Does a headache pester you in the morning after a night when you had a little more to drink than usual?
Do you complain of a headache after sitting long hours in front of the television?
Well, you’re not alone.
Factors Causing Headaches
Headaches are a common occurrence, and they are of several types. Headaches can be caused by a single factor or a combination of two or more factors. The most common factors are:
- Anxiety and stress
- Constriction of blood vessels
- High blood pressure
- Excessive smoking
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- High altitudes
- Exposure to extreme cold or extreme sunlight
Thanks to our modern lifestyle, recurring headaches are becoming more and more common. Not surprisingly, the marketplace is filled with various types of headache treatments ranging from instant headache relief to migraine headache relief and even sinus headache relief.
Well, if you are not a pop-a-pill advocate, you can rely on a natural cure for headaches. Here are some home remedies for headaches that have been used over centuries to provide natural headache relief.
11 Effective Tips for Headache Relief
1. Lavender Oil: Not only does lavender look ornamental and smell great, but it’s also a useful home remedy for headache relief and migraine pain. You can either inhale the aroma of the lavender oil or use it for topical application. If you prefer inhaling, add three to four drops of the oil into three cups of boiling water. Throw a towel over your head and the vessel (to prevent the vapors from escaping) and inhale the goodness of lavender. Remember, though you can take in the vapor of lavender oil, you must not take lavender oil orally.
To apply the oil topically, take a few drops on your fingers, apply it to the affected area and gently rub it in. The good thing about lavender oil is that, unlike most medicinal oils, you need not dilute it.
2. Peppermint: Peppermint oil can provide soothing relief for headaches. Headaches are often caused by poor blood flow to the head. As the fresh-smelling peppermint oil has vasodilating and vasoconstricting properties, it helps to pump blood by opening and closing the arteries. Peppermint oil also helps open up the sinuses. This plays a crucial role in helping relieve headaches as more oxygen gets into the blood. As with lavender oil, peppermint oil can be inhaled or applied locally.
3. Basil Oil: This strong-smelling and unique-tasting herb has gained popularity as a topping for pizza and pasta. But what many people don’t know is that the oil derived from the basil plant can also be a natural home remedy for relieving headaches. Basil oil works as a muscle relaxant, so it helps provide relief for headaches caused by tension and tight muscles.
4. Flaxseed Oil: Flaxseeds are rich in fiber and omega-3 fats. Both these properties help relieve different types of headaches. The omega-3 content in flaxseed helps relieve headaches that result from inflammation. The fiber helps in relieving headaches that are linked to constipation. Flaxseed can be used in the oil form as well as whole seeds. Flaxseed is easy to add to a smoothie, your oatmeal, or even mix into a glass of water in the morning or at night.
5. Buckwheat: This triangle-shaped seed is gaining popularity as a home remedy for headaches and migraine pain. Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, and is not technically a grain. Buckwheat has numerous health benefits and is a gluten-free food. Like flaxseed, buckwheat is anti-inflammatory and helps relieve the pain of headache and migraine. Buckwheat is rich in phytochemicals such as flavonoids, which contain antioxidant properties.
More recently, buckwheat hull pillows are used to provide great support for the back, neck, and also the head. Unlike down or feathers, pillows made from buckwheat don’t retain body heat. Some expensive hotels use buckwheat hull pillows because they are natural, and hypoallergenic. Many health care professionals have also started recommending buckwheat pillows to patients suffering from migraines.
6. Feverfew: This perennial plant belonging to the daisy family grows naturally in Europe, North America, and Canada. It has been used in herbal remedies for centuries. Feverfew is used as a preventative treatment for migraines. Several people have reported that after taking feverfew, their migraines have gradually become less frequent and, in a few cases, have stopped altogether. Many scientific studies attest to the efficacy of feverfew as a viable preventative treatment for migraine.
7. Drink Water: Studies have shown that dehydration is a common cause for many people who suffer from tension headaches and migraines. The good news is that by drinking water to rehydrate, many individuals are able to find relief in as little as 30 minutes. To help avoid dehydration headaches, be sure to drink enough water throughout the day and add some water-rich foods into your diet.
Instant Headache Remedies from the Kitchen
While all the above herbs provide the relief you want, they may not be available the instant the headache strikes. Which is why you might want to try these remedies:
Mix 1/8 cup of lime juice and 1/8 cup of freshly extracted ginger juice in a cup and drink.
Take a handful of coriander leaves. Crush the leaves and extract the juice from the leaves. Apply this extract to the forehead and temples. You could do the same with mint leaves, too.
Add 1 tsp of dry ginger powder to one tablespoon of water. Mix to form an even paste. Apply this paste to the temples and forehead for quick relief. I must caution you, though, initially you might experience a mild burning sensation.
And if these are not available, try a simple scalp massage with any oil. The gentle pressure of your hands on the affected areas can increase the circulation to the part and drive off the headache.
And one more thing: Certain foods have been shown to affect the frequency and severity of headaches. These foods include dairy, chocolate and peanut butter. Even fruits like banana, avocado, and some citrus foods can cause headaches. Then you have meats with nitrate, like what you’d find in bacon and hot dogs. Some people’s headaches can be triggered with fermented or pickled foods, and monosodium glutamate (MSG)-rich food can also cause headaches.
8 Lifestyle Changes for Headache Relief
Studies have shown that alcohol can trigger migraines in about one-third of those who experience frequent headaches. It has also been shown to cause tension and cluster headaches in many people, so you may want to limit the number of alcoholic beverages consumed if you suffer from headaches.
Get Adequate Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for overall health, but for those who suffer from headaches, it is necessary to avoid a throbbing head. Studies have shown that people who get less than six hours of sleep per night are more likely to suffer from more frequent and severe headaches.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids that contain aromatic compounds from a variety of plants. These therapeutic oils are becoming more popular as more people find out about the many health issues they can help with. By simply applying peppermint oil to the temples, some people find a reduction of symptoms in tension headaches. Lavender oil has been shown to be highly effective at reducing migraine pain and associated symptoms when applied to the upper lip and inhaled.
Some people may think of massage as a luxury of life, but they can actually be incredibly therapeutic. Some headaches can come from tension in the upper body due to muscle strain. This can be caused by a number of reasons including poor posture or a rigorous workout routine. A massage can help to reduce this muscle tension that may be causing the headache.
For muscle tension headaches, hot and/or cold therapy may be able to offer relief. For cold therapy, place an ice pack on your forehead or cheeks, basically wherever the greatest source of pain is. Limit cold packs to no more than 10 minutes at a time. For hot therapy, place a heat pack on the forehead or back of neck for heated relief.
Aromatherapy is the study of how smells can trigger positive and healing responses in the brain through the usage of aromatic materials, including essential oils, and other aromatic compounds. Some smells have been reported to soothe and reduce the symptoms of headaches. These include lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus.
Many people who suffer with migraines swear by acupuncture. This traditional component of Chinese medicine involves apply fine, sharp needles to certain areas on the body as a means of promoting energy flow. It has been shown to stimulate the body’s natural pain-relieving compounds, including those to reduce headache frequency and severity.
Adopt a ‘Headache Diet’
For some people, foods have been found to be the root cause of their headaches. There are certain foods that are well known to be triggers including foods that contain MSG, nitrates, caffeine, and tyramine. By adopting a diet that eliminates these foods, you can lessen your chances of getting a headache.
With so many headache catalysts in our diet, it makes sense to be aware of what we eat and make the required changes in our diet to prevent the headaches from happening in the first place. This way, we don’t need to over-think the problem – and break our heads trying to find relief.