It's a condition that impacts millions of people: chronic migraines and headaches. None
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- An estimated 37 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic headaches and/or migraines. The majority of sufferers are women.
If you’re one of them you know, a headache of this magnitude can knock you out for days.
With so many suffering, NBC Charlotte decided to do a little digging outside of traditional treatments to uncover unconventional methods to put an end to the pain.
We found five alternative remedies for headache sufferers and one common practice that might be causing more harm than good.
1) Chiropractic care:
Dr. Jonathan Stevens of HealthMax Center in Pineville helps headache sufferers through regular neck and back adjustments.
"The brain controls everything in your body. It sends signals down the spinal cord out the nerves so the nerves get compressed which causes different types of headaches and migraines so when we do a light adjustment on the neck it's actually going to fix the problem," Stevens said.
2) Daith piercing:
Typically done at a tattoo shop, this piercing passes though the ear's innermost cartilage and is meant to act similar to acupuncture using pressure points to relieve headache pain.
While the procedure is hit or miss, when it works, believers say the results can be life changing.
The popular cosmetic treatment to achieve smoother, younger looking skin is now being used to stop migraines.
Dr. Mica Newman-Koehn explained, "Basically what the Botox does is it weakens the muscles that give the intense part of the headaches. And so it's a series of very small injections with very, um, very superficial just under the skin into the superficial muscles that cause those muscles to weaken for about three months and it significantly decreases the number of headaches that people have a day and decreases the severity of the migraines that they have."
4) Peppermint oil:
Experts say tension headache sufferers can find quick relief from applying the oil to the head and face.
The cooling sensation not only soothes the skin, it also helps to relax the muscles in the head.
5) Capsaicin Cream:
This cayenne pepper based cream is especially helpful for those who get cluster headaches.
Experts suggest applying a small amount of the cream to the inside of the nostril on the side of the head that's hurting to block nerve pain signals.
While many react to the onset of a headache by taking medication to treat it, doctors say doing this too often could actually be making matters worse causing what's called "rebound headaches."
Dr. Charles Gordon, a headache specialist with Novant Health in Charlotte, said rebound headaches happen when the wrong medicine is taken too frequently.
"But it's not in the short term. It's not in like the next day or the subsequent day or something like that but the more days in the week you take it (the wrong medication) beyond a certain frequency, beyond a certain duration," Gordon said. "One or two months and you start to wind up or crank up this momentum of migraine progression."
In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, if you're taking pain medications, even over-the-counter, for more than two days a week, you're at risk of developing rebound headaches.