Everyone has suffered from bouts of headaches sometime or the other. It feels like your head is being hammered and about to explode, leaving you irritable and less focused. Certain painkillers can provide quick relief, but these medications also have many side-effects and may affect your kidneys.
Thankfully, some natural remedies are quite effective in providing quick relief from headaches without causing any adverse health effects.
Peppermint’s healing properties and aroma have a calming and soothing effect that helps relieve headaches.1 Prepare a herbal tea by adding 1 teaspoon of dried peppermint to a cup of boiling water. Cover it and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. Then, strain it, add some honey and drink it.
Peppermint oil can even be used to gently massage your temples, jaw and the back of your neck for instant pain relief. Even inhaling the aroma of peppermint steam can relieve a headache and its accompanying symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting.
2. Hot Water
Applying heat on the back of your neck can provide relief from headaches caused by stress. Heat relaxes the tensed muscles and alleviates the pain.2 Just place a hot water bag on your nape or get under a hot shower and direct the water on the back of your neck.
Alternatively, you can fill a tub with slightly hot water and immerse your hands in it for about 15 minutes. This helps in improving blood circulation and relieves the pain caused by a headache. For chronic headaches, try dipping your legs in a bucket filled with hot water for 15 minutes.
3. Fluid Intake
If a headache is caused because of dehydration3, rehydration can provide quick relief. Just drink a couple of glasses of water when you begin to experience a headache and continue the intake in small quantities all through the day. Apart from water, other fluids such as sports drinks or a glass of fresh lime juice can help.
Most sports drinks contain electrolytes that can provide relief from headaches caused due to tension and dehydration. But, avoid alcohol consumption when you have a headache as it can dehydrate your body.
4. Simple Stretches
Simple exercises that stretch your head and neck can help reduce the pain caused by headaches.4 Gently lift your head up and down, move it left and right, and bend your neck sideways towards each shoulder. Also, slowly rotating the neck in clockwise and anticlockwise directions can help in relaxing the shoulder and neck muscles.
Using lemon is another effective way to treat a headache as it is refreshing and relaxing. It also helps maintain the acid-alkaline balance in the body. Add some lemon juice into warm water and drink it to reduce the pain.
This method is particularly beneficial for headaches caused by gas in the stomach. Alternatively, you can also prepare a paste from lemon crusts and apply it on your forehead to quickly relieve pain.
6. Ice Pack
A cold compress like an ice pack placed on your forehead numbs the pain, shrinks the blood vessels and improves blood circulation to the area.5 This technique is beneficial for headaches caused due to stress or sinus problems. Wrap some crushed ice or ice cubes in a plastic zip-lock pouch and place it against your forehead for a few minutes.
Even a bag of frozen fruits or vegetables also serves the purpose. But, avoid placing ice directly on your skin as it can damage the skin. Alternatively, you can also wrap an elastic band secured around the head with Velcro until you get relief.
Apples, as well as apple cider vinegar, are effective in providing relief from a headache and they also restore the acid-alkaline balance in the body. Even the aroma of green apples is known to help reduce migraine headaches. If you wake up with a morning headache, eat apple slices sprinkled with some salt and follow it up by drinking a glass of warm water.
You can even fill a container with steaming hot water and add 3-4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to it. Lean over the container with a towel covering your head and the container and inhale the steam. Alternatively, add 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, a little honey and lemon juice to a glass of water and drink it for relief from a headache.
|↑1||Göbel, H., G. Schmidt, M. Dworschak, H. Stolze, and D. Heuss. “Essential plant oils and headache mechanisms.” Phytomedicine 2, no. 2 (1995): 93-102.|
|↑2||Sujan, M. U., M. Raghavendra Rao, Ravikiran Kisan, Hulegar A. Abhishekh, Atchayaram Nalini, Trichur R. Raju, and T. N. Sathyaprabha. “Influence of hydrotherapy on clinical and cardiac autonomic function in migraine patients.” Journal of neurosciences in rural practice 7, no. 1 (2016): 109.|
|↑3||Blau, Joseph Norman, Christian Alexander Kell, and Julia Maria Sperling. “Water‐deprivation headache: A new headache with two variants.” Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain 44, no. 1 (2004): 79-83.|
|↑4||Varkey, Emma, Åsa Cider, Jane Carlsson, and Mattias Linde. “Exercise as migraine prophylaxis: a randomized study using relaxation and topiramate as controls.” Cephalalgia 31, no. 14 (2011): 1428-1438.|
|↑5||Vijayan, N. “Head band for migraine headache relief.” Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain 33, no. 1 (1993): 40-42.|