There is not a soul I know that doesn’t experience headaches. I think it’s safe to say that headaches are fairly universal.
If you are anything like myself, you’d rather go to the ends of the world to find a natural way to help alleviate any pains or discomforts in your body because you absolutely hate taking medication. Medication spooks me out. I would much rather remedy a problem naturally if I can.
Read on to find out how to naturally take care of a headache.
Firstly, What is a Headache?
This is not a scientific definition but a headache is when a person feels pain in their head or face. This pain can range from feeling tightness, pressure or tension, a pain behind the eye, cheeks or forehead and throbbing in the head.
There are different kinds or headaches with varying causes and symptoms. Such as, tension headaches, migraine headaches, cluster headaches and sinus headaches. Below is a list of 10 different natural remedies to relieve headaches.
1. Use a cold or hot compress
Placing a cold pack (DIY: ice cubes wrapped in a towel or frozen veggies pack) on your head or forehead for about 5 minutes and then taking a break for another 5 minutes can help alleviate migraines. However, for tension headaches, place a warm compress at the back of your neck or back of your head to help relieve tension. For sinus headaches, placing a warm cloth to the area that hurts or taking a warm shower could do the trick.
2. Ease any pressure on your scalp or head
External compression headaches are caused by really tight ponytails or wearing a tight hats, head-wraps or headbands. Anything external placed on your head that is too tight causes a headache. In a study conducted it was found that when women loosened their hair they saw their headaches disappear. So maybe just try that before reaching for that Panado?
3. Dim the lights
Flickering and bright lights may cause migraines, even from your computer or cellphone screen. If you are prone to them, try to cover windows with blackout curtains during the day and wear sunglasses outdoors. Turn the brightness on your electronic’s screens down and turn on the eye comfort setting that filters out blue light to help relieve visual fatigue.
I can recall a time I was so sick with the flu and just lights, in general, would really mess with my head and give me headaches and so my siblings were forced to switch off our room’s light for my comfort. Low-key felt a little good to have that power, lol.
4. Try acupressure or a massage
Acupressure is the act of applying pressure on certain parts of the body for 1 to 2 minutes at a time. This helps best to relieve tension headaches at the back of the neck or base of your skull. A massage is the rubbing and kneading of muscles and joints of the body with the hands. You can do it yourself for a few minutes massaging your neck and temples to help relieve a tension headache, which may arise from stress.
5. Practice relaxation techniques
Learning how to chill out when you’re experiencing a headache can help dissolve the headache. There’s tons of ways to relax just don’t reach for that glass of wine though, that might actually make things worse because headaches can be caused by dehydration & alcohol can dehydrate you further. Try yoga, taking a light none-vigorous walk, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation or stretching. Just lay off on the work and tasks that require a lot of brain activity and just relax.
6. Use essential oils
Believe it or not but some headaches can be triggered by strong scents and the reverse is also true. We can alleviate them through certain scents.
Essential oils are concentrated liquids that contain aromatic compounds from a variety of plants and they have many therapeutic benefits. Studies have shown that applying peppermint essential oil to your temples can help reduce the symptoms of tension headaches. Lavender essential oil is highly effective at relieving migraines when applied on the upper lip or inhaled. An alternative to essential oils is scented candles.
7. Get just the right amount of sleep
I was not aware of this myself but, according to a study conducted, getting less than 6 hours of sleep can lead to you experiencing more frequent and severe headaches. But here’s something else, getting too much sleep, more than 9-10 hours of sleep, has similar effects to getting too little sleep. The groundbreaking revelation here is to get just the right amount of sleep by finding the sweet zone which is usually between 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
8. Stay hydrated
Breaking news! Drinking water and minding your business has been shown to reduce the likelihood of you getting headaches. No, but seriously, water is the holy grail for everything, including relieving headaches. Sometimes all your body is trying to communicate to you when you have a headache is that you are dehydrated. Cut back on dehydrating beverages such as alcohol and coffee and drink water instead.
9. Get some caffeine
I know I just said cut back on coffee. This sounds like I am contradicting myself, doesn’t it? Okay, well, the truth is, there’s a lot of debate on whether coffee is actually remarkably dehydrating or not. Some people argue it would take a lot of coffee to actually cause significant dehydration which I agree with. Too much of anything is generally bad for you. Yeah, the lines are slightly blurred on that but a study has shown that a bit of caffeine (the good kind, not these scary energy drinks, that I regrettably have to admit I occasionally do drink) taken early enough before a slump can help ease your headache pains. Too much, however, does trigger headaches.
Life truly is all about balance.
10. Sip on some ginger tea
Ginger contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances and helps reduce nausea and vomiting which are common symptoms associated with severe headaches. A study found that 250 mg of ginger powder was as effective as conventional headache medication at reducing migraine pain.
When to seek help from a doctor
If you experience severe and frequent headaches that disrupt your life then you should seek professional assistance from a practitioner who can diagnose and treat conditions contributing to your headaches.
So, all in all, get enough sleep, drink adequate amounts of water, limit alcohol, protect your eyes from bright and harmful lights, loosen external pressure on your head, exercise and/or adopt relaxation practices in your daily life to help prevent and minimise the stress that leads to headaches.
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