Natural Headache Relievers
When you feel a headache coming on, don’t automatically go reaching for ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Instead, there are several natural methods to try to banish or prevent an annoying headache. Medical News Today takes the pain out of searching for it with their article “19 natural remedies for a headache.” We will take a look at some of those today, but first, we will explore different kinds of headaches.
Common headache types
Depending on your headache type, some natural remedies might work better than others at ameliorating the pain. Here are some of the most common kinds:
- Tension headaches- These are the most common and often occur when a person is overstressed, resulting in tense muscles. Pain tends to be felt in the middle and top of the head as a sort of tightness or mild to moderate soreness.
- Sinus headaches- This headache type is noted by pain behind the eyes, nose and overall general congestion in the head. And if you may have overindulged in cocktails the previous night, you might have a hangover headache that mimics this sort of discomfort.
- Cluster headaches- These headaches tend to wax and wane throughout the day, sending a stabbing, sharp pain to one spot of the head.
- Migraines- These are a type of common headache that can be more debilitating than the others, causing a throbbing pain behind the eyes that grows and pulses in the head. Sensitivity to light, activity or movement can also contribute to migraine pain.
Home remedies to try
- We would be remiss not to remind you of the potential benefits of chiropractic care to alleviate headaches. Though not a home remedy, regular and personalized chiropractic adjustments are a great preventive and healing therapy to apply to headaches, as well as the plentiful additional benefits.
- Water makes the world go round. Drinking enough water helps your body perform many essential functions, and it also can help prevent or reduce the severity of headaches. A mild or worsening headache can be a warning signal to you, altering you to dehydration in your body. So, drink up and eat foods with plenty of liquids, such as fruit, smoothies and soups.
- Keep it cold. A cold compress can help soothe a headache. An ice pack or similar cold item held to the head or neck may help constrict blood vessels and reduce inflammation, which in turn can temporarily relieve headache pain. A study titled “Randomized Controlled Trial: Targeted Neck Cooling in the Treatment of the Migraine Patient” in the Hawai’i Journal of Medicine and Public Health identified that applying ice packs to the neck for 30 minutes significantly reduced pain for migraine sufferers.
- Some like it hot. Or in this case, warm, by using a warm compress on tension headaches. Tension headaches often result from overtightened muscles, and thus a warm compress can help relax the muscles and bring relief. This could be a heated towel or a hot water bottle. A tepid shower or bath can also yield similar results.
- What’s that on your head? Sometimes accessories can cause irritation. A ponytail or a bun pulled too tight could be to blame, or perhaps a hat or headband putting pressure on your head.
- Don’t go to the light! Some people have light sensitivity that can manifest in headaches. Harsh fluorescent lighting or even the light from an iPhone can exacerbate headache symptoms. Try resting in a dark or dimly lit room while recovering.
- A spot of tea? Herbal teas help you get more water intake and help you enjoy the benefits of natural healing elements in a tasty way. Ginger tea has been found to be helpful with migraines according to some , while peppermint, chamomile and lavender have been recognized to have calming effects.
- Get moving! Exercise helps promote better circulation and can prevent or reduce headaches.
- You are what you eat. Food intolerance can cause or contribute to headaches. Take note if headaches often show up after eating. Keep a food journal of everything you eat, and this might help you narrow down your list of potentially triggering foods.
- Getting the right amount of Zs? Sleep issues commonly can result in headaches. Too much or too little sleep can cause headaches and other short or long-term health problems. Adults should try to get between seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
- Massage, anyone? Massaging points of pressure can help relieve tension in the head. It’s often an instinctive response to rub the back of your neck or pinch the nose in a time of stress. Depending on where the pain is, massaging the temples, jaw or neck can help relieve tension and reduce tension headaches brought on by stress. Other spots to try include between the eyebrows and under the eyebrows on either side of the bridge of the nose. Massaging the neck near the base of your skull can also release built-up tension.
- Frankie says relax. Relaxation techniques can also help with headache symptoms as well as stress and anxiety. See if deep belly breathing, guided meditation or active muscle relaxation have a positive effect.
- Three cheers for caffeine. Drinking a caffeinated beverage like soda, tea or coffee can sometimes ease a headache.
- How essential are essential oils? Aromatherapy can be helpful to some in headache management but be warned. Some essential oils and scents can be bothersome to some people and even make a headache worse.
- Blame it on the alcohol. Alcohol acts as a diuretic, which causes consumers to need to use the restroom more often and therefore become less hydrated. So, if you are worried about headaches, limit your drinking and see how it affects your symptoms.
- What’s that smell? Strong smells, such as perfumes or cleaning products, can be major headache triggers that are best avoided by those with sensitivity to fragrance.
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