Despite being generally harmless and very common, headaches can disrupt your daily life. Ranging from discomfort to tension and from bearable to cluster headaches that are very painful, headaches are often treated with over the counter medication but natural remedies also exist. In some cases, natural treatments are more effective because they do not only treat the symptoms but also the problem that caused the headache in the first place.
Here are some of the most effective methods to fight headaches naturally:
Drink More Water
Inadequate hydration can lead to many problems. Tension headaches caused by dehydration are very common. In fact, dehydration can cause migraines as well. In both situations, drinking water can relieve pain symptoms. However, prevention is always better than treatment so make sure you drink enough water in a day to avoid headaches altogether.
If you’re experiencing irritability, lack of concentration, and you feel the tension building up, drink some water before your symptoms escalate to unbearable headaches.
Magnesium is an important mineral that regulates many functions in our body, including nerve transmission and blood sugar levels. Unknowingly, many people have magnesium deficiency that can cause frequent headaches and migraines. These magnesium deficiency symptoms can be easily treated with magnesium supplements. If you notice that your headache symptoms disappear soon after taking a magnesium supplement, consider taking these supplements regularly because you may have magnesium deficiency. However, magnesium supplements can cause digestive side effects in some people so start with a smaller dose or consult your family doctor for advice.
Drink Less Alcohol
Everybody knows that drinking too much can cause a serious hangover with painful symptoms. Headaches and migraines are the most common symptoms of hangovers because alcohol is a vasodilator and it can cause tension and cluster headaches. In addition, alcohol acts as a diuretic, causing you to lose electrolytes and fluid and leaving you dehydrated. We already established dehydration is very dangerous and it can cause severe headaches.
While a glass of wine is usually ok for adults, if you experience headaches, it is best to give that up too. Also, make sure you don’t drink during the night because alcohol can disrupt your sleep, leaving you tired and prone to headaches.
Improve Your Sleep
It’s no surprise that sleep deprivation can cause headaches and other serious health problems. People who sleep less than 6 hours are more prone to experiencing frequent headaches than those who sleep 6 to 8 hours a night. However, getting too much sleep can also trigger headaches. That’s why it is important to create a sleep schedule that works for you and your needs. There are people who need 9 hours of sleep per night while others feel best with only 7. For maximum benefits, find the right schedule for you and stick to it.
Use Essential Oils
Aromatherapy is a great natural remedy for headaches if you use the right scents. Lavender essential oil and peppermint essential oil are the most helpful aromatherapy oils when you have a headache. You can diffuse or apply these oils around your temples to reduce headache and migraine pain. If you choose topical application, make sure you use a carrier oil to dilute the essential oil of your choice.
Lavender essential oil has natural calming properties and can help you get a good night’s sleep, making it perfect to use before going to bed. On the other hand, peppermint essential oil boosts energy levels and improves concentration so it is recommended for treating headaches that occur during the day.
Use A Cold Compress To Soothe Pain
While waiting on the natural remedies to relieve your headache symptoms, you can use a cold compress. Applying a cold compress to your head and neck area can slow nerve conduction, decrease inflammation, and constrict blood vessels, which can give you almost instant pain relief. You can make a cold compress by filling a bag with ice, wrap it in a towel, and place it on your neck or on your forehead.
Drink Some Ginger Tea
Ginger root contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, thus it is great for alleviating headaches. In some cases, ginger tea can be just as effective if not more effective than over the counter medication because it can also reduce nausea and vomiting that can occur in severe headaches.
Take Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is another natural remedy against headaches. This substance is naturally produced by the body to help turn food into energy. Coenzyme Q10 also acts as a powerful antioxidant so it is a great natural remedy for headaches. Taking coenzyme Q10 supplements reduces headache intensity and frequency but also symptoms associated with this condition, such as nausea and vomiting.
Regular exercise can reduce the frequency of headaches and migraines. However, during a tension headache, it is hard if not impossible to exercise. Enters yoga. Yoga can reduce the intensity and frequency of headaches. Yoga also increases flexibility and improves your quality of life.
Drink Caffeinated Beverages
Sipping coffee or black tea may provide headache relief. Caffeine increases alertness, improves the mood, and constricts blood vessels, which can have positive effects on those who experience headache symptoms. However, it is important to not drink more than 3 cups of coffee per day, 6 if you prefer lattes to black coffee, because if you consume large amounts of coffee and you suddenly stop, you can trigger bad headaches and migraines that are very common caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
The old Traditional Chinese Medicine practice of acupuncture has been linked to a reduction in headache severity and frequency. Acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles into the skin to stimulate specific points on the body and it’s a great natural treatment for chronic headaches and other types of chronic pain.
Stay Away From Strong Smells
While aromatherapy and the soothing scent of lavender and peppermint can reduce headache symptoms, strong smells such as perfume or air fresheners that contain fragrance can cause headaches or worsen the symptoms if you’re already struggling with a tension headache.
Osmophobia, odor hypersensitivity, is very common in people who suffer from chronic migraines. If you suspect you might have osmophobia, stay away from cigarette smoke, strongly scented perfumes, air fresheners with artificial scents, and even foods that are strongly scented.