Headaches are a common condition a lot of people suffer from on a day to day basis. As a result, we often brush aside this pain and think very little of it. However, often a headache is basically your body trying to signal to you that there is something it needs urgently. Let’s face it; headaches can be a massive pain, and not just in the head. They make you irritable, short-tempered and keep you from focusing on one task for long.
There are several types of headaches caused due to different environmental or internal triggers. Some of the most common ones are:
1. Tension-Type Headaches
These headaches are triggered by too much workload or stress about an anticipated event. It results in a mild to moderate pain which is best described by an imaginary, tight band wrapped around your head. Symptoms may include:
- Muscle pain
- Neck pain
- Strain in eyes
A migraine can be of varied intensity, usually also accompanied by nausea and extreme sensitivity to visual and auditory stimulus. Some other reasons for migraines are due to some hormonal fluctuation in the body, certain diets, extreme stress, or long exposure without adequate sleep. Symptoms may include:
- Intense throbbing headaches
- Dizziness or nausea
3. Cluster Headaches
It is also known as Horton’s syndrome. These usually occur in patterns or clusters, hence the name. They happen frequently, usually occur in the same region and are interspaced by a certain period of relief. Unlike other types, this requires a medical diagnosis as self-diagnosis doesn’t work here.
Symptoms may include:
- Concentrated pain on one side of the head
- Nasal discharge
- Red or tearing eyes
Sinus headaches happen because of an infection in the sinus glands. It causes pressure around the eyes, cheeks and forehead. It mostly triggers by cold, or allergies and usually resolves on its own without any specific medication.
Symptoms may include:
- Facial pain
- Blockage of the nasal passage (nasal congestion)
- Runny nose
For any health issues, my personal opinion is always to consult your physician, but if you are dealing with mild headaches, you can go for home remedies, sometimes they do wonders.
10 Home Remedies for Headaches
1. Keep Yourself Hydrated – Drink Water
Even though this one might seem to be a bit too simple, most of the time, a chronic headache is only our body’s way of complaining about the lack of water. Adequate hydration is vital for the optimum functioning of our body. That is to say, our body works best and the most efficiently when it has enough water to work with. It is ideal to consume at least 8-12 glasses of water within a day, but most of us often forget to drink water entirely. We remain so busy in our day to day work that even the most basic necessities like water, slips out of our mind. Single glass or two of water usually does the trick within a span of three hours. But, we should be careful to sip on it slowly, because drinking so much water all at once can cause nausea or vomiting.
2. Adequate Sleep is Must
Too much stress or overworking our body can cause fatigue or disorientation. We sometimes function on less than normal sleep, and thus, our body does not have enough of buffer time to rejuvenate itself. This can cause strain, irritability and some of the most chronic headaches. One of the best ways to cure a headache is to take a quick nap for two to three hours. Giving a break to your mind and relaxing your body can do wonders to get rid of the most irksome headaches of them all. An adult body requires anywhere between eight to six hours of sleep to rejuvenate itself properly. In situations like exams, an important presentation or any other event due to which you may miss out on a few hours of sleep, taking a nap afterwards is essential to cure an existing headache or to prevent one from setting in.
3. Using Essential Oils Can Do Wonders
Essential oils are concentrated liquids extracted from plants. They have strong scents and are an indispensable part of the practice of aromatherapy. Aromatherapists believe that different oils have different abilities and should hence be used for different purposes. Research has suggested that these are the top five essential oils that work best to cure a persistent headache:
- Lavender oil (helps to reduce stress, anxiety and alleviates migraines)
- Rosemary oil (helps increase circulation, rejuvenation, pain-killing properties)
- Peppermint oil (high menthol content acts effectively as a relief inducing agent)
- Chamomile oil (calms nerves, helps to sleep and relaxation of the body, reduce anxiety and stress)
- Eucalyptus oil (clear sinuses and reduce inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and reduction in stress)
4. Caffeine is Not Bad All the Time
Caffeine is one of the ways to cure a chronic headache. Though it might not make the headache disappear, it reduces the pain to some extent. Also works more effectively to eliminate stress-related headaches. As well as, energises the body and helps it cope under duress for more extended amounts of time. It helps reduce inflammation. Caffeinated tea or hot coffee can help with sinus-related headaches. It helps in clearing the nasal passage and reducing inflammation and congestion. However, excessive caffeine and prolonged exposure to it can also act as a causal agent and trigger headaches. Hence, consumption should be limited and only had when necessary.
5. Acupuncture has Healing Powers Too
Acupuncture is an alternative form of healing, originating from ancient China. It focuses on various ganglions present in the body and application of pressure to these sensitive points. Many people do not respond well to medicines or drugs prescribed to curb headaches and migraines. Here, acupuncture serves as a good alternative. It is safe, can easily be performed and has proven results. It is, for now, only a temporary solution. However, the method is quite promising, and emerging evidence and further development may result in a more long-lasting cure. It helps in the reduction of the frequency of the headaches and migraines. It can serve as one of the best home remedies for headaches.
6. Yoga has its own Benefits
Many yoga postures can help cure headaches. It serves as a natural home remedy to cure headaches and migraines. Some of these postures are:
- Hastapadasana (standing forward bend)
- Setu bandhasana (bridge pose)
- Shishuasana (child pose)
- Marjariasana (cat pose)
- Paschimottanasana (two-legged seated forward bend)
Yogic postures help the blood flow better and increases blood supply to the brain, which helps in healing faster. Practising these simple yogic postures will lessen the impact of the headache and help take the consciousness’ focus away from the mortal body. It also, in turn, provides peace of mind.
7. Meditation Can Cure Headaches
Since many headaches are caused or aggravated by stress, tension, anxiety or panic, many mind-body exercises like meditation can cure headaches. This is because it eliminates the underlying root causes. Dissociating the mind and the body, one-pointed focus and hypnosis can help bring down stress levels and anxiety. Meditation brings relief to the parts of the nervous system that is associated with increased stress and anxiety and is thus one of the home remedies for headaches you must try before medicating.
8. Try Ginger for Headaches
Ginger is well known for its healing properties and is a star ingredient in many home remedies not just for headaches but also indigestion, nausea and upset stomachs. Infusing ginger in your tea or coffee, mixing its extract into a spoonful of honey or merely chewing on it raw (if you feel brave enough) can provide almost instant relief to even the most severe headaches. The chemical compounds in ginger juice have specific anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. This makes it an ideal cure for headaches triggered by stress, migraines and even by sinus blockages. It also increases serotonin, a chemical hormone that counters severe migraine attacks. Ginger is also readily available and hence one of the best home remedies for headaches, which can give instant relief with no side-effects at all.
9. Temperature Therapy
A common and one of the most well-known home remedies to cure headaches is using the cold compress technique. It is a commonly recommended strategy to cure headaches and migraines. A cold compress or an ice pack has a numbing effect and dulls the pain when applied to the head or neck. It works best when placed at the nape with the head held upside down. That way, optimum blood supply reaches the brain and makes the healing process quicker. On the contrary, using heating pads and hot packs can help in relaxing tensed or strained muscles, which can provide relief to chronic headaches.
10. Cinnamon and Cloves are Helpful
Spices have their own benefits and powerful effect on certain ailments. Cinnamon and cloves are said to be quite helpful to some extent while combating headache. Intake of spices like cinnamon and cloves can give relief if you are struggling with a headache. Cinnamon has cinnamaldehyde; linalool, eugenol, methyl chavicol; these medical components help in reducing symptoms of distress due to headaches. If you are consuming cinnamon tea, it is highly beneficial as this spice contains manganese, iron, calcium and iron that can efficiently counteract headache.
Cloves are one of the most used and common kitchen ingredients which can help to reduce headache. Cloves have eugenol when combined together with flavonoids; it has a substantial anti-inflammatory effect. Crush a few cloves and then put them in a muslin cloth or handkerchief and inhale the smell, it can help in reducing the pain caused due to headache.
Always make sure while using any herbs or spices whether you are allergic to it or not as they may cause other issues.
Over the Counter Medication
Although this should be a last resort, often headaches are quite a hassle and interfere directly with daily activities. Many times, these remedies take a bit too much time to work or are not the most accessible. Medication can be effective much faster, but also harmful if taken too often. Medicines like Crocin, Aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen are heavy on the liver and can cause severe damage if consumed too often. Hence, the medication should be your last resort, and these home remedies should be tried out first. Above all medication are best when your doctor asks you to take, else it’s not advisable to take it on your own.
Headaches can also indicate serious illnesses. If your headaches continue to persist and grow worse as time passes, seeking medical attention becomes essential. Some pointers indicating serious complications include, but are not limited to:
- Frequency of headaches increases substantially
- Unable to perform daily activities and work
- The sleep cycle is disrupted
- Does not get better with home remedies to cure headaches
- Develop a fever higher than 102-degree Fahrenheit
- Experience nausea or vomiting