Headaches are a very common condition that many people deal with now-a-days. They are characterized by a feeling of tenseness in the neck, shoulder and scalp. Headaches can be throbbing, constant, sharp or dull. They can be a major cause of absenteeism from work and school. Continually battling with headaches can lead to a feeling of anxious and depression.
Types of Headaches
Headaches are divided into two categories:-
These are not due to any medical conditions. It includes:
1. Cluster Headaches – These appear throughout the day, causing a sharp, stabbing pain in one spot of your head.
2. Migraine – They cause a throbbing pain behind the eyes that grow and pulses throughout the head. In this case, the person becomes sensitive to light, activity, or movement.
3. Tension Headaches – These are the most common headaches. They occur when the person has become overstressed and their muscles have tensed. The pain appears in the middle and top of the head.
4. New daily persistent headaches (NDPH) – They come on suddenly and last for more than three months. The pain is located on both sides of the head, constant and persistent without easing up.
Secondary Headaches – These headaches are related to another medical condition.
1. Head injury
2. Disease of blood vessels in the brain
6. Medication overuse
7. Sinus congestion
8. High blood pressure
According to the Mayo Clinic, a primary Headache is caused by overactivity or problems with the pain-sensitive structure in your head. During a headache, an unknown mechanism activates a specific nerve that affects the muscles and blood vessels of the brain. This nerve sends pain signals to the brain and hence you face headaches.
What triggers headaches?
Common triggers of tension headaches or migraines include:
• Alcohol use
• Poor posture
• Emotional stress
• Change in eating or sleeping pattern
Although there are many medicines that are targeted at relieving headaches, there are few effective and natural treatments also.
Here are few natural remedies to get rid of the headache quickly.
1) Try Ginger Tea
The Ginger Root contains many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances. It is known to reduce nausea and vomiting.
According to the study on 100 people with chronic migraines, 250 mg of ginger powder was effective enough to ease their migraine pain.
You can take the ginger powder in form of a capsule or could make a powerful ginger tea with fresh ginger roots.
According to a 2016 study, a weekly massage may reduce migraine frequency and improves your sleep quality. Massage also reduces stress, heart rate, anxiety, and cortisol levels.
A few minutes of massage on the pressure points can help ease a tension headache. Even according to a 2014 systematic review, acupressure is an incredible therapy for people in pain from chronic headaches and other conditions.
For massage, just apply gentle rotating pressure to the painful area. Massaging the neck near the base of the skull may also help release tension.
Acupuncture is a technique of ancient Chinese medicine-based approach which involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate specific points on the body.
Studies show that this technique is very beneficial in reducing headache symptoms.
Acupuncture is a natural way to treat chronic headaches. A study on more than 4,400 people found that acupuncture was as effective as common migraine medication.
4) Drink Caffeinated Tea or Coffee
Caffeine improves mood, increases alertness and constricts blood vessels which support circulation and ease tension. Sipping on beverages that contain caffeine such as tea or coffee may provide relief from headaches.
Caffeine also increases the effectiveness of over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. However, try not to get addicted to caffeine intake as caffeine withdrawal has also been shown to cause headaches. So be mindful of your caffeine intake.
5) Try Cold Compress
A cold compress to the neck or a head area decreases inflammation, slows nerve conduction, and constricts blood vessels all of which reduce headache.
If you have a migraine, take few ice cubes wrapped in a towel and keep this compress on your head or the back of your neck for 15 minutes, and then take a break for the next 15 minutes and repeat. This will significantly ease your head pain.
6) Heat Compress
Heat or a warm compress is helpful when you are suffering from a tension headache where the muscles are too tight. It dulls the pain of a migraine attack.
Simply place a heating pad on your neck or the back of your head. And if you are suffering from a sinus headaches, hold a warm cloth to the area that hurts. Even a warm shower is also helpful.
7) Use Essential Oil
Essential oil is highly concentrated liquids that contain aromatic compounds. Aromatherapy also helps in relieving the symptoms of headaches. They have therapeutic benefits and can be used both topically and few can be even ingested.
Peppermint and lavender essential oils are the two most commonly used when it comes to headaches.
The menthol in Peppermint Oil may stop the migraine from coming on. According to the study in 2010, the application of menthol to the forehead and temples was more effective than a placebo for migraine-associated pain.
Even inhaling Lavender Essential Oil, may ease the migraine pain. According to a study from 2012, people who inhaled lavender oil during migraine attack for 15 minutes experienced faster relief than those who inhaled placebo. Lavender Oil can be applied to the upper lip and inhaled or applied diluted to the temples.
8) Drink Enough Water
Staying hydrated can help you prevent headaches or reduce their severity. According to the National Headache Foundation, Chronic Dehydration can trigger a migraine attack and tension headaches. When you are dehydrated you impair concentration which causes irritability which makes the headache symptoms even worse. According to the journal Antioxidants notes, even the slight dehydration may alter how people think and function, making them feel worse, with or without headache.
However, drinking enough water has been shown to relieve headaches symptoms. You can stay hydrated by carrying a water bottle around and sipping on it throughout the day. Infact eating fruits, smoothies, or soups which are high in liquids may also improve hydration.
9) Ease Pressure on your Head
Sometimes the headaches are due to some physical reasons. Even your tight ponytail could cause headaches. So check for anything that is putting too much pressure on your head. These “external compression headaches” can be brought on by anything, from your tight ponytail or bun to tight fitted caps, hat, headbands or even swimming goggles for too long.
10) Dim down the Lights
Flickering lights or even too much bright light from your computer can also be the cause for your headache. If you’re prone to them, then cover your windows with blackout curtains during the day or wear sunglasses outside.
You may even rest in dark or a dimly lit room while recovering from a headache.
11) Take Adequate Rest
Inadequate sleep may also lead to headaches. Sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your health.
One study compared headache frequency in those who got less than six hours of sleep per night and those who slept longer. It was found that those who got less sleep had more frequent and severe headaches.
However, getting too much sleep also triggers the headache so try getting the right amount of sleep of seven to eight hours for natural headache Prevention.
12) Practice Yoga
Yoga is an excellent way to relieve stress, increase flexibility, decrease pain and improve your overall quality of life.
According to the research, yoga may relieve the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraines. It also improves anxiety, releases tension, and improves vascular health.
According to the study on 60 people with chronic migraines, it was found that those who take conventional care along with yoga show the reduction of headache frequency and intensity faster as compared to those receiving only conventional care.
Some Other Helpful Remedies
Engage yourself in physical activity to ease head pain. Regular exercise keeps the body healthy and promotes blood circulation which may reduce the chances of a headache.
According to the 2018 review of research published in the Journal Children noted that even a little exercise influences headaches among adolescents. Even a 30 minute walk, or cycling can also help.
2) Take Care of your Diet
Nitrates and Nitrites are the food preservatives added to hotdogs, sausage, and bacon. It is found that food which contains nitrates or nitrites may trigger headaches by causing the expansion of blood vessels in some people.
So try to limit processed meats and choose a nitrate-free products whenever possible.
To reduce headaches, you can even try an elimination diet that eliminates or removes the foods that may trigger headaches. If your headache seem to show up just after a certain meal then its the time to eliminate that particular meal from your diet. This may include-
• foods with nitrates including hot
• dogs, deli meats, bacon, and sausage
• cheese that contains the
• naturally-occurring compound tyramine, such as blue, feta, cheddar, Parmesan,
• and Swiss
• alcohol, especially red wine
• foods that contain monosodium
• glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer
• foods that are very cold such as ice
• cream or iced drinks
• processed foods
• pickled foods
• dried fruits
• cultured dairy products such as
• buttermilk, sour cream, and yogurt
Also cut down the Histamine rich food from your diet. Histamine is a chemical that is naturally found in your body. It plays a role in the immune, digestive and nervous systems. Histamine is found in certain food such as aged cheese, fermented food, beer, wine, smoked fish and cured meat. Studies found that consuming histamine rich food can trigger migraines in those who are sensitive to it.
3) Avoid Strong Smell
According to the study in 2013, certain odors from sources such as perfume or other strong smelling chemicals may be the reason for your head pain.
This hypersensitivity to odors is called osmophilia. So it is recommended to avoid strong smells such as avoiding perfume, cigarette smoke and scented foods in order to decrease the chances of migraines.
4) Take Some Magnesium
According to the study in 2015, for the people with cluster headaches or migraines may most likely to be low in magnesium levels.
Studies have shown that the consumption of 600mg of oral magnesium citrate per day helped to reduce both frequency and severity of migraine headaches.
Start with a smaller dose of magnesium as the higher dose can cause digestive side effects like diarrheas’.
You can get magnesium from foods that include:-
• Sesame seeds
• Peanut butter
• Brazil nuts
• Sunflower seeds
5) Limit Alcohol
Headache is one of the common side effects of a hangover. This is because alcohol acts as a diuretic, making the body to release more water via urine.
Even with a mild drinking, alcohol may lead to mild dehydration symptoms in some people which make their headaches worse.
Yoga, supplements, essential oils, and dietary modifications are all-natural, safe and effective ways to reduce the head pain symptoms.
Head aches are challenging to cope with, so try the above remedies and find some relief. It is essential not to ignore a persistent headache. A headache that follows a head injury, dizziness, speech problem, confusion, or other neurological symptoms needed to get a medical care from a doctor.