Headaches are a very common problem and can affect people of all ages, at any time with pain ranging from mildly irritating to wholly debilitating.
You should find that if you generally eat well, exercise and get sufficient sleep, you won’t get headaches that often.
However, it’s not always that simple.
There are multiple (known and speculated) causes and triggers of headaches, some of them being things like a common cold, stress, tension, lack of sleep, poor posture and dehydration.
Headaches can also be triggered by some processed foods, smells and – surprise, surprise – looking at your phone or computer screen for extended periods of time.
While the go-to remedy for many of us is an aspirin or paracetamol (which mostly just kill the pain, rather than treat the root cause), there are actually many natural remedies that may reduce or even remove the need to put pharmaceuticals into our bodies unnecessarily.
And less pharmaceuticals is definitely not a bad thing.
We’ve picked out our favourite and most effective here. Sometimes they work quite quickly and sometimes they don’t work at all – just being straight with you here!
Remember, the cause it not always known and the remedy you choose may not always be the right match, so try to cover as many as possible.
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1) Drink water
OK, you’re probably thinking, “I came here for remedies, not for the wisdom of a simpleton!”
But sometimes, it’s the simple stuff that works the best. Headaches are often simply caused by dehydration, so the quickest fix is to get some of that good old H2O inside you. Plain water will do, but if it is alcohol-induced, you might want to try one of the various rehydration formulas on the market, such as Dioralyte or SOS Hydration, which we’ve tried and found to be particularly effective for hangovers!
2) Get fruity
If water is too plain for your exquisite palette, try eating some fruit with a high water content, such as watermelon, strawberries or peaches. Here are the top-ranked fruits by water content (percentage of water is quoted in brackets):
- Watermelon (92%)
- Strawberry (92%)
- Grapefruit (91%)
- Cantaloupe (90%)
- Peach (88%)
- Pineapple (87%)
- Orange (87%)
- Apricot (86%)
- Plum (85%)
- Apple (84%)
3) Ice, ice, baby
Apply an ice-cube on your temples. This will lower the temperature of the blood moving through the artery that passes behind the temple bone and reduce inflammation and throbbing in that area.
Massaging the scalp, temples and the base of the neck can massively reduce discomfort caused by headaches. In addition, tight shoulders and a stiff neck can also cause headaches, so releasing the muscles here can work wonders.
Try using peppermint or lavender oil, which has been shown to improve blood flow.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupressure is believed to work by balancing the body’s flow of energy (known as Qi), whereas modern Western medicine says that it works by releasing tension and improving circulation. Either way, it often works! There are several points on the body you can use.
Check out the short video below from to see where they are and how to apply pressure.
Limit your self-acupressure sessions to no more than an hour. You’ll probably find that you are not comfortable holding a point for more than a couple of minutes at a time anyway. So, rest when you become uncomfortable and then repeat until you feel some relief.
6) Deep breaths
Another ridiculously simple strategy, but it will help you to relax and feel less stressed generally. If you need some guidance, there are even apps that can help you with this.
Building on the deep breathing remedy, quieten your mind and try to focus on something other than the pain you are experiencing. If you are new to meditation or have never tried it before, a good place to start is with mindfulness. Check out our post to find out how to practise mindfulness.
If you love your coffee, this is a great excuse to have another one.
Some people say that you should avoid coffee, since it is a diuretic and if you are already dehydrated, it will only compound the problem. However, headaches can be caused by the expanding of blood vessels and caffeine constricts them.
Drink with a glass of water if you want to cover your bases!
Related ~ 10 Super Healthy Benefits of Coffee
9) Hot shower
Heat on the neck alleviate headaches caused by tension in that area. Not a whole lot more to add on that one!
Headaches caused by tension can be quickly cured simply by stretching, particularly in the neck and shoulders area.
So, that’s our Top 10 natural headache remedies. Let us know if you have any to add in the comments section.
If you experience prolonged headaches or migraines, you should consult a physician.