How to Relieve Headaches Naturally
Popping a pill — when it comes to putting a stop to migraines or other headache pain, that’s the first step that many people take. But if you’re concerned about how much over-the-counter medication you’re swallowing, there are other head pain relief strategies to try, many as close as your kitchen. With the power of alternative medicine, and several simple home remedies, you can take control of headaches naturally.
“It is easy to become reliant on drugs — we all live in a fast-paced nation, and there is little understanding when you miss obligations over a headache,” says Moshe Lewis, MD, a pain management specialist in Redwood City, Calif.
The next time you feel the pounding about to begin, try these 5 ideas to conquer headaches:
Acupressure. Performed by a qualified practitioner, acupressure can bring relief for headaches and a variety of other pain-related conditions, says Lewis. Japanese research explains that acupressure may work by stimulating the autonomic nervous system, which is why it may have an impact on headache and related conditions such as chronic neck pain. Though recent studies haven’t been done, earlier research on 500 people with frequent headaches found that self-administered acupressure was helpful and worth trying because there are no negative side effects.
Ice. Applying ice or a cold pack to an injury is an age-old home remedy for all types of pain, and it may do the trick for migraines and other headache pain, too. Wrap your cold pack in a thin cloth to prevent your head from becoming too cold and apply it directly to your forehead. Lewis suggests sticking to just 10 minutes an hour, as needed, to keep your whole body from getting a chill.
A warm foot bath. Soaking your feet in warm water may seem counterintuitive to helping migraine pain. But from a relaxation perspective, Lewis says, it can sometimes do the trick for quelling head pain by taking your mind off it.
Dimmed lights. Sensitivity to light, or photophobia, is a common symptom for many people who wrestle with migraine pain. Simply relaxing in a low-light room can be helpful, straightforward advice, confirmed in a recent French study that demonstrated how high-light exposure can worsen the symptoms of an ongoing migraine, while lower light helps relieve them.
Restorative sleep. Not getting a good night’s sleep is tied to many health problems, including repeated headaches. “Maintaining a good and consistent sleeping pattern is helpful,” says Lewis. “I can guarantee myself a nasty headache just by going to sleep too late, even when I sleep in the next day.”
These quick tricks should work for the occasional pounding head. But if you’re constantly plagued by headache pain, and ginger or your grandmothers home remedy doesn’t work, Dr. Lewis suggests a visit to a headache specialist. “There are many different causes of headaches, some of which can be addressed without drugs,” he says.