Roll On Headache Relief for the 7 Most Common Headaches

Roll On Headache Relief for the 7 Most Common Headaches

Have you ever thought about using an essential oil roll on for headache relief? Research shows these products work, especially for some kinds of headache. They don’t expose you to the risks associated with regular pain relievers. And a variety of premixed “essential oil” roll-on's now make it easy to try this fast, natural approach.                                                                                        

That’s great news for the nearly half of all adults who get occasional headaches – not to mention the additional 50 million Americans who live with chronic headaches or migraines.


How do essential oil roll on products work?

All essential oil therapy is based on the idea that you get sick (or get a headache) because your body’s natural balance has been disrupted. By using the right mix of essential oils, you can help set it straight again.

All essential oils are extracted from plants – their flowers, stems, leaves, bark, rind, or even roots. Each contains its own active ingredients. Sometimes the oils are inhaled. But for headache relief, they’re usually applied right onto the painful areas (forehead, temples, cheekbones, eyebrows, scalp, or the back of your neck).


Wonder what essential oils to use for headache and migraines?

Headaches are not all the same. So no single essential oil can relieve them all. Instead, you need the right essential oils for the kind of headache you’re feeling.

Stress and Tension Headache – Use Peppermint & Chamomile

Need an essential oil for tension headaches? You’re not alone! Nearly 80% of adults suffer with them, at least sometimes; and 1 in 33 people has a stress or tension headache every single day. Wow!

If you get them, keep essential oil of peppermint on hand. A German study looked at 41 people suffering from frequent tension headaches. They were asked to apply peppermint oil to their forehead and temples at the beginning of each attack. The researchers found that the oil was “as effective as 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen, the same dose as two extra strength Tylenol…”

Chamomile oil is also widely used to calm frazzled nerves. A 2012 study showed that it can improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, both of which provoke headaches. So consider using it along with peppermint.

Migraine – Use Lavender & Peppermint

And what essential oils are good for migraines? In a 2008 landmark study, 35 migraine patients were told to apply 2-3 drops of oil during every migraine attack. Half were given peppermint oil; the other half with given a placebo (fake drug). Of the 129 migraines reported by subjects using peppermint oil, 72% responded entirely or partially.

Compare that to acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin). All of them work about 58% of the time. Even prescription triptan drugs are effective only 60-70% of the time.

So peppermint oil beats them all! That might make it the absolute best natural remedy for migraine.

Lavender is also emerging as a powerful treatment for migraine. In a 2012 study, 47 migraine sufferers were divided into two groups. One applied lavender oil in the early stages of a migraine; the other used a placebo. All participants recorded the severity of their pain in 30-minute intervals for a total of two hours. Those who used lavender had “significantly greater reduction in migraine headache severity.”

Workout Headache or Dehydration Headache – Use Lavender & Peppermint

Dehydration and intense exercise can actually cause headaches and migraines. So start drinking plenty of water anytime you realize you’ve fallen behind.

In the meantime, you can soothe the pain with lavender oil to calm the nervous system. Add peppermint to stimulate blood flow and help oxygen travel more easily travel through your body. That should help relieve headache pain.  

Hormone Headache – Use Rose, Geranium & Neroli

According to the Mayo Clinic, changes in female hormone levels happen regularly – as the result of a woman’s monthly period, throughout pregnancy, and during perimenopause. Headaches and even migraine can follow.

When a hormone headache strikes, try essential oil of rose because it helps balance female hormones. And if your PMS (premenstrual syndrome) symptoms include headaches, some aromatherapists recommend adding a few drops of geranium oil.

Neroli (Bitter Orange) mixes very well with rose, and the combination can be especially effective for easing hormone headaches during menopause.

Sinus Headache or Allergy Headache – Use Lavender, Peppermint & Eucalyptus

Most experts say that a true sinus headache is very rare. Instead, roughly 95% of all reported sinus headaches are really migraines.

So treat a sinus headache as if it were a migraine, with peppermint and lavender oil. You can also add a bit of eucalyptus oil, because it helps open nasal passages and clear sinuses.

This same mixture is great combination of essential oils for allergy headaches, because of its helpful effect on congested nasal passages.


What’s the best way to use aromatherapy for headache relief?

It’s easy. Gently apply the essential oils to the areas that hurt. Be careful, though, because pure essential oils are extremely concentrated. You can irritate your skin by rubbing them on undiluted. So think about safer choices:

  • Dilute the oils in water and apply them with a compress to the painful areas;
  • Buy a premixed roll-on formula made especially for headaches. There are a few natural healthcare companies now offering these products. They aren’t always available at your neighborhood pharmacy, but they’re easy to find online.

Headache ReLeaf Roll-On is a good example. This pocket-size roll-on for headache relief contains 7% menthol which has been shown (at even lower concentrations) to offer significant headache and migraine relief to over half the people studied. It also contains 100% pure essential oils of peppermint, lavender, and rose. That’s a dynamite mix!


To get the benefits, buy high-quality essential oils

Inexpensive aromatherapy products can make your home smell good, but they have little (or no) therapeutic effect. At best, they contain a few drops of essential oil mixed with mostly a “carrier oil” like almond or grapeseed oil. That makes them too diluted to help your headache. (At worst, they’re made with chemical fragrances instead of any oils at all!)

To impact a headache, you’ll need to spend $10-100 for just one ounce of true essential oil. Remember, though, a single ounce holds hundreds of drops. And a typical dose is 1-2 drops. So you’re actually spending very little for each application.


And essential oils have no dangerous side effects

Over-the-counter medicine can’t make that statement. In fact, it is reported that 100,000 patients are hospitalized every year for complications associated with overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that were probably picked up at the grocery store. And 16,500 of them die from their medical emergency.

Luckily, the FDA requires manufacturers to place warning labels on all over-the-counter products, alerting consumers to their very real medical risks. Here are just some of those dangers:

Stomach and intestinal ulcers can develop because NSAIDs thin the lining of digestive organs, often allowing the medicine to burn a blister-like sore right through that lining.

Risk for heart attack and stroke increases in patients with (and without) prior heart disease or high blood pressure.  

Blood changes are not uncommon, especially with aspirin because once inside the body it damages red blood cells. In addition, aspirin thins the blood, so it’s particularly hazardous to anyone taking a prescription blood thinner, such as Coumadin.


High blood pressure can occur. In one study researchers looked at men who regularly took 15 or more over-the-counter pain relievers per week, and found that they were 48% more likely to develop high blood pressure than those using no painkillers.


So read before you swallow!

A recent study found that about 80% of people asked to read risk information for an over-the-counter drug failed to review even half of it. Don’t make that mistake.

And don’t assume the bottle label tells you everything you need to know. Always refer to the detailed information sheet folded inside the box, and check with your healthcare provider before dosing. 

Never self-prescribe. Many people feel the need to take a higher than recommended dose, more often than recommended, just to get the relief they need. This habit correlates to high risk for all the side effects mentioned above.

Plus, it can lead to medication-overuse headaches (MOH). Instead of easing your headaches, the pills actually can start to cause them. Experts say that if you taking them more than a few times a week, you’re probably taking too many.


So what’s the takeaway on natural headache pain relief?

A majority of adults get at least occasional headaches. When considering over-the counter medicines, it’s important to realize that these everyday products come with documented medical risks. Essential oils offer a safe alternative that can work, provided you use the right oil(s) for the kind of headache you’re experiencing. For starters, consider these seven useful oils: peppermint, chamomile, lavender, eucalyptus, rose, neroli, and geranium. Studies show that they work for a lot of people. Maybe you can be one of them.

Take care. Stay well.

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