6 Natural Remedies for a Headache
I’ve been battling headaches for most of my life. I experience a debilitating migraine at least once a month. I’ve tried many different over the counter and prescribed medications, and nothing has ever consistently worked well for me.
Last year, I was prescribed a device called Nerivio, which offers natural migraine relief. It’s a device that I place on my arm that triggers pulses and electrical stimulation for a 45-minute treatment. I have used it regularly for the past year and a half and I can’t tell you how much of a game changer it has been for me.
I only use the Nerivio device when I’m experiencing a migraine, but I also get regular headaches often. Since I started using the Nerivio, I began researching natural remedies for headaches, and I’ve found that there are quite a few that work for me.
As someone who understands how much headaches can interrupt our lives, I’m hoping a few of these offer relief to others as well.
There are a ton of herbal teas available for migraine/headache relief, and you can even purchase your own herbal mixes to make your own. You may have to experiment with which herbal blends work for you.
Ginger tea has been shown to provide migraine relief, as does peppermint teas, chamomile and lavender. I’ve tried all of these, and for me, the chamomile and lavender teas offer the most relief for the regular headaches I’ve experienced.
I try to make a cup as soon as I begin experiencing the onset of a headache and breathe in the steam while I’m waiting for it to steep and cool enough to drink.
While this is one I haven’t yet tried myself, I am anxious to try it because I’ve heard so many good things about the way it stimulates the body’s own energy to provide an effective way to prevent migraines and tension headaches, and reduce their frequency.
Acupuncture is a part of traditional Chinese medicine, where practitioners place small needles into the surface of your skin. The needles stimulate nerves to release hormones, such as endorphins, that trigger a certain response from your body.
Massaging Pressure Points
Following the same concept of acupuncture, acupressure involves applying physical pressure to activate pressure points in your body. Utilizing massage on certain pressure points in the body can help relieve tension in your head and help to reduce a headache.
By massaging the temples, jaw or neck, you can relieve tension and reduce the pain from tension headaches that comes from being stressed. You can try massaging the area between the eyebrows (the third eye) and the two spots at the base of the eyebrow on either side of the bridge of your nose. Using both index fingers, equally apply pressure on both sides, or alternatively, apply pressure on one side at a time.
Massaging the pressure points that sit in the hollow spaces on either side of the spine (the gates of consciousness), just beneath the base of the skull can also provide relief. Apply firm pressure with the index and middle fingers of both hands. You can also interlock your fingers behind your head and press your thumbs into the hollow spaces at the base of your skull.
Finally, there is a pressure point on your hand that can provide tension relief. The Union Valley or Hegu Pressure Point is located on the loose skin between the thumb and index finger. Pinch this pressure point between the thumb and index finger of the opposite hand. Either hold pressure on the point or massage it in small circles. Aculief created a wearable acupressure device that applies pressure to these points on your hand, while maintaining your daily activities.
Relaxation techniques such as deep-belly breathing, guided meditation and actively focusing on relaxing each of your muscle groups has been shown to help with headache relief since so many people experience headaches brought on by stress and anxiety.
Because meditation has been shown to offset symptoms of chronic pain, including headaches, it offers a great natural remedy that you can do anywhere. One study showed that 72% of patients with chronic pain who underwent meditation training reported significant reductions in their pain levels. Another study showed that patients practicing medication experienced fewer migraine headaches and enhanced their pain tolerance.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils to relieve your symptoms of your headache. One that I have found to offer great relief, even during a migraine, is lavender essential oil. Inhaling lavender essential oil for 15 minutes can greatly reduce the severity of headaches, according to one study.
Another oil that has been known to provide headache relief is peppermint essential oil. A study posted to the journal Pain suggested that peppermint oil is more effective at reducing tension headaches.
You can experiment with different scents and oils to find what helps you the most. I like using a diffuser in my office and bedroom to help prevent the headaches, and once I’m experiencing symptoms, I hold the lavender essential oil under my nose and inhale for 10-15 minutes.
Many studies suggest that people who regularly experience cluster headaches or migraines may be more likely to have low magnesium levels. Research has found that magnesium can be an option not only for migraine prevention, but also is an effective acute treatment option for when you are experiencing a headache.
Because our bodies don’t easily absorb magnesium without it being bound to another substance, supplements often have magnesium combined with something else, like amino acids. Magnesium oxide is often used to treat migraines. You can take it in pill form, with a general recommended dosage of about 400 to 500 milligrams a day.
As I mentioned, I’ve tried a number of natural home remedies to get rid of the headaches I experience. Because everyone and every body is different, you’ll have to figure out what works best for you. Some of these options will work better for different types of headaches, whether you are experiencing tension headaches, sinus headaches, cluster headaches or migraines.
It is always essential to discuss your headaches with your doctor, as persistent headaches can be a sign of an underlying issue, but these natural options are meant to provide alternative methods to treat the pain and symptoms and hopefully prevent the headaches from happening if traditional medication hasn’t provided the relief you need.