Headaches would usually arise like there’s a knife being jabbed in your head. This is especially true if you’re suffering from migraine that makes you feel like you’re giving birth. The only difference is that it doesn’t result in joy, just pain. Severe pain.
Most of us would reach for ibuprofen or paracetamol that doesn’t actually work. Imigran (sumatriptan succinate) may be an effective migraine cure but it comes with side effects, like dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and several others.
Because of those side effects, as a result of taking prescription or OTC medicines for headaches, many of us are relying on natural remedies. Although not all of them are effective, they can give you a relief without popping a pill.
Before discussing with you about the best ways to naturally treat headaches and migraines, let’s first learn how to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
Know the Triggers
If you’re prone to headaches (just like me), there are certain stimuli that could bring them on. To track these triggers, having a calendar could help you look for patterns and examine potential catalysts.
This usually happens before menstruation as there’s a significant decline of estrogen that can spark migraines or headaches. For some sufferers, taking of low-dose estrogen contraceptives could help prevent the occurrence of migraine.
You must avoid alcohol if it gives you a pain in the head after an hour or so of consumption. However, some headaches tend to be specific. For example, some would do fine when drinking vodka but they’d suffer from migraines or headaches after drinking beer.
In my case, this is one of my migraine’s triggering factors. A fluctuation in your blood sugar can cause an escalating pain that may result in headache response. That said, it’s best to avoid not going through your day without food longer than three hours. And to keep your glucose levels steady, you should include lean protein in your meal.
Caffeine may not always be your friend if you’re prone to migraine. For that reason, it’s best to limit your caffeine intake to just 200 mg a day. This is about eight-ounce of coffee within 24 hours.
Lack of Sleep
A disruption in your sleep can trigger migraines or headaches. In an animal study of rats, the animals that were sleep-deprived experienced a change in their migraine-related proteins. So, to play it safe, make sure that you sleep and wake up the same time each day.
Now, that we know the triggering factors of migraines or headaches, let’s now explore some of the best natural remedies for headaches.
They may not be able to permanently stop the pain from occurring but they can provide significant relief to the debilitating pain of headaches or migraines.
1. Peppermint Oil
It’s an effective essential oil to soothe tension headache. It has vaso-constricting and vaso-dilating properties.
Most of the time, headaches are the result of poor blood flow and this oil can promote proper blood flow.
What’s more is that it opens the sinuses better to allow more oxygen to enter your bloodstream.
To use it, you’ll need the following to prepare the following:
- 3 drops of this essential oil
- 1 tablespoon of carrier oil
- A bowl and a cotton ball
After preparing these things, start mixing peppermint essential oil and carrier oil to a bowl. Then, dip a clean cotton ball into it and apply it onto your forehead and around your temples.
You may experience relief after 30 minutes. After an hour of application and the pain is still there, try re-applying this natural solution.
It’s essential to remember that peppermint is an essential oil and it must not be used without diluting it first.
2. Ginger Tea
Ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties making it an effective natural remedy for headaches. What’s great about it is that you can easily find ginger anywhere. You may even have one in your fridge.
To make ginger tea to relieve the pain, grind up a teaspoon of ginger. Then, add it to a glass of water. Drink.
If you have ground ginger ready, then that’d be better. Add it to a glass of hot water. Stir thoroughly and drink.
Ginger tea is also ideal if your headache or migraine is accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
On the other hand, if you can’t find ginger and you have rosemary tea in your pantry, you can use it to prevent your headache from getting worse. Just make sure that you steep the tea bag for 10 minutes before drinking it.
It is one of the best natural remedies for cluster headaches. Capsaicin is what makes pepper spicy. And this substance works by suppressing a chemical messenger in your brain that controls pain.
You can find capsaicin in a pill, nasal spray or cream.
In a 1994 study, it was found that capsaicin prevented cluster headache attacks. If you used it as a nasal spray, it could relieve not just the severity but also the frequency of your headache.
When you’re using a capsaicin cream, you can apply it onto your nasal passage. But it’s important to remember that this type of cream can cause burning sensation.
However, the sensation decreases with repeated application. Even so, you should not apply it on skin wounds or cracks.
Another effective natural remedy for headaches is feverfew. This perennial plant has been used for thousands of years as an herbal remedy for headaches. Scientific studies showed that users of feverfew revealed that the frequency of their headaches is less frequent. In some cases, the pain has stopped altogether.
You may take a freeze-dried capsule containing feverfew. This is more ideal to be taken than drinking teas and fresh leaves as these forms may cause mouth irritation.
Or, if you have feverfew plants at home, you may add them to your vegetable salad or your sandwich.
Unfortunately, most who have tried this method didn’t find it appetizing because of its bitter taste. Try adding sugar or honey and see if the taste will improve.
5. Acupressure Massage
A Chinese healing method, acupressure massage may help in relieving the pain in your head. This method requires you to apply pressure to certain points on your body.
My favorite is the union valley. This is the easiest as it’s located between your thumb and index finger. Applying pressure on this area will relieve not just headaches but also back pain and toothache.
Another point you can try it on your foot. The depression between first and second toe is another point where you can apply pressure to relieve headaches, foot cramps, arthritis and tiredness of your eyes.
Is there a diet that can act as a natural remedy for a headache?
There are foods that you can eat and avoid to prevent experiencing headaches. One of the recommendations of nutritionists is the elimination of caffeine from your diet.
No Caffeine Diet as a Natural Remedy for Headache and Migraine
Caffeine, as mentioned earlier, is a triggering factor of migraine. That said, it may be best for you to eliminate it from your system.
This substance may help in making you feel better. But only temporarily.
Plus, it exacerbates the problem.
When you do withdraw or eliminate it from your system, you’ll experience extreme headaches. The reason for this is that the toxins in your body are released.
As soon as the caffeine is eliminated from your body, the frequency of experiencing headache will immediately decrease.
The more caffeine you consume, the lower your threshold for a headache will be. This means that any type of stress, be it small or big, can cause headache or migraine.
That said, it’s best to avoid drinking soda, caffeinated teas and coffee. Do it at least a month, just to make your diet healthy again. After that, you may drink a cup of coffee a day.
How about animal products, like meat?
Yes, they are trigger foods. But it’s not only the meat that you should try to eliminate. You must also avoid processed foods as they can expose you to toxins.
Keep in mind that they don’t have the phytochemicals that your brain needs to detoxify.
The acids and wastes formed when these animal products are digested in your body can easily pass the blood-brain barrier.
Thus, when you start cutting back on meats and other types of animal products, you’re reducing extra nitrogen waste products from your body, thereby, reducing frequency and severity of headaches.
Try eliminating them from your diet for two weeks. Afterwards, you can consume them again. This time, they must be eaten in small amounts.
By animal products, it means that you should stay away from meat, eggs, chicken and fish. This is necessary to minimize the amount of animal protein entering your body, thereby, reducing nitrogenous wastes, which can irritate your brain cells.
Why avoid dairy products?
These foods are also triggering factors of headaches and migraines to some people. And if you are sensitive to tannins found in wine and dark beans, you should eliminate them from your diet by avoiding eating chocolates.
Within two weeks, you must avoid those foods to provide your body with nutrient-rich foods. You need to allow your body to heal and repair itself. You can do so by eating food that doesn’t contain acids and toxins.
With proper nutrition, you’re supporting your health without those substances that can cause headaches or migraines.
However, during those days or weeks, you’ll feel worse. It’s natural. But after that, you’ll feel better. The feeling that you’re getting worse will last up to four days. You need to endure that feeling as your body is going through a withdrawal method, which is a good thing. But you’ll feel better in the long run.
If you’re heavily dependent on headache or migraine medication, it may take longer to cut back on medications.
When you’re withdrawing from these substances, it can be uncomfortable. Headaches or migraines that you experience are the result of withdrawing from caffeine, toxins and medicines.
But it’s essential that you self-cleanse to cure your headache naturally and permanently.
Is biofeedback effective?
In some studies, it showed that biofeedback could treat migraine and headache. In this natural remedy, an electronic sensor is placed onto your head to monitor your body functions. Then, data will be fed back to you by sounds or images.
The goal of this natural remedy is to control your bodily responses as it can ease out tight muscles, thereby, preventing pain.
Learn to relax
Relaxation is also a useful way to ease the pain, especially if the headache originated from neck and shoulder.
One of the best relaxation techniques is tai chi. It can detect and treat a headache that is coming on.
Yoga, on the other hand, focuses on mindfulness. It may also help.
Are there supplements to naturally treat headaches?
In a study conducted, it was shown that patients who are taking up to 400 mg of riboflavin had experienced fewer migraines after three months of taking them. Try supplementing your body with vitamin B2.
CoQ10 may also help in preventing migraines in some clinical studies.
Can migraines or headaches be prevented?
They can be prevented by avoiding those triggers. But you need to have a headache diary where you can write and track down triggers that can prevent pain.
For instance, if you noticed that you experience migraine when you skip meals or lack sleep, you should keep that in mind and avoid them, as much as possible.
Experts do recommend not taking medicines or use them sparingly. Some have experienced positive results after facing acupuncture needles. They also found relief by applying cold compress and the use of air massage baths.
If you could avoid overusing your medicines, then it might give you additional benefits.
It’s also highly recommended that you visit a neurologist to rule out neurological conditions. Although most headaches are not life-threatening, you should still make sure that yours is not the result of an underlying medical condition.
Over to You
What natural remedies for headaches have you tried before? Have you tried those that I’ve mentioned? Please let me know what your thoughts are by commenting below.