shoulder tension, back stiffness, and signs of toxicity in the colon (like constipation), and unresolved fear and anxiety can contribute to this type of pain.
If your headache starts in your temples and spreads to the central part of your head, you can trace your problem back to pitta-related imbalances in the stomach and intestines (such as acid indigestion, hyperacidity, or heartburn) and/ or unresolved anger or irritability. Pitta headaches are characterized by shooting, burning, piercing, or penetrating pain, and may be associated with nausea, dizziness, and/or a burning sensation in the eyes. These symptoms are worsened by bright light, hot sun, or high temperatures, or by eating sour fruits, pickles, or spicy food.
If your headache occurs in winter or spring, strikes in the morning or evening, is accompanied by a cough or a runny nose, or gets worse when you bend down, you have a kapha headache. Usually dull and deep-seated, the pain starts in the upper frontal area of the skull, moves down to the forehead, and can creep into the sinuses. Sinus congestion, colds, flus, hay fever, and other allergies cause kapha headaches.