There are many different things that can cause headaches: Abrupt changes in your diet or an everyday schedule like getting too much or too little sleep, stress, long working hours, skipping a meal, or from using the computer for a long time without taking breaks. Headache can cause unbearable pain along with nausea, and at times vomiting. Many people don't realize that the most common cause of a headache is dehydration. There are many over the counter medicines available in the market to get rid of headache, but all of them have potential side effects, disrupt gut bacteria and can cause other health problems. Instead of relying on quick fixes through drugs, try some of these natural remedies which are proven effective for even some of the worst headaches including tension, cluster and migraines.
Headaches aren't unhealthy by themselves, headaches are a sign that tell us that something is wrong, however our body does not always give straight and clear signals that tell us how to behave. When our body is dehydrating, we don't always feel thirsty, and most often headaches is your body telling you to hydrate. Most adults require anywhere between two to five litres a day depending on their height and weight and depending on the type of lifestyle they have.
If the reason behind the headache is dehydration, then you can easily get relief from the pain by drinking large amount of water. Water is very effective home remedy for headaches. Simply drink a glass of clean, filtered water at the first sign of headache and continue taking small sips throughout the day. Once your body gets hydrated the pain will automatically start to ease. When suffering from a headache, it is advisable to stay away from any kind of drinks that can dehydrate your body, especially caffeinated.
2. Massage Scalp, Neck and Ear Lobes
Doing some light massage can distract you from the pain, as well as improving circulation and relieving tension. For a basic massage, gently press your fingers over your temples, and move them in slow circles. Or, try these more advanced techniques:
Do a scalp massage. Hop in the shower and treat yourself to a long scalp massage as you shampoo your hair. Or, for a drier version, pour a little bit of coconut or argan oil on your fingers and rub into your scalp.
Find two tennis or racquet balls and put them in a sock. Lie on a flat surface and place the two balls just below the base of your skull, on the occipital bone, and relax. You may feel sinus pressure or minimal discomfort at first but it will go away. This is especially helpful for sinus headaches.
Have someone else massage your neck and back if possible. The simple touch of someone else who cares about you can relieve a lot of tension instantly. Have them focus on the occipital region as well.
Gently massaging the bridge of your nose can help relieve sinus and migraine headaches.
Massage the soft part of your hand in between your index finger and thumb. Nerves in that spot allow your blood vessels in your forehead to constrict.
Firmly massage the acupressure point on each hand where the thumb and index finger bones meet (second metacarpal bone). It's best if somebody does this for you, so both hands can be massaged simultaneously, but if that's not possible, massage one hand for five minutes, then massage the other hand.
3. Ice Pack
Using an ice pack to apply cold compress over the forehead can give quick relief from headaches. To apply cold compress you can also apply a cold cloth on your head and temples for ten minutes and again repeat the process after some time until you get some relief. A bag of frozen vegetables can also serve as an icepack. When cold compresses are placed over the forehead, it numbs the pain and helps the blood vessels to shrink and improves the blood circulation, thus giving relief from the pain. This particular remedy works when the headache is due to stress or sinus.
4. Practice Relaxation Techniques.
People around the world use a variety of tricks to distract themselves from pain. If you're in the midst of a headache, don't worry about learning something new -- stick to whatever is closest to your comfort zone. (You can always read up on different meditation techniques later, when you feel better.) Some popular options include:
Listening to binaural beats
Try to just calm down. If you can fall asleep, that might help.
5. Hot Water
Applying heat on the back of your neck with the help of a hot water bag can give you relief from headache caused due to stress. When heat is applied it relaxes the tense muscles thus giving relief from the throbbing pain. Along with a hot water bag, you can also take a hot shower. Another option is fill a tub with bearable hot water and then put your hands in it for ten to fifteen minutes. When you do this, blood circulation improves and thus giving your relief from the headache. For those suffering from chronic headache, must keep their legs dipped in a bucket filled with hot water for ten minutes before going to bed.
Lemon is very effective and powerful ingredient to treat headache pain. When you drink warm water mixed with some lemon juice, it reduces the intensity of a headache. This particular home remedy is beneficial when headache is caused due to gas in the stomach. Another option is apply lemon crust paste on the forehead to get immediate relief from the pain. At the same time you may also drink a steaming cup of lemon tea three to four times a day when suffering from headache.
Can be taken in capsule or tablet form, as a tea, or even eaten in a sandwich (it tastes bitter). There is mixed evidence to support the effectiveness of feverfew but it has been relied upon for centuries, so it might be worth trying. There are no serious side effects, although you might experience a sore tongue, mouth ulcers, or nausea, digestive problems and bloating. Coming off long-term use of feverfew can disrupt sleep and actually cause headaches.
8. Betel Leaves
Betel leaves are known for their analgesic as well as cooling properties which can hugely help to get rid of a headache effectively within a few minutes. For this remedy, you need to take two to three fresh betel leaves and with the help of a grinder make a fine paste out of it. Now apply this paste on the forehead and both sides of the head for half an hour. Soon you will get relief from the intense pain. At the same time you can also chew one or two betel leaves to treat headache.
Aromatherapy preparations vary considerably but some of the more commonly used essential oils for headache treatment include lavender, sweet marjoram, and chamomile. Use for neck massaging, in a bath, or to inhale. Mix five drops rosemary oil, five drops nutmeg oil, five drops lavender oil in a carrier oil. Massage on the neck and upper back area.
Ginger has got anti-inflammatory properties that can help in easing headache pain. At the same ginger helps in relaxing the blood vessels in the head and reduces swelling in the brain and activates natural opiates in the brain which helps in lessening the pain associated with tension headache. When having a headache, you must drink ginger tea three to four times a day to reduce inflammation in the body. However, it is important to take ginger tea at the very beginning of a headache. This will help the ginger to act quickly and lessen the headache.
When you wake up in the morning with a headache, you must eat a piece of apple by applying some salt to it and then drink some warm. Soon you will be able to get rid of persisting headache. Along with apple, you can also use apple cider vinegar to treat headache. Fill a large bowl with steaming hot water and add three to four tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into it. Now place a towel over your head and take the steam for ten to fifteen minutes. Another option is to add some apple cider vinegar to a glass full of water and drink it two to three times a day to alleviate headache.
Almonds contain pain-relieving chemicals that may reduce your headache symptoms in as little as 10-15 minutes. A handful of almonds is always a handy natural substitute for any over the counter quickie.
Another endorphin stimulant, cayenne will help to alleviate your headache. Both consumption and topical applications are know to cure some of the worst headaches. Sweet Relief Cream is one type of topical application that works very well, especially when combined with DMSO.
Peppermint has got calming and soothing properties that can help in the treatment of headaches. You can make herbal tea by adding one teaspoon of dried peppermint herb in a cup of hot boiling water. Cover and allow it to steep for ten minutes, then strain it and add some honey to sweeten it before sipping it slowly. You can also use peppermint oil to gently massage the temples, jaws and the back of your neck. This will give you instant relief from the pain. In addition, inhaling the soothing aroma of peppermint steam can ease the symptoms associated with headache such as vomiting.
15. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil has got pain relieving as well anti-inflammatory properties. To quickly get rid of headache you must use eucalyptus oil to massage the forehead and temples for fifteen to twenty minutes. The oil will provide a soothing effect thus giving relief from the pain. At the same time it will also help in relaxing the tense muscles around head. Along with eucalyptus oil you can also coconut oil or almond oil to massage the forehead in order to get rid of your headache.
Cinnamon is another herb that can effectively treat headache. Take some cinnamon sticks and grind them to make a powder out of it. Now add some water to this powder to make a thick paste and apply it on your forehead and temples and lie down for half an hour. Soon you will get relief from headache. After some time wash your forehead with lukewarm water. This remedy is helpful when headache is caused by exposure to cold air.
John Summerly is nutritionist, herbologist, and homeopathic practitioner. He is a leader in the natural health community and consults athletes, executives and most of all parents of children on the benefits of complementary therapies for health and prevention.