Headaches, no matter how common they may seem, should be taken seriously and addressed immediately. This debilitating condition, often described as a throbbing, pulsating pain or sometimes pressure around the head, affects countless people around the world, regardless of race, age, gender, or location.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 47 percent of adults globally suffer from headaches, and they are one of the primary reasons why people miss work or school.
There are many different types of headaches – including tension headaches, cluster headaches, sinus headaches, and migraines – and they are triggered by several factors, which may vary from person to person, including:
- Poor posture
- Pungent odors and strong fragrances
- Grinding teeth
Some people swear by over-the-counter meds to get rid of their headaches, but unfortunately, drugs are just Band-Aid solutions that may only bring further harm in the long run.
Popping over-the-counter pills to quell your headaches may also be the very reason why your attacks seem to be getting worse.
Ironically, excessive use of medications, such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil), can lead to rebound headaches.
But don’t fret. There are many drug-free alternatives you can try to help you finally put an end to your headaches. Here are some, to name a few:
Due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties, ginger works like a natural aspirin by inhibiting the prostaglandin synthesis, a process involved in inflammation and pain, and easing inflammation of the blood vessels in the head. It’s also known to suppress nausea, which will make you feel a lot better if you’re suffering from migraine.
Get the headache-relieving benefits of ginger by drinking it as a juice (mixed with equal amounts of lemon juice) or as a relaxing herbal tea twice daily, until your condition improves. Simply put thin slices of ginger root in a steaming cup of water and leave them in for a stronger infusion.
2. Essential oils
Essential oils, such as lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, and peppermint oil, have long been known for their soothing and calming effects, as they boast not only anti-inflammatory, but analgesic, antidepressant, and antispasmodic effects as well.
This is why when inhaled through an oil burner, added into bathwater, or applied topically and massaged on the temples of your head, essential oils work to help heal your headache as well as lift your spirits.
On the contrary, there are also individuals who report having headaches after smelling specific essential oils, which may be due to hypersensitivity or an allergic reaction.
3. Have a cup of strong, brewed coffee without sugar.
The natural caffeine in coffee helps get rid of swelling of the blood vessels, and at the same time, works as an excellent analgesic, which is why it’s been tapped as an ingredient in a number of strong painkillers like Excedrin.
A little caveat: if your headache is caused by caffeine withdrawal, this option might not be for you.
4. Foot soak
A part of the classic hydrotherapy massage treatment for migraines, which is perhaps one of the worst types of headaches, soaking your feet in hot water effectively leads blood to the lower part of your body and reduces the pressure and tension in the congested areas like your head, shoulders, and neck.
Immerse your feet and ankles in a basin filled with water just hot to the touch (ranging from 100 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit) and add mustard powder.
Aside from migraines and other types of headaches, foot soaks also work wonders for colds, chest congestion, flu, coughs, pelvic cramps, and any kind of pain in the body, from toothaches to backaches.
5. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
A unique form of energy psychology technique, EFT is basically a type of psychological acupressure based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture, but without the invasive needles.
Greek researchers, who did an eight-week clinical trial involving 35 participants from a headache clinic, found that participants who had been taught to do EFT on their own and tapped twice a day lessened the frequency of their headaches by a whopping 62 percent, and the intensity of the headaches by 60 percent.
Mind-body exercises, such as yoga, tai chi, guided imagery, visualizations, and other forms of relaxation techniques may also work therapeutically for headaches and other types of chronic pain.
Don’t let headaches stop you from living your life to the fullest. Try these natural home remedies and see which one works best for you.
Or better yet, take proactive steps to prevent your attacks by identifying and addressing your triggers, and, more importantly, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.