Headaches can range from a mild irritation to a severe migraine that lasts for days. They can severely decrease your quality of life and cause you to be irritated at even the smallest things. There are many causes of headaches, and they include neck strain, eye strain, lack of water, abnormal neuron activity, constriction of blood vessels, physiological changes, lack of or too much sleep, excessive drinking, excessive smoking, and genetic causes.
While there are medications that you can take to help relieve the pain, you don’t necessarily need to visit a doctor or take dangerous prescription drugs to ease the discomfort. At PurMedica, we believe in natural healing, and there are quite a few home remedies for headaches.
1. Take a Nap
It may seem obvious, but getting some shut-eye is sometimes the best cure for a headache. Many times a headache is caused by a lack of sleep or overstimulation, and even a 20 minute power nap can help take away the pain and re-energize you. Even if you can’t sleep, lying down in a quiet, dark area for a few minutes can help.
2. Eat a Healthy Snack
Hunger will often trigger a headache. If you are also feeling sluggish or irritable, consider making a snack. Processed and high-sugary foods can make a headache worse so stick to low-fat proteins, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Drinking water will also help to flush out any toxins that may be causing the headache. In fact, since many headaches are caused by dehydration, just drinking a cold glass of water can take away your headache within mere minutes.
3. Open the Windows
Headaches can sometimes be caused by dust in the air or strong smelling perfume, candles, or cleaning products. If you have been cooped up in the house and have a headache, open the windows or doors to let in fresh air, as sometimes this is all it takes to relieve a headache. Taking a walk in the fresh air is often a good idea as well.
4. Essential Oils
There are a few oils that are known to help ease headaches. Peppermint contains menthol, which is known to open up blood vessels. You can add a few drops of peppermint oil to a tablespoon of olive oil or water and then massage your temples and forehead with the combination. You can also add peppermint oil to boiling water and inhale the resulting steam.
Lavender oil may also help relieve tension headaches and some migraine symptoms. Mix it with oil and massage your forehead with it, inhale lavender-infused steam, or place a few drops of lavender oil onto a tissue and breathe in.
Basil can work as a muscle relaxant and it has analgesic effects as well. Make a tea with boiling water and fresh basil leaves, inhale basil-infused steam, or massage your forehead with basil oil.
Rosemary contains an ingredient that has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. Make massage oil with it, or boil one teaspoon of sage leaves and one teaspoon of rosemary leaves in water and let it steep for 10 minutes. Drink this tea a few times a day.
Although it is not an herb, ginger root can provide headache relief by reducing the inflammation of the blood vessels. You can mix equal parts of lemon juice and ginger juice and drink it a couple of times a day. You can also boil raw ginger or ginger powder in water and inhale the steam, or you may choose to chew a piece of ginger candy.
6. Apply an Ice Pack
Ice can help relieve headaches in that it has a pain-numbing effect and it also reduces blood vessel inflammation. If you don’t have an ice pack, you can use a bag of frozen vegetables or dip a washcloth into ice-cold water. Within 30 minutes you should start to feel some relief.
7. Take a Warm Bath
If you have been under a high amount of stress, taking the time to de-stress will often ease headache pain. Draw up a bath, turn down the lights, light some candles, and play some soft music. Using a few drops of essential oil in the bath water will enhance the calming effects.
If you have extremely tight muscles, these can be contributing to your headache discomfort. If possible, have your spouse or child massage these tight areas (or even better, schedule a professional massage). If you are alone and the tightness is between your shoulder blades, you can massage the area yourself. Take a tennis ball and place it in a sock. Lean up against a wall and place the ball between the wall and the tight muscles. Lean your body back and move your body so that the ball hits and massages the tight spots.
Headaches can often be remedied with acupressure points. A known headache pressure point is located in the fleshy area between the index finger and thumb. You should press and massage this area for one to two minutes on each hand. Some headaches are caused from points on the base of your skull, where the head meets the neck. If you find painful points, massage them for about 15 seconds at a time, taking a 10 second rest in between, for a couple of minutes.
The next time you have a headache, try one of these home remedies or use a combination of them. You may be surprised at the results, plus it will save you money and time at the doctor’s office.