Although fall may be one of the most beautiful seasons, it can be a pain—literally. Common colds, allergies, sore throats, congestion, and headaches seem to spread viciously this time of year. Headaches are the worst for me and I am prone to migraines. Thankfully, I have developed a few natural remedies to get rid of headaches or lessen the pain. I don’t like taking medicine and they don’t always work for me, so here are 10 ways to fight headaches without medicine that I practice!
10 Ways to Fight Headaches Without Medicine
If you are really struggling to get rid of your pain, try rubbing your temples. And if someone else is around, have him or her massage your back, neck, shoulder or head. Focus on your pressure points! Massages are great for temporary relief. Don’t expect your headache to disappear immediately.
Sometimes muscle tension can contribute to headache pain, so try stretching. Neck range of motion stretches (chin toward each shoulder, upward, and forward) and shoulder shrugs (shrug up, up and forward, and up and back) can help. Repeat the stretches three times and for Headache-relieving stretches can be added into your weekly workout routines or used when a headache strikes. If you aren’t feeling dehydrated, general stretching and exercise can also be helpful.
3. Take a Nap
Often, I develop a headache when I haven’t gotten enough sleep. Your body has to rest! Lack of sleep is one of the most common causes of headaches and it is so simple to fix. Find about 30 minutes to spare in your schedule and nap!
4. Relaxation Exercises
This may sound odd, but simply laying down, focusing on my breathing, and listening to some soft music helps relieve my headache pain (particularly tension headaches). I try to focus solely on relaxing. That way, I’m thinking about something other than my pain. Obviously isn’t something that has been proven to help everyone, but it’s worth a try. For more intense relaxation exercises, try practicing yoga or meditation techniques connected to yoga!
5. Heat and Cold
My neck seems to get tight when I have a headache, so placing heat on the back of my neck can alleviate pain. Sometimes taking a hot shower can help as well. But when my headache is throbbing, I put cold packs on my temples. Also try a cold washcloth on your forehead. Cold packs or cloths are the most successful when I have headaches caused by stress or sinuses.
6. Drink Water
Most people don’t realize how much dehydration can affect your body. If dehydration is the cause of your headache, drinking a glass of water start to relieve your pain quickly. And keep drinking throughout the day! Sometimes squeezing some lemon juice in your water can be helpful as well when you have a headache due to gas in your stomach.
7. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol can trigger headaches. This is not true for everyone, but it definitely is for me. Coffee or wine can almost immediately intensify even the slightest headache. Be careful with this, though. If you are dependent upon caffeine, taking it away could worsen your headache.
8. Stay Away From Bright Lights
Turn off your lights and step away from your computer screen or cell phone! Bright lights tend to make headaches worse. Personally, I use the computer at least 4-6 hours per day. It can cause those headaches right behind the eyes. Simply stepping away and laying somewhere dark can really help.
Peppermint can be very soothing. Try making some herbal tea! Add one teaspoon of dried peppermint herb in a cup of hot boiling water. Cover it for ten minutes and then strain it. Add some honey and sip on it. Also, massaging peppermint oil on your temples and the back of your neck can provide immediate relief. On occasion, I get migraine headaches that cause nausea. Inhaling the smell of peppermint or eating a peppermint can help!
10. Ginger Tea
I hate the taste of ginger tea, but if I’m desperate for headache relief, it works. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in easing pain. Try drinking it 3 or 4 times in a day to reduce swelling in the body that could cause headaches. If you just can’t take the taste of ginger, try adding some apple cider vinegar to a full glass of water and drink it 2 or 3 times per day. It is also known to alleviate pain!
I’m no doctor, but these 10 ways to fight headaches do a great job of easing my pain! I’m sure there is a plethora of other ways to fight headaches. What works for you?
Always see a qualified medical professional if you have questions or concerns! Want to know more about headaches and their causes? Visit the mayoclinic.org to read more about headache causes.