Home Remedies For Headaches: 10 Natural Ways To Treat Headaches
- Aashna Ahuja, NDTV
There comes a point when the world of deadlines, irksome bosses, late nights, skimpy sleep schedules and traffic jams takes a toll on us. It is then when our quintessential cup of coffee surrenders to splitting headaches. So, what do you do when you’re bad day culminates to a severe migraine? The easy way out is of course to pop a painkiller, maybe even indulge in acupressure, sip on some chamomile tea. And we’re willing to do just about anything to get rid of that pounding headache. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of 10 natural home remedies that will zap the pain from your debilitating headache. Your search for the best headache home remedies ends here, as we’ve got your back. In this article, we’ve included some tips and home remedies for headaches. Natural remedies are a drug-free way to reduce headache. These at-home treatments may help prevent headache, or at least help reduce their severity and duration.
What Are The Symptoms Of Migraines
There are four different phases of migraines. You may not always go through every phase each time you have a migraine.
- Prodome. This phase starts up to 24 hours before you get the migraine. You have early signs and symptoms, such as food cravings, unexplained mood changes, uncontrollable yawning, fluid retention, and increased urination.
- Aura. If you have this phase, you might see flashing or bright lights or zig-zag lines. You may have muscle weakness or feel like you are being touched or grabbed. An aura can happen just before or during a migraine.
- Headache. A migraine usually starts gradually and then becomes more severe. It typically causes throbbing or pulsing pain, which is often on one side of your head. But sometimes you can have a migraine without a headache. Other migraine symptoms may include
- Increased sensitivity to light, noise, and odors
- Nausea and vomiting
- Worsened pain when you move, cough, or sneeze
- Postdrome . You may feel exhausted, weak, and confused after a migraine. This can last up to a day.
Migraines are more common in the morning; people often wake up with them. Some people have migraines at predictable times, such as before menstruation or on weekends following a stressful week of work.
Take A Break From Screens
One of the most common symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain is headaches, the American Optometric Association states. Whether it’s a computer, cell phone, or tablet, just scrolling up and down can trigger headaches in some people, Dr. Newman says. To prevent discomfort, the AOA recommends following whats called the 20-20-20 rule: Take a 20 second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.
Vitamin B12 Levels May Be Associated With Migraine Risk
Evidence links low levels of vitamin B12 with migraine. A study compared vitamin B12 levels in 70 people with migraine and 70 healthy people of similar demographics. Investigators found that serum levels of B12 were significantly lower in people with migraine compared with participants without migraine. People with the lowest levels of the vitamin were five times more likely to have migraine than those with the highest levels of B12.
Researchers have also tested the effects of daily vitamin supplements containing folic acid , vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 on migraine. In a study , it was found that 1 milligram of folic acid in combination with vitamin and B12 was less effective in reducing symptoms associated with migraine compared with a dose previously tested by the same researchers, namely 2 mg folic acid in combination with 25 mg of vitamin B6 and 400 micrograms of vitamin B12.
Works For Nearly Everyone: Avoiding Medication Overuse
Migraine remedies dont automatically mean more painkillers. Although it sounds counter-intuitive, dont overdo your use of painkillers, or you could end up worse off. Using OTC meds like NSAIDs or aspirin more than three times weekly or triptans more than twice a week can lead to rebound headaches, according to the Cleveland Clinic. This is when you get a withdrawal headache from coming down from the meds; in response you may pop more, creating a chronic headache cycle. These are the 8 different types of headachesand how to get rid of them.
What Causes Migraine And Chronic Migraine
Anyone who has experienced a migraine knows theyre painful. These intense headaches can cause:
- sensitivity to light
- changes in vision
If you experience sporadic migraines, the headache and symptoms may last only a day or two. If you suffer from chronic migraines symptoms may occur 15 days or more each month.
Migraine headaches are a bit of a mystery. Researchers have identified possible causes, but they dont have a definitive explanation. Potential theories include:
- An underlying central nervous disorder may set off a migraine episode when triggered.
- Irregularities in the brains blood vessel system, or vascular system, may cause migraines.
- A genetic predisposition may cause migraines
- Abnormalities of brain chemicals and nerve pathways may cause migraine episodes.
Q: Are There Different Types Of Tension Headaches
A: We categorize tension headaches as episodic or chronic.Episodic tension headaches are milder, less frequent and relativelyshort-lived.
If someone reaches a threshold of 15 headache days a month, orrealizes their headaches are affecting their life quality, we would label thoseas chronic tension headaches.
Herbs Homeopathic And Home Remedies
For hundreds of years, people have used certain herbs and homeopathic remedies to effectively block migraine headaches and reduce the risk of attacks. The Migraine Relief Center believes in these remedies and has seen their success in patients first hand. Our specialists may recommend herbs such as:
- Essential and aromatic oils. Scented oils can encourage relaxation, reduce stress, and improve mood. If depression plays a part in your migraines, try citrus scents. If theyre triggered by lack of sleep, try juniper, chamomile, or marjoram oils.
- If sinus pressure or sinusitis contributes to head pain, try a belladonna remedy. Belladonna can reduce pressure and congestion in the sinuses. This herb works on the circulatory system and blood vessels, and it can reduce severe pain from sinus headaches.
- Iris versicolor . This flower is proven to help symptoms associated with migraines, such as nausea and dizziness. Paired with pain relievers, iris versicolor can be an effective approach to natural migraine symptom control. Ginger can also help with nausea naturally.
Some people suffer from migraines triggered by scents. If this is the case, essential oils or strong-smelling herbs may not be the right remedy for you. However, almost everyone can comfortably tolerate light scents like coconut, jasmine, and lemongrass. These herbal and natural remedies may be just the things to help with your migraine symptoms.
What Is A Headache
Headaches are unpleasant pains in your head that can cause pressure and aching. The pain can range from mild to severe, and they usually occur on both sides of your head. Some specific areas where headaches can occur include the forehead, temples, and back of the neck. A headache can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a week. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common headache type is a tension headache. Triggers for this headache type include stress, muscle strain, and anxiety.
Tension headaches arent the only type of headache; other headache types include:
Works For Some: Acupuncture And Hypnotherapy
A review of 22 clinical trials in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2016 concluded theres evidence acupuncture could help migraines. The research shows headache frequency dropped by 50 percent or more in up to 59 percent of individuals receiving acupuncture. Plus, this effect can persist for more than six months. If youre looking for another alternative treatment, Dr. Ashina says some people find hypnotherapy to be effective in quelling their pain. You can also try CBD hemp oils or CBD tinctures as alternative treatments.
Massage For Migraines Treatment
Massaging is the best way to get rid of migraines without medicines. Massage will block the pain signals to the brain thats why it eases migraine headaches. It also stimulates serotonin receptors and boosts serotonin activity that helps to reduce the symptoms of migraines.
Steps to Do Massage:
- Use your first two fingers to massage your head in circular motion. While massaging, keep in mind that there are some pressure points on the base of skull, corners of the eyes and middle of the forehead. When you press them correctly, it will relieve pain.
- An alternate method, heat 2 tsp of sesame oil. Add one-half tsp of each cardamom powder and cinnamon powder. Use this mixture to massage your forehead. Leave it for a few hours and then wash it off with water.
- A regular massage will reduce the duration of migraines.
Common Causes Of Headaches
The best way to get rid of a headache quickly may depend on whats causing it and what type of headache it is. A primary headache is caused by overactivity or problems with the pain-sensitive structures in your head, according to the Mayo Clinic. Common types of primary headaches include migraine attacks and tension headaches.
A less common type of primary headache is a cluster headache, which comes on suddenly, almost always affects only one side of the head, and is accompanied by a runny nose and tearing eye on the same side of the head as the headache. The pain of a cluster headache is severe and lasts from 15 minutes to 3 hours, when untreated. For most people, cluster headaches occur in a series, or in clusters, lasting weeks or months, separated by remission periods of months or years.
A secondary headache is a symptom of a disease that can trigger pain-sensitive nerves in the head. There are many conditions that can cause a secondary headache, from a sinus infection to a brain aneurysm to hangovers to COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
While a hangover or a headache caused by a sinus infection or by COVID-19 may respond to the same pain-relieving treatments as a tension headache, a brain aneurysm, or other severe headaches associated with neurologic changes such as weakness or loss of consciousness, for example, are medical emergencies that you shouldnt attempt to treat on your own.
Works For Frequent Migraines: Migraine
If you get more than one migraine per month, you may be a candidate for migraine prevention drugs, which include blood pressure meds , antidepressants, and anti-seizure meds. These are not taken to stop an attack, but daily to prevent them from occurring, according to the American Migraine Foundation. Within four weeks of usage, they can cut your migraine-frequency down. Studies show 90 percent of people who take beta-blockers propranolol and timolol get relief.
Dr Deena Kuruvilla Explains What Patients Should Know About Complementary Treatments And How To Incorporate Them Into A Migraine Management Plan
Holistic treatments, otherwise referred to as complementary and integrative treatments, can be particularly beneficial for people living with migraine. However, there is currently not enough evidence to recommend them as a patients primary form of treatment, says Dr. Deena Kuruvilla, Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Yale School of Medicine.
Alternative migraine treatments with some proven efficacy include meditation and mindfulness training, acupuncture, essential oils and nutraceuticals, or vitamins and minerals thought to have medicinal benefits, says Dr. Kuruvilla. Research shows that up to 80% of patients living with migraine and headache disorders tried alternative treatments. In fact, many turn to holistic treatments because mainstream treatments have not been effective, may have caused side effects, or they have yet to try them, Dr. Kuruvilla says.
Holistic treatments are to be used in conjunction with mainstream therapies, not serve as a solo approach to migraine treatment, Dr. Kuruvilla says. There is no substitute for traditional mainstream medicine.
Home Remedies To Treat Migraine Naturally And Quickly
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Alternative Therapies For Headache Treatment. The National Headache Foundation.
If youre one of the 29.5 million Americans who suffer from migraines, you know how bad these throbbing headaches can get.Migraine. National Institutes of Health. You might experience nausea, vomiting, and an increased sensitivity to sound and light if you have this condition. Some people see flashing lights or spots as well before they get a migraine this is the migraine aura.
Keep a headache diary which records when you get migraines, how long they last, what you ate in the 24 hours before the attack, how long you slept the night before, and where you were and what you were doing when the attack started.
A variety of factors known as triggers can set off a migraine. Common migraine triggers include weather change, hormonal change, certain foods, stress, environmental factors like strong smells, loud noises, and bright lights.Migraine. National Institutes of Health.
Once you already have an attack under way, try the following migraine home remedies:
How Many Australians Have Headache
Around 12 million Australians that suffer from migraine and/or tension-type headaches combined.
In Australia, sufferers generally tend to be pretty self-reliant. Most people will elect to self-manage their own headache. Nine out of 10 people say that they will self-manage, rather than going to see a doctor for their headache, even if that headache is severe.
About 1% to 2% of the Australian population are thought to suffer from a condition called medication overuse headache . Medication overuse headache has a controversial name. The name may imply blame on the person who has the headache condition, which is completely unfair. Medication overuse headache is associated with frequent use of medications, analgesic medications and migraine specific medications that are used to manage those acute attacks. We will discuss this type of headache further shortly.
Use A Cold Or Hot Compress
For headaches with radiating pain that starts in one area and spreads to another, like migraine headaches, cold compresses can be placed over the spot from which the pain originates, says Michael Devine, MD, internal medicine doctor and geriatrician with Devine Concierge Medicine, a primary care practice in Philadelphia.
Cold temperatures have a numbing effect, which can dull the pain. They can also constrict the blood vessels, which may help relieve migraines. You can make your own cold compress by placing a damp towel in the freezer for about 10 minutes. An ice pack would also work.
Heat is better suited for tension headaches, Devine says, which often manifest as dull, aching head pain and a feeling of tightness across your forehead.
Tensions headaches are typically caused by stress and relaxing stiff neck and shoulder muscles can help relieve this type of headache. For example, heat packs or a hot towel can be draped over the neck and shoulder muscles to help relax the muscles.
What Will This Summary Cover
This summary will cover:
- Medicines to treat severe migraines in the ER
- What researchers have found about how well the medicines work
- Possible side effects of the medicines
- Things to talk about with the ER doctor
Note: This summary does not cover what researchers found about treating migraines at home or ways to prevent migraines. It only covers what researchers found about treating migraines in the ER.
Standard Treatments For Migraine
Your doctor will likely prescribe you standard medications for migraines based on various factors such as:
- Medical history and overall health
- Endurance towards specific medications or therapies
- Severity of headache
- Frequency of occurrence
Mostly, the treatment plan is aimed at curtailing the presence of factors that act as possible triggers and cause a migraine attack. This includes prescribing conventional medications, introducing dietary changes, advising biofeedback training, and incorporating ways to manage stress.
Increase Your Turkey Intake
You’ve heard that eating turkey on Thanksgiving can make you sleepy thanks to its tryptophan. Did you know that it can also help you to find relief from migraine pain faster?
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that stimulates dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the “happy” chemical, one that helps us to feel great, and it is also a key component in the release of serotonin within the body. Serotonin works to relax the body, alleviating anxiety, worry, and negativity. Even more importantly, as tryptophan helps to produce dopamine and, in turn, serotonin, it relaxes the muscles surrounding the brain, soothing the capillaries of the scalp.
Image via Shutterstock
Scalp Massage May Help Relieve Migraine Pain
Do-it-yourself scalp massages may be an effective way to alleviate migraine pain.
For some people with migraine, scalp massage will offer relief from pain by helping reduce tension and promoting more robust circulation, says Dr. Rothenberg. “For others, the idea of being touched anywhere, especially the head, won’t be appealing and could make the pain worse. Like many aspects of natural, individualized medicine, nothing will work for everyone!”
Scalp massage is unlikely to be comfortable for people with allodynia, a fairly common symptom of migraine in which people are very sensitive to touch and other stimuli that isnt typically painful. Allodynia can make even normal activities such as brushing hair or resting your head on a pillow very painful.
Possible Causes Of Migraine
There are no definitive causes behind the occurrence of migraine in an individual. However, it can be triggered by certain factors that tend to bring about changes in the levels of the neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are largely responsible for the sound functioning of the brain.
The factors that can engender a migraine headache include:
Keeping a watch on your triggers can help you determine the actual cause behind your headaches.
Allergy Or Sinus Headaches
Headaches sometimes happen as a result of an allergic reaction. The pain from these headaches is often focused in your sinus area and in the front of your head.
Migraine headaches are commonly misdiagnosed as sinus headaches. In fact, up to 90 percent of sinus headaches are actually migraine. People who have chronic seasonal allergies or sinusitis are susceptible to these kinds of headaches.
Sinus headaches are treated by thinning out the mucus that builds up and causes sinus pressure. Nasal steroid sprays, OTC decongestants such as phenylephrine , or antihistamines such as cetirizine may help with this.
A sinus headache can also be a symptom of a sinus infection. In these cases, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection and relieve your headache and other symptoms.
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There are headaches and then there are migraines. About one in ten people experience these types of headaches, which bring intense pain and other symptoms. While some sufferers only get migraines occasionally, others have them several times a month, and they significantly interfere with daily life.
The good news: Research shows that many migraine remedies, including natural herbs and supplements, provide effective relief and reduce the need for medication. These natural therapies can not only decrease the number of migraines you experience but also lessen the severity when one strikes.
List Of Home Remedies For Headaches
There are many natural home remedies for headaches that Healthy Guide wants to mention in this interesting article. Actually, all of these remedies use natural ingredients that you can find available in your kitchen. Also, these remedies are safe without causing any side effect, so you can feel secure when applying any of them at home.
Drink A Small Amount Of Caffeine
Although caffeine can cause headaches of its own in large amounts, a small dose of a beverage like coffee or soda can soothe the pain of an intense migraine.
When you drink caffeine, it can offer pain relieving benefitsâas long as you drink just a small amount, as the Mayo Clinic notes. If you drink it right when you feel a migraine beginning to appear, it can also improve the effects of Tylenol, aspirin, and other over-the-counter pain relievers .
Image via Shutterstock
Whatever you choose to calm your intense migraine pain, keep track of what you eat, drink, and do when you get them. Finding the trigger to your headaches can help you avoid them in the future. Avoiding certain foods, ingredients, and activities, you can keep migraines at bay and not have to endure their awful reign.
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Avoid Contact With Chemicals Or Other Strong Smells
For people who often experience migraines, avoiding strong smells may be a wise step to take when trying to prevent them.
One 2013 study found that odors from sources such as perfumes or other strong-smelling chemicals may trigger migraines after just a few minutes of exposure.
It may help if people avoid sources of these smells, such as department stores, others who wear a lot of perfume, or chemical smells from cleaning products.
Overview Of Common Headache Types & Symptoms
Generally headaches can be separated into two main categories. There are primary headaches, where the headache is the condition itself and secondary headaches, which are caused by an underlying condition or some other factor.
Most people have probably experienced a temporary cold or flu at some point in their life, thus have probably experienced a cold-associated headache. This type of headache would be a secondary type of headache.
The most common type of headache is tension-type headache. Statistically, the vast majority of the population has experienced a tension-type headache at some point. Tension-type headaches are the type of headaches that feel like a band of pressure around your head or a kind of tightening or squeezing feeling.
The pain is usually located on both sides of the head at once. The quality of the pain is usually a sort of a dull, aching type feeling and is usually fairly constant.. In terms of intensity, we generally call these headaches mild to moderate, however some people can experience severe tension-type headaches.
Tension-type headaches typically last for a few hours. Unfortunately for some people, they can last all day or even for multiple days in a row. Often tension-type headaches are associated with tension or tightness in the muscles and neck, which is where they originally got their name.
Treat Yourself To A Massage
If you needed a reason to schedule a massage, here you go: Massage relieves stress and may help improve sleep quality, two known migraine triggers.
A 2006 study supported using massage therapy to treat migraines and participants reported lower levels of anxiety, heart rate, and cortisol level.
Cant afford or find time for a professional massage? Enlist a partner or friend for a mini massage to help relieve tension. Or, you can even work wonders by massaging tense muscles with a tennis or lacrosse ball placed between your back and a wall.