Headaches happen. And you need remedies for headaches, especially home remedies. They can be quite the disruption, impairing one’s ability to get any work done or even function as a person. Just imagine you are going about your day as usual, and this sudden twang in the head starts turning into the monster you always fear? Sound familiar?
Worry not, for we have several options for you to try out the next time you get hit. And if you are someone who is adamant about not taking pills unless absolutely necessary, here are a few things you can do instead to help a headache.
The key to your splitting headache may be as simple as a glass of water. Chronic dehydration is a common reason for headaches according to some studies. Being dehydrated can also affect your concentration and increase irritability, making worse the effects of your headache. No need to worry, it is also proven that water can relieve you of the headache as quickly as a half-hour.
TIP: If you are prone to headaches, make sure you are hydrated at all times as a precautionary measure. Drink the upside of 2 liters a day and have foods rich in water.
Recently, a study conducted found that ginger, taken alongside regular, over-the-counter pain meds, eased the pain for people in the emergency room with migraines. Another found that it worked almost as well as prescription migraine meds. Try to take a ginger supplement or brew some ginger tea. You can also massage diluted ginger oil into the temples, forehead, neck and even back.
TIP: If you are stressed, warm ginger tea may also help soothe that, making you feel better overall.
Go For Caffeine
Too much caffeine can actually make your headache worse, but within limits, coffee if taken soon enough after the headache starts, can stop it in its tracks and ease the pain. Do not indulge in too much and make sure you are hydrating post this (as caffeine is a dehydrator), caffeine withdrawal can come with a headache of its own.
TIP: If you are a coffee person, have some decaf coffee, it is generally not completely caffeine-free and might just do the trick for you.
Take A Nap
Lack of sleep is detrimental to health in more ways than one. Not only would you have a headache, but you would also feel exhausted and just not your best. If your headache is caused by a lack of sleep, the only and most potent way to treat it is sleep (shocker!). Moreover, if your headache is screen-related, if you have been in front of a screen for too long, some rest to the eyes and the brain can work like a charm.
TIP: Take a nap right after you take the caffeine, you can rest while the caffeine works its way into your system, you can wake up with a two-fold defense.
Stress can be a major cause of headaches. Practicing stress-relieving exercises or activities can help bring down the intensity of a headache. A regular practice of yoga, stretching, breathing exercise or meditation can help keep reduce headaches, both in frequency and intensity. Incorporating these into your daily routine can have significant effects on your health and how you feel every day.
TIP: Pay special attention to the neck, relieve any tightness present.
Use A Cool Compress
Especially effective on migraines, a cool compress can help alleviate any inflammation. You can use a gel compress, ice cubes wrapped in a towel or a bag of frozen vegetables. Keep the compress on your head for 15 minutes, and then take a break for 15 minutes. It is thought that cold constricts the blood vessels (a process known as vasoconstriction), possibly creating decreased downstream blood flow and lessening the pain you may feel.
TIP: A cold shower can also have similar effects on the pain.
Heat compresses work for a tension-based headache. If your muscles are tense, use a heating pad set on low, a hot water bottle, a warm compress or a hot towel and pay attention to the neck, back and shoulders. It is also great for the back of the head. Again, alternate between 15 minutes on and 15 off till you start to feel better. You can also take a hot shower or bath.
TIP: If hopping into a warm shower, try to incorporate essential oils.
Massage Pressure Points
You may already do this instinctively, press the top of your nose or run your neck when you have a headache. A little massage of the worse-hit area or of certain pressure points and points of tension can rid you of your headache. Many people find that massaging the temples, jaw, or neck may help relieve tension and reduce a tension headache that comes from being too stressed.
Some other areas to try massaging include the area between the eyebrows and the two spots at the base of the eyebrows on either side of the bridge of the nose. These spots may hold tension from the eyes or head, and massaging them could help relieve this tension.
TIP: There is also a lot of tension between the shoulder blades, addressing that can help your headache.
Soothing smells such as lavender have been proven to work on headaches in as little as 15 minutes. Essential oils are not liked by everybody, but experimenting with different intensities and smells such as jasmine, peppermint, etc, can be a good idea for you if your headaches are frequent. They can be diluted to apply to the skin or put in diffusers.
TIP: Avoid strong smells such a perfume or a room freshener, they can worsen the headache.
Make sure you are not wearing a tight-fitting hat or glasses. If your hair is done up in a tight hairstyle, ease it. Massage your scalp. Several studies prove that women who don’t tie their hair tightly suffer from fewer headaches. If you tend to clench your jaws, grind your teeth or chew with too much pressure, that could also be a contributor.
TIP: Consider a nightguard if you are a jaw-clencher or a teeth-grinder.
Q. Nothing has helped so far, what should I do?
A. If none of the above work and you are still adamant about no medication, apply some balm to your head for a tension-based headache. It would be a good idea to give your doctor a call.
Q. When should I call a doctor?
A. When the headache won’t subside for hours or is too intense, is accompanied by dizziness, speech problems or a compromised comprehension, or comes right after a head injury.