Headaches are a common health problem that most of us deal with every day. It can be an uncomfortable pain or unbearable migraine attack. There are many types of headaches cluster headaches, tension headaches to migraines, of which tension headaches are most common. Cluster headaches occur in ‘clusters’ and are very painful, while migraines can range from moderate to severe.
Dealing with headaches regularly is very stressful and taking regular medicines also come along with side-effects. So, we have got you the tested home remedies to get rid of the headache. Try what is convenient and suitable for your type.
Top home remedies to get rid of a headache
Drink enough water
For most people, the reason behind the headache is inadequate hydration. Drinking sufficient water is vital to avoid migraines and tension headaches. Studies have found that chronic hydration is the cause of most types of headaches.
By drinking water, you can reduce the symptoms of headaches within 30 minutes to 3 hours. Mostly, hydrated individuals do not have problems of regular headache and even if they get a headache, the symptoms are relieved sooner than people who don’t drink enough water.
Not just headache but dehydration can also result in problems like impaired concentration and irritability, making your condition worse.
So, make sure you drink sufficient water and include water-rich foods in your diet.
Magnesium, an essential mineral that helps in several body functions like nerve transmission and blood sugar control. Luckily, Magnesium can also help to relieve severe headaches, an easy remedy for the problem.
As per evidence from several studies, the deficiency of magnesium is prevalent in people having migraine headaches, in comparison to those who don’t. Results from these studies inferred that treating migraine headaches with 600mg of oral magnesium citrate every day minimized both severity and frequency of migraine attacks.
Note: Taking magnesium supplements can have side-effects like digestive problems. So, one should start with a small dosage of oral magnesium citrate and do consult your doctor before you start taking these supplements.
Reduce alcohol intake
Not many people experience headache while drinking alcohol. Still, in most cases, alcohol is very likely to trigger migraines in almost 1/3rd of the people who have the problem of frequent headaches.
Alcohol has also been the reason behind cluster and tension headaches in most people. As a vasodilator, alcohol widens blood vessels and gives way to blood flow freely. The process of vasodilation can cause severe headaches sometimes. Moreover, one of the side effects of Vasodilators is headaches.
In addition to this, alcohol is diuretic, which means it makes your body lose a lot of electrolytes and fluids by frequent urination. The excessive fluid loss can lead to problems like dehydration, which you know, riggers headache.
Deprivation of sleep can lead to various health issues, one of these are headaches. There was a comparative study of the headache severity and frequency of people who slept for less than 6 hours and people who slept for at least 6 hours or more. The study concluded that the ones who slept less than 6 hours were having more severe and frequent headaches.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you can sleep as long as you can. Sleeping too long is another cause of headaches. If you want to control the frequency and severity of your headaches naturally, sleep the right amount. For a healthy life, you must get 6-8 hours of sleep every night.
Avoid foods containing a higher amount of histamine
Histamine is a chemical found in our body naturally and helps the functioning of our digestive, nervous and immune systems. You can also get histamine from specific foods like beer, aged cheeses, wine, smoked fish, fermented foods and cured meats.
According to studies, eating histamine-rich foods might trigger migraines in people sensitive to the chemical. Some people are not capable of excreting histamine because of wrong functioning of the enzymes that break it down to less complex components.
If you get frequent headaches, cutting down the intake of histamine-rich foods can be helpful.
Try using essential oils
These are highly concentrated liquids containing aromatic compounds extracted from various plants. Essential oils have got several therapeutic benefits. Most of these oils are used topically, but you can also ingest some.
To get relief from headache, lavender and peppermint essential oils comes to great help. During tension headaches, apply peppermint oil to your temples and massage gently. It is known to reduce the symptoms over some time.
Talking about lavender essential oil, it is useful in curing severe migraines and related symptoms. Apply it to the upper lip area and inhale.
You can easily get these essential oils online.
Consume B-Complex Vitamin
B vitamins are water-soluble micro-nutrients, playing significant use in various body functions. For example, these vitamins contribute in the process of neurotransmitter synthesis and help to convert food into energy.
Some of the B-complex vitamins are also helpful in eliminating symptoms of headaches. Several research reports state that Vitamin B supplements folate, riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6) and B12 can reduce the symptoms of headache.
B-complex vitamins contain almost 8 of the B vitamins and are cost-effective and safer way to treat headache naturally.
Use a cold compress to get relief from headache
You can get relief from headache by applying a cold compress to the head or neck area. Doing this slows constricts blood vessels by slowing down nerve conduction, which reduces headache pain.
In a study, 28 women who tried applying a cold compress to their head or neck saw a significant reduction in migraine pain.
Making a cold compress is simple – take a waterproof bag, fill it with ice and wrap a soft towel around it. Apply this cold compress to your head, temples or back of the neck to get rid of headache.
Take Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is an element naturally produced by our body and helps in turning food into energy. It functions as a significant antioxidant. According to studies, CoQ10 supplements can be a natural and effective way of treating headaches. In one study, 80 people showed how 100mg of Coenzyme Q10 supplement, when took every day, lowered the severity, frequency and length of migraine headaches.
In another study, 42 people with the problem of frequent migraines realized how 100mg doses of Coenzyme Q10 in one day helped them reduce migraine-related symptoms and frequency of their migraine attacks.
You can easily find these supplements online.
Practice an Elimination Diet
As per studies, food intolerance can be a trigger for headaches. To know if any particular food is triggering a headache, one should try an elimination diet. Stop eating the foods related mostly to the headache symptoms. The most common food triggers of migraine include food items like citrus fruits, aged cheese, chocolate, alcohol and coffee.
A small study noted that people experiencing migraine headaches underwent a three months elimination diet and realized the effects after one month of going into the diet.
You can also try the elimination diet to see if it works in reducing your headache symptoms.
Drink caffeinated coffee or tea
Sipping on beverages that consists caffeine, like coffee or tea, have shown positive results in giving relief when a person experiences headache.
Caffeine is known to improve the move, constrict blood vessels and increase alertness. All of these work well for reducing headache symptoms. Not just this, but caffeine also increases the effectiveness of medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen that helps to cure headaches.
However, if you consume caffeine regularly, withdrawing from consumption can also trigger headache. So, do not stop consuming tea or coffee suddenly and be careful of the amount caffeine intake.
Acupuncture is a well-known therapy that involves inserting needles into the skin to improve stimulation through specific points on your body. It is a popular method of Traditional Chinese medicine. Several studies have concluded that the practice of acupuncture relates to a reduction in frequent symptoms of headaches
Following the review of almost 22 studies, which included 4400 people trying acupuncture to see relief in headache, acupuncture was effective for migraine headaches.
Another important study suggested that this technique proved to be safer and effective than topiramate, an anticonvulsant drug that helps to treat chronic migraines. If you want to follow a natural way of getting rid of headaches, acupuncture can be a reliable choice.
Yoga is an efficient way of relieving stress, decreasing pain, improving overall health and increasing flexibility of your body. By practicing yoga, you can reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.
A study investigated that yoga therapy affected 60 people who had the problem of chronic migraines positively. People saw reduced symptoms of headaches, receiving both conventional care and yoga therapy as compared to the ones who only received traditional care.
There was another study that confirmed people practicing yoga regularly for 12 weeks saw a noticeable reduction in severity and frequency of their headaches, in comparison to those who didn’t.
Avoid inhaling strong smells
Strong odors like cleaning products, perfumes can cause headaches in some people. A study exposed 400 people to strong odors like perfumes and experienced tension headaches or migraine.
There’s a term for hypersensitivity to odors, Osmophobia, which is common in people with chronic migraines. If you feel, you are sensitive to such odors, avoid cigarette smoke, perfumes and strongly scented food items to minimize the migraine triggers.
Try an herbal remedy
Herbs like butterbur and feverfew are considered beneficial in reducing symptoms of headache. Feverfew, a flowering plant has got anti-inflammatory properties. Some of the studies conducted to test the effectiveness of these herbs suggested that taking 50-100mg dosage of feverfew supplements reduced the frequency of headaches. However, there were only few that found it to be effective.
Coming to butterbur, it is a root of a perennial shrub having anti-inflammatory properties. Many studies inferred that consuming 50-100mg dosages of butterbur extract reduced the symptoms of headaches in both children and adults.
Out of the two, feverfew is safer, when taken in prescribed amounts.
Avoid Nitrites and Nitrates
Nitrites and nitrates are food preservatives used in food items like sausages, hot dogs and bacon to keep them away from any bacterial growth. In some people, these foods containing nitrates and nitrites have been seen as responsible for headaches.
Nitrites can lead to headaches by expanding the blood vessels. So, to reduce your exposure to these substances, avoid eating processed meat regularly and buy nitrate-free products.
Drink ginger tea
Ginger roots contain a lot of beneficial compounds like anti0inflammatory elements and antioxidants. A study carried out in around 100 people who had chronic migraines found that consuming 250mg of ginger powder works the same as sumatriptan, a conventional medicine to reduce migraine headaches.
Ginger helps reduce associated symptoms of severe headache, such as vomiting and nausea. You can either drink a cup of ginger tea or ginger capsule when suffering from severe headache. Fresh ginger root would be best for ginger tea.
Do regular exercise
Engaging in physical activity regularly can do wonders in reducing the severity and frequency of your headaches. As inferred in a study, 40 minutes of indoor cycling, 3 times every week was way more effective than other relaxation technique to control headache frequency.
In another study conducted on a larger scale, over 92000 people who reported low level of physical activity were having a higher risk of headaches.
You can boost your activity level in various ways, but the most easy and simplest of all is walking. Count your daily steps and keep trying to increase it over time.
The Bottom Line
Many people suffer from severe and frequent headaches, which makes it significant to get some useful and natural ways to treat the problem.
Supplements, yoga, exercise, essential oils and improved diet are some of the best home remedies to get rid of headache.
Tell us which one of these worked for you in the comments.