Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is not a new condition. In fact, this affliction has been medically documented since the 19th century. At that time, it was referred to as nervous exhaustion. In the 1980s, CFS earned renewed interest. At that time, reports throughout the world indicated widespread outbreaks of long-term incapacitating fatigue. Hence, new light was shone on CFS to not only diagnose it, but also to help people better understand it.
Natural Treatments for CFS Headaches
Patients and medical professionals alike indicate that headaches are one of the most common symptoms of CFS. These are described differently than headaches that routinely occur in healthy people, and often characterized by unique patterns with great intensity. Thus, treatment of these headaches requires specialized remedies.
Many people feel overwhelmed when faced with extreme headache pain, and therefore turn to the relief offered by over-the-counter medications. However, these pose the potential for long-term problems and often possess their own side-effects. Alternatively, natural remedies exist that offer healthier benefits and no additional complications. Stress is known to aggravate those symptoms linked to chronic fatigue, most notably headaches.
Eliminating this debilitating condition will give a person a more positive outlook and also help them feel more energetic. Natural ways to reduce stress include exercise and spiritual practices like yoga and meditation. Other less physical methods for stress reduction involve reading, gardening and indulging in warm baths. Practicing good posture is another way to relieve headaches.
When muscles are constricted and tightened in poor positions, they can create head pain. Fatigue, stress and general body aches frequently cause people to hunch their necks and shoulders. This, in turn, can cause more pain that is likely to travel among muscle groups. Simple techniques like neck stretches, shoulder rolls and gentle massage can loosen tight muscles and relieve pain. Another natural remedy for CFS headaches is to rest quietly in a dark room with a cool wash cloth on the forehead. This is a tried and true remedy known to calm the body and create a sense of peace.
Increased Awareness of the Body
Studies reveal a strong correlation between the body and mind. Thus, researchers have developed methods that incorporate both to help relieve stress, ease aching muscles and remedy CFS headaches. Increased body awareness, therefore, is another way to combat headaches. Two widely accepted therapies for achieving this are biofeedback technique and relaxation training. Both practices yield success rates that rival those of prescription headache medication.
Biofeedback technique uses an electromyogram instrument to monitor bodily responses to stress. Those responses commonly include muscle tension or changes in skin temperature. As a person continues to use such an instrument, he or she becomes cognizant of poor reactions to everyday stressors. Accordingly, behavior modification can occur so that muscles do not clench or tense and cause painful headaches:
- Frontalis: forehead muscle that tightens up when a person is under pressure or worried.
- Masseter: jaw muscles that often remain clenched during moments of anger, frustration and stress.
- Trapezius: this muscle causes shoulders to hunch and remains tight when a person is anxious or alarmed. This muscle also reacts to environmental stressors that include sitting for long periods of time at a computer.
Relaxation training involves learning how to achieve a mental and physical state of calm within just a few moments. This relies upon a set of systematic procedures instead of just sitting and attempting to abruptly relax. This training is recommended for CFS headache management because most head pain is related to stress.
For persons with CFS, stress does not need to be expressed. Simply the anticipation of physical pain or everyday demands can trigger a headache. Relaxation training works to retard the sympathetic nervous system, which is also responsible for responses to stress. This system triggers erratic heart rates, increased blood pressure, shallow breathing and muscle contraction. All of these contribute to headaches, and managing them can also relieve torturous head pain.