Headaches are one of the most common conditions that humans have to deal with in their day to day activities. Some of them are very disconcerting, and can even get to the point of disrupting your daily activities.
There are several types of headache, ranging from tension headaches (which are the most common), to cluster headaches which are extremely painful and happen in groups, to migraines which are a moderate to severe type of headache.
Although there are myriads of medications that are aimed at relieving you of headache symptoms, there are also natural treatments that can suffice.
Some of these natural remedies for headache are:
When your body is dehydrated, it may cause you to develop headache.
Chronic dehydration has been proven to be the common cause of tension headaches and migraines. Dehydration can impair concentration and cause irritability, hence making your symptoms even worse.
But thankfully, drinking water can relieve your headache symptoms within 30 minutes to 3 hours.
Asides from drinking enough water, eating water-rich foods can help you avoid dehydration headaches.
Sleep deprivation, or not getting enough sleep can be very harmful to your overall wellbeing. In some people, it results in severe headaches.
Studies have shown that people who get less than six hours of sleep per night are more prone to have recurring headaches than people who have the right amount of sleep. However, getting too much sleep can also trigger headaches, which is why you should get just the right amount of sleep suitable for you especially if you want to naturally prevent headaches. You should aim to get at most 7 to 9 hours sleep every night.
Histamine, a chemical found naturally in the body that plays a role in the immune, digestive and nervous systems, can be another factor that triggers headache.
Studies suggest that consuming histamine may cause migraines especially if you are sensitive to it. It is found in some of the foods we drown ourselves in. Foods like beer, wine, smoked fish fermented food and cured meats.
Cutting off foods that are histamine rich might be your first step to preventing your recurring headaches.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids that contain aromatic compounds from a variety of plants. They embody in them many therapeutic benefits and they are mostly used topically, though there are some you can ingest.
Essential oils like peppermint and lavender oils have been shown to be especially helpful when you have headache. When peppermint oil is applied to your temples, they help reduce the symptoms of tension headaches.
Lavender oil on the other is very effective at reducing symptoms of migraine when applied to the upper lip or inhaled.
When you apply a cold or frozen compress to your neck and head area, it could decrease inflammation, nerve conduction and also constrict blood vessels. All of these can help reduce or prevent headache pain. Using a cold compress may help reduce your migraine symptoms.
To make a cold compress, you will need to fill a waterproof bag with ice and wrap it in a soft towel. Apply the compress to the back of the neck, head or temples for headache relief.
Try an Elimination Diet
Food intolerances can also trigger headaches in some people. To discover the foods that can cause your frequent headaches, try an elimination diet. Eliminating these foods that are most likely related to your headache symptoms can relieve you of such symptoms.
Foods like aged cheese, alcohol, and citrus fruits are among the foods triggers for people with migraine.
Taking caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee can provide relief to your headache symptoms.
Caffeine helps improve mood, increases alertness and constricts blood vessels, all of which can have a positive effect on headache symptoms. It also helps increase the effectiveness of common medications used to treat headaches, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Caffeine withdrawal has however been shown to cause headaches if it is consumed in large amounts and stops abruptly.
To that effect, if you get frequent headaches, you should be very mindful of your caffeine intake.
Yoga is one amazing way to relieve stress, increase flexibility and improve the overall quality of life. So, taking up yoga may help you reduce the severity and frequency of your headaches.
A study investigated the effects of yoga therapy on 60 people with chronic migraines. Headache frequency and intensity were reduced more in those receiving both yoga therapy and conventional care, compared to those receiving conventional care alone.
Avoid Strong Smells
Strong odors like those from perfumes and cleaning products can cause certain individuals to develop headaches.
A study that involved 400 people who experienced either migraine or tension headaches found that strong odors, especially perfumes, often triggered headaches
This hypersensitivity to odors is called osmophobia and common in those with chronic migraines
If you think you may be sensitive to smells, avoiding perfumes, cigarette smoke and strongly scented foods may help decrease your chance of getting a migraine
Nitrates and nitrites are one of the most common food preservatives. They are added to some of your favorite items like hot dogs, sausages and bacon to keep them fresh by preventing bacterial growth.
Foods containing them have been shown to trigger headaches in some people. Nitrates can trigger headaches by causing the expansion of blood vessels.
To minimize your exposure to nitrates, make sure you limit the amount of processed meats in your diet, and endeavor to eat nitrate-free products as much as possible.
Engaging in physical activity is one of the simplest ways to reduce headache frequency and severity. For example, one study in 91 people found 40 minutes of indoor cycling three times per week was more effective than relaxation techniques at reducing headache frequency. In a myriad of ways you can increase your activity level, one easiest method is by simply increasing the amount of steps you take in a day.