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In this study, 67 people with chronic daily headaches were randomly assigned to a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and low in omega-6 fatty acids LA (linoleic acid), or to a diet low in omega-6 fatty acids, for 12 weeks. Headache symptoms were assessed through questionnaires, and participants also kept a diary, recording the frequency and severity of their headaches as well as the medications they used.
The study authors comment “Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids regulate multiple pain-related biochemical pathways,” concluding, “dietary interventions with targeted alterations in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids may be able to reduce pain.” Further research is needed to understand the role of dietary fatty acids in the treatment of headaches.
Medications alone are often not enough to heal the pain and frequency of chronic headaches. Fortunately, a number of complementary therapies that, when used along with conventional approaches, have been shown to help ease this type of headache, including:
Talk with a doctor. Headaches can be a sign of serious underlying illness, so it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Talk with a knowledgeable healthcare professional about complementary therapies that may help ease the pain of chronic headaches.
(Pain 2013;154: 2441–51