Headaches can be a real nuisance, especially if you get them frequently. Luckily, there are many natural ways to prevent and relieve headaches without needing to reach for over the counter medication.
General stress is a common cause of headaches so when you're feeling under pressure, take a little time out every day to do something relaxing, such as going for a walk or reading a book. Bach Flowers Mix 43 contains a blend of Bach Flower essences to help relieve headaches and help you feel calmer, less sensitive, and more resilient to stress.
Dehydration is a very common cause of headaches, so making sure you drink enough. Water can help to prevent headaches from starting or make them less severe.
Dehydration can also affect how you feel, act and think, so it can make a headache seem even worse. So drinking water can help you to feel better. Try sipping water throughout the day or eat foods with high liquid content such as soups, salads and fruit to boost hydration.
Applying an ice pack or other cold compress to your head for 30 minutes may relieve headache pain by constricting the blood vessels in the area, thus reducing inflammation.
When a headache is triggered by tension in the muscles, a relaxing warm compress can help to relieve pain. For example, you can heat a wheat bag in a microwave before holding it against the affected area. A hot water bottle can also be effective.
Sometimes, headaches can be caused by a physical reason, such as a ponytail that’s pulled too tight or a headband that you’ve been wearing too long.
People suffering from headaches can sometimes be sensitive to bright light. The light from smartphones and other screens, or even overhead lights, can cause or worsen symptoms. In particular, people with migraine headaches may find that resting in a dimly lit or dark room can speed up recovery from a headache.
The natural compounds found in some herbs may help to relieve headaches, so herb teas are well worth trying. For example, ginger tea may alleviate migraine symptoms, while herbs such as chamomile, lavender and peppermint can have a calming effect. Herb teas also add water to the diet to prevent dehydration.
Exercising regularly boosts circulation and can help to prevent headaches from starting. Try walking, cycling or swimming for 30 minutes a day.
Some headaches may be triggered by intolerances to certain foods, from cheese and red wine to citrus and chocolate. Keeping a food diary may help you to identify foods that might be giving you a headache.
Not getting enough sleep - or sleeping too much - can cause headaches. Adults need 7 - 9 hours of sleep every night so try to establish a good routine. For example, get up at the same time every day, switch off screens before bedtime and relax with music or a book instead.
This traditional Chinese technique, where fine needles are positioned in the skin, can be effective in relieving and reducing the frequency of migraines and tension headaches.
Some people find that massaging pressure points such as the base of the neck, the area between the eyebrows, and the bridge of the nose helps to relieve tension headaches.
You may find you have more headaches when you’re stressed or worried. Relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga relax the muscles and can help to reduce anxiety and stress.
Caffeine relaxes the blood vessels, boosting circulation and easing tension, so a cup of tea, coffee or cola may help to relieve a headache.
Aromatherapy using essential oils such as lavender or peppermint can help to relieve a headache. The scents of essential oils vary widely, and you may find some more appealing than others, so it’s worth experimenting to find the ones you prefer. Use in an aromatherapy lamp or add a few drops to a warm bath.
If you experience clusters of headaches, it might be because you have low levels of magnesium. Consider taking a magnesium supplement.
Research suggests that B6 and B12 vitamins may protect against migraine headaches or lessen the severity of symptoms.
While so far, only small studies have been carried out, scientific research has noted that Vitamin E may be helpful in protecting against menstrual migraine headaches. In addition, it is thought that Vitamin E plays a role in balancing hormone levels.
A headache is a common symptom of a hangover because alcohol is a diuretic, so drinking too much leads to dehydration. In addition, some people are more sensitive to alcohol than others, and for them, even light to moderate drinking can cause headaches.
Strongly scented perfumes, bathroom and kitchen cleaning products, polishes and the like can sometimes trigger migraine headaches. So it can help if you avoid these substances whenever possible.
Numerous natural remedies can prevent or relieve headaches, and you may find that some work better than others. But if your headaches persist despite your efforts, they may be a symptom of an underlying health issue. In this case, it’s advisable to consult your doctor.
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