Headaches are usually one of the most uncomfortable feelings in the world. They make it difficult to have a conversation, stare at the screen, get to work or read. Sometimes, we simply want to put a blanket over us and wait for the headaches to go away. More than half the population usually resort to medication pills like aspirin, panadols, ibuprofen, acetaminophen etc. These pills usually do the trick and are an easy way out. However, we have learnt that excessive pills are unhealthy and so it is unsafe to keep popping a pill at the slightest ache in the head. That’s why we have come up with these natural remedies for headaches, so you don’t always have to rely on pills to feel better. Plus, the pills are much more effective when combined with a natural remedy but our focus here is on the remedies.
The goodnews is that these remedies are cost-effective and are common, most of them even lying in your kitchen or refrigerator already. Headaches are usually not serious or do not indicate anything serious but if you try all of these methods including pilling and you keep having them, then maybe you should see a doctor, the problem might be more serious than you think.
What Causes a Headache?
As stated previously, headaches indicate nothing serious and if they persist then maybe they do indicate something serious. Generally, whatever stimulates the pain receptors of the neck and head causes a headache.
Below are some reasons you might be having those headaches :
• Alcohol (especially red wine)
• Skipping meals
• Overwork /Stress
• Sleep deprivation or inconsistent sleep patterns
• Poor posture
• Nitrate containing foods
• Dental Problems
• Pain medication over use
• Tight head materials like wigs, caps, headgear, helmets
• Vision problems
• Drug abuse
• Loud noises
• Hormonal imbalances
Headaches could also have serious causes, like :
• Brain aneurysm
• Acute sinusitis
• Brain tumour
• High Blood Pressure
• Meningitis and others
Natural Remedies For Headaches
If you noticed in the causes of headaches, there was dehydration. Dehydration could pose a problem, leading to tension headaches, irritability and even concentration problems. Drinking at least two glasses of water could be an effective way to take care of a headache or even prevent it altogether. With water, in about thirty minutes to two hours, your headache should be gone – without pills! You could also do foods rich in water like water means, cucumbers etc.
Ginger, the most effective remedy for headaches are sometimes referred to as headache elixirs. Its roots are rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties giving it the ability to quell headaches as effectively as over-the-counter pain relievers. It does this by reducing the blood vessel inflammation in the head. Sometimes, headaches and migraines could be accompanied by nausea /vomiting – ginger, which is a major digestion stimulant helps to reduce these symptoms or put them away altogether. If you can’t chew the ginger, try making a ginger tea from its roots. Simply steep the roots into boiling water. You could also try mixing ginger juice with lemon juice. A paste made from ginger powder and water could also be applied to the forehead, this works even faster.
Essential oils have been used as natural remedies for a lot of conditions and headaches are no different. Almond oil, peppermint, lavender, olive and basil oils are examples of essential oils, all of which are able to provide relief for the head. You actually do not have to ingest them.
Lavender oil has a smell that could take you right out of this world. All you might need to do is inhale its wonder and relief will come in no time. A few drops on a cloth or tissue paper should do the trick. You could also add a drop or two into a cup of boiling water and inhale the steam. Another great option is to have a drop or two of lavender oil mixed with almond or olive oil and then used to massage the temple and wrists topically or even have lavender oil and peppermint oil mixed in a hot water foot bath to ease the blood vessels.
Peppermint oil is another effective essential oil that could help with headache reliefs. Generally, it controls blood flow by unclogging blood vessels, clears the sinuses and improves flow of oxygen, coincidentally, a defect in all of these could lead to a headache or migraine. Menthol, its active ingredient also helps reduce the intensity of the headaches by regulating and improving blood flow. You could add two to three drops to your hot water bath or take some peppermint tea. Also try inhaling it or mixing it with water or a tablespoon of almond oil and massage the temples and the back of your neck.
It might come as a surprise but apple does fight a headache. It does this by balancing out the acidity and alkalinity of the body. You could either eat the apple, adding a sprinkle of salt to it and then drink a little warm water after or add some apple cider vinegar into a glass of water and add some honey and lemon juice. The most effective method is boiling a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar in a closed saucepan. After bringing it to book, take it out and inhale the steam, using a towel over your head to prevent all the steam from escaping.
Magnesium Rich Foods
Studies reveal that people who suffer frequently from headaches have magnesium levels that are rather low. In other words, your diet cures or makes you come down with a headache. Increasing your magnesium intake can go a long way when it comes to taking care of your headaches. Infact, the recommended dose of magnesium is at least 200 mg daily, this way the headache is entirely prevented. Examples of foods that contain magnesium includes : beans, whole grains, nuts, broccoli, seeds etc.
Ice bags or cold compresses are the fastest ways to gain relief for headaches. They help to constrict blood vessels, reduce inflammation and slow down nerve condition – these functions are key to curing headaches. The compresses could be applied to the head, neck or both. Here’s how to make a cold compress : get a water proof bag and fill it up with ice. Next, wrap up the bag with a soft towel and there you go. You can also use the compresses on your temples. It takes little time to ease the headache.
Even though you could get headaches from caffeine withdrawals, it is also effective in taking care of headaches. It does this by constricting blood vessels, improving mood and alertness. Coffee or tea are good caffeine options to go with but take them only in little amounts because withdrawal headaches could be devastating. If you decide to go for pills to treat your headache, caffeine makes the pills work better.
If you try all of these remedies and have also tried pills without a positive change, then maybe it could be something else and you need to see a doctor.