When you have a busy day or an important event, the last thing you wanna have to deal with is a headache. It often comes unexpectedly and if it’s not treated properly, the pain may linger for hours or even days. Every person experiences a headache in a different way. The pain may vary from just a tingling sensation to a pain so strong that it requires medical intervention. One thing is sure – it comes in the least expected moments and usually takes us by surprise. That is why we would like to share with you the best home remedies that can help you relieve the pain fast. These will come handy especially to those who don’t like taking medicines or have to take extra care of their liver and stomach.
Common Causes Of Headache And Migraine
Almost everyone experiences a headache at some stage. Sometimes the pain causes only minor discomfort, but many people suffer from frequent, strong headaches and migraines that prevent them from carrying on with regular activities. Unfortunately, there are many factors that can trigger the headache. Some of them are physical, like dehydration, sinus problems, or lack of sleep. In other cases they are caused by exposure to temporary or permanent stress and tension.
In order to get a quick relief from pain, we tend to reach for some over-the-counter painkillers, which is perfectly fine if the headache occurs only occasionally. However, if it’s a recurrent problem, your stomach and liver can suffer from regular intake of medicines. In that case, you should try one of the home remedies for headache we recommend below.
Home Remedies For Headache And Migraine
Since one of the most common causes of headache is dehydration, the first thing you should do as soon as you feel the pain coming is to rehydrate your body. Drink a glass or two of water and continue to replenish fluids throughout the day. Remember that not every liquid will hydrate your body properly. Your best bet is mineral water in the amounts between 1,5-2 litres a day. Some sports drinks work well too because they contain electrolytes that stimulate the body hydration. What you should avoid at all costs, though, is alcohol. It may be a liquid, but in fact, it dehydrates your body – the process known well to anyone who has ever suffered from a hangover. Tha same happens with coffee, which – consumed in excess – reduces the level fo hydration in your body. Additionally, it flushes out magnesium, which is crucial for maintaining a strong nervous system. Low level of magnesium means a smaller ability to deal with daily stress, which usually equals headaches.
Drinking warm water with freshly squeezed juice from half a lemon is recommended not only for those who want to improve digestion and lose weight, but also those suffering from headaches. Lemon has refreshing and relaxing properties and may reduce the pain. Also, even though it has an acidic taste, it actually helps you alkalise the body. Why is it important? When your body is in an acidic state, you feel tired, you don’t get a proper rest at night and are more prone to bacterial and viral infections. By drinking lemon juice with warm water every day, preferably first thing in the morning, you will regulate the pH of your body, you’ll feel less tired and will keep the headache away.
The best choice would be organic lemons, squeezed just before the consumption. Remember that lemons contain a high level of vitamin C, which gets damaged when it comes in contact with oxygen. It is especially important to make the most of these properties when your headache is caused by a cough and flu or can be linked to a bacterial or viral infection.
If the headache you’re experiencing is caused by sinus problems or stress, then cold compress or an ice pack will numb the pain. Low temperature shrinks the blood vessels. It slows down the rush of blood to your head and gives an instant relief from pain. Additionally, it relaxes the muscles that can get very tense when you get stressed.
Get an ice pack or wrap a few ice cubes in a clean cloth and press it against your forehead or the back of your neck. Make sure that ice does not come in direct contact with the skin. If you don’t have ice, you can simply use a bag of frozen peas or wet a cloth in cold water and place it on your head. It may get warm quite fast, especially if the headache is accompanied by fever, so you might have to wet it again several times before you fell better. Remember that this treatment usually helps, but may also bring the opposite effect and make the pain more intense. If you feel that the ice pack doesn’t bring the expected relief after 5-10 minutes, stop the treatment and try something else.
If the headache is caused by stress, you can make an attempt to treat it with hot water. Get into the shower, open the tap and set the temperature for the maximum bearable one. Stand under the shower and place the stream of water on the back of your neck. This will not only improve the blood circulation, but also relax the muscles in your back and shoulders. You should feel an almost instant relief. Alternatively, you can fill the bath with hot water and relax in the tub for 15-20 minutes. This will have a beneficiary effect on your whole body. Remember that all the muscles in your body are connected and it’s not enough to relax only the shoulder if you want to achieve a more permanent effect in your fight against a recurring headache. If you are short of time and can’t take a shower or a bath, then simply put your hands under the stream of hot water for 5 minutes. This should improve your blood circulation and alleviate the pain at least partially.
Peppermint can help you ease the headache and is an extremely good choice when the pain is accompanied by nausea or vomiting, which are common symptoms of a migraine. Just like with all food-based home remedies, it’s best if you go for its organic version. You can use either fresh or dried leaves of peppermint. Crush them slightly in a cup and pour some hot water over them, then leave them to steep for a few minutes. You can breathe in the steam from the freshly brewed peppermint as the smell has a strong relaxing and refreshing effect.
If you have a peppermint oil, you can apply a few drops on your temples, jaw and back of your neck and then perform a gentle massage. This will help you relax and improve the blood circulation, which, in turn, should give you a relief from the headache.
You can use ginger root to alleviate the pain since it has anti-inflammatory properties and activates natural opiates in the brain. Those substances make your body relax and they slightly numb the pain. Cut a few pieces of fresh ginger root and place it in a cup. Pour some hot water over it and let it steep for 5-7 minutes. You can make more ginger tea straight away and drink it throughout the day in small amounts.
Another way to consume ginger is to add it to your homemade fruit and vegetable juices. Just a small piece of ginger root not only improves the taste of, for example, apple, carrot and orange juice. It also gives a boost to your digestive system. If you eat ginger regularly, you will also feel more energetic, you will move more and improve your blood circulation. As a result, you will be less prone to headaches.
If you are a big fan of ginger flavour, you can also chew a piece of ginger root. Whichever option you choose, remember that ginger is the most effective when used as soon as the first symptoms of pain occur.
Just like lemons, these fruits help maintain the right pH level in your body. It has also been proven that the smell of green apples can help reduce headache, including the migraine ones. Eat half an apple as soon as you feel that the headache is coming. For best results, drink a glass of water afterwards to make sure you stay hydrated.
Apple cider vinegar has the same properties. You can either add it to your salads or drink a mixture of 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a teaspoon of honey and a few drops of lemon juice in a glass of water. Make sure the water is not too hot since high temperatures kill the healing properties of honey.
One of the home remedies for headaches and migraine that can be used both internally and externally is cinnamon. You can either add a pinch of cinnamon to your tea and drink it several times throughout the day or you can grind some cinnamon sticks, add a few drops of water to the powder and mix it until you get a smooth paste. Then apply it on your forehead and temples and relax for 15 minutes. You might feel a bit of tingling on your skin, but it’s completely natural. However, if it turns into a burning sensation, wash it off with lukewarm water. Some people have very sensitive skin and direct contact with cinnamon paste can irritate it.
Lavender is known for its soothing and relaxing properties. Try drinking some herbal tea with lavender three to four times a day and you should notice a significant decrease of the migraine pain. If you have time to relax and lie down, you can get two lavender sachets (available in pharmacies and health food stores) and place them over your closed eyes. Lavender reduces blood vessels inflammation and helps you relax. That is why it’s very effective when you fight migraines caused by stress and muscles tension.
The legend among home remedies. Eucalyptus oil has strong anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, therefore is widely used in home treatments aimed at pain relief. Massage a few drops of eucalyptus oil into the temples and the back of your neck. This will relax the muscles and improve blood circulation. If your headache is the result of a sinus infection, then you can try an inhalation with eucalyptus oil. Fill a bowl with hot water, add a few drops of the oil and sit with your face over the bowl for 10-15 minutes. For best results, cover your head and the bowl with a towel so that you make the most of the steam. This inhalation loosens up the mucus that blocks the sinuses, improves the blood circulation and relaxes the muscles. All-in-one treatment for your headache or migraine.
Change Your Diet
Research shows that headaches and migraines may be an allergic reaction to certain foods. If you have recurring headaches, you should try tracking down everything you eat and see if there are any patterns. The foods that you should pay special attention to are: chocolate, cheese, salami and any products containing aspartame. Alcohol and caffeine might also cause an allergic reaction and both of them cause dehydration when consumed in excessive amounts.
Some small changes and additions to your diet can help you avoid pain and deal with it easier once it comes. For example, nuts are known for their pain relieving properties. Whenever a headache or migraine strikes, just reach for some nuts instead of a painkiller. They numb the pain due to a high level of salicilin – a common ingredient of many painkillers.
Magnesium, Vitamin B2 and Melatonin
Increasing the levels of certain elements can make you less prone to headaches and migraines. The ones pointed out by researchers most frequently are magnesium, melatonin and vitamin B2. If you are not a fan of synthetic supplements, you can simply alter your diet and make sure you get enough products containing magnesium and vitamin B2 and those stimulating the production of melatonin.
Foods rich in magnesium are: pumpkin seeds, yoghurts, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs, dark chocolate and bananas. To up your intake of vitamin B2, you should eat more: cheese, almonds, oily fish (e.g. mackerel), eggs, mushrooms, sesame seeds, seafood and spinach. Melatonin gets produced by your body and you can stimulate it by eating: pineapples, bananas, oranges, oats, sweet corn, rice, tomatoes and barley.
Close Your Eyes and Blinds
Light can be a very irritating agent when you suffer from a migraine, so it’s best to lie down in a dark room. Close the blinds or the curtains and switch off any sources of artificial light, like TV, smartphone or kindle. Resist the temptation to read, watch the news or check social media updates. The more your eyes are exposed to light, the stronger the migraine pain will be. Some people claim that they use sunglasses inside the house to reduce the pain caused by the light. Another good idea is a sleep mask that blocks the light completely – a great solution when the curtains in your bedroom are not opaque and some light still gets in through them.
Find a Quiet, Peaceful Place
Another element that both triggers migraines and worsens its symptoms is noise. Again, switching off the TV should be the first thing you do. If you live beside a busy and noisy road or you have a happy, loud family, then use some noise-cancelling headphones. You can also listen to some relaxing music, but make sure it’s not too loud.
Once you block all the light and noises, simply lie down and try to take a nap. The body regenerates and deals with diseased best when you rest. That way, it can focus on solving the problem instead of on moving and thinking. Some people feel better after just a 30-minute nap, but some need long hours to recover. It’s very individual. However, you should remember that just like the lack of sleep can cause headaches, sleeping too much may bring exactly the same result. You will know best which one is your case.
Get a Massage
An ideal way of getting rid of the headache through a massage would be to get someone to give it to you. Like this, you can be completely relaxed and make no effort at least for a moment. If you can’t get a massage, then there are some very simple ways to improve your blood circulation and relax your muscles yourself. Apply some eucalyptus, almond or coconut oil on your temples and perform a gentle massage with your index and middle fingers. You need to apply a bit of pressure in order to stimulate the blood circulation, but make sure it’s not too strong. The massage is supposed to be a relaxing experience that will help relieve the pain so be gentle, especially when you give it to someone else.
Instead of essential oils, you can use some cold water for the massage. The low temperature will additionally constrict the blood vessels and slow down the rush of blood into your head. That way you will fell less pressure that causes extra discomfort when you’re in pain.
Is exercising the last thing you want to do when you have a headache, let alone migraine? It is perfectly understandable, but whenever the pain is light enough to do just some basic aerobic exercises or even go for a brisk walk, try to do it. Exercises help improve the blood circulation and may help you get rid of the pain instantly. It not only improves the blood circulation in the whole body, which stop the blood from rushing into your head. It is also a great way to reduce stress and clear your mind. Sometimes the pain may go away when you simply stop worrying or stressing yourself out over something.
While drinking coffee in large amounts may have a dehydrating effect and cause headaches and migraines, a small amount of coffee can actually help you fix the problem. Try having one small cup of coffee (but avoid espresso and go for a small latte instead) or a cup of tea. Stay away from all kinds of energy drinks as their level of caffeine is way too high to use them for this purpose. You have to remember one important thing, though – caffeine can help you fight a migraine only if it wasn’t the cause of the problem in the first place. If you think your headache was caused by an excessive intake of caffeine, avoid its further consumptions until all the symptoms are gone.
When Should I See The Doctor
While most headaches go as fast as they came and are relatively easy to treat with some home remedies or over-the-counter painkillers, it is very important that you observe the body in case of recurring pains. No medicine, even as common as paracetamol or ibuprofen, should be administered without medical consultation for more than 10 days.
If you see that even when you stay hydrated, get a good quality sleep and avoid stress, the headache keeps coming back, make sure you see the doctor, who will examine you and do some tests. You may have already made friends with your headache, but you must know that it’s presence is not a natural state of a human body.