Dealing with a headache is exhausting and dispiriting, and far too many people have regular headaches. According to WHO, around one in two people worldwide experience some form of headache disorder that manifests at least once a year. For many of us, the symptoms are far more frequent than that.
Over-the-counter painkillers usually help with headaches. However, if you get headaches all the time, you might prefer to avoid taking these medications. When you have a mild headache, it may feel unnecessary to ease it with drugs. Fortunately, there are many home remedies that you can use instead of, or in addition to, painkillers.
But which remedies are efficient in this situation? Here is a list of some excellent natural home remedies for a headache.
1. A Glass of Water
The first thing you want to do when a headache hits is to make sure you’re not dehydrated. Dehydration headaches are common and they can creep up on you. You don’t always notice that your body lost too much water, and you won’t necessarily feel thirst when it happens.
When you are dehydrated, your brain shrinks temporarily. This may lead to pain that’s all over the head or localized to the front or the back. You might also feel fatigue and dizziness, and your heart rate might increase. Severe dehydration can be extremely dangerous to the point of causing a fever or loss of consciousness.
Replenishing your fluids is the only solution to dehydration. Water is sufficient in most cases, but you should also consider sports drinks. These contain valuable electrolytes that will speed up recovery.
2. Coenzyme Q10
While the topic needs more extensive research, small studies have proved that taking coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can help you beat migraines. This is a nutrient that has a strong antioxidant effect, which the human body produces naturally.
Where do you find CoQ10? You can take it in the form of supplements, but the coenzyme is also present in some foods. For example, you can increase your body’s CoQ10 levels by consuming vegetable oil, and it’s also present in various meats. The best source of this coenzyme is various coldwater fish, such as mackerel and salmon.
But if you decide to go for supplements, it’s very important to stick to the instructions. CoQ10 has some potential side effects, including digestive issues, and it can impact your blood pressure as well. You may not be able to take it if you use blood thinners or painkillers.
3. Moderate Amounts of Caffeine
Doctors say that caffeine can both treat and cause headaches.
If you have a tension headache, coffee or tea could be the solution. Caffeine can reduce inflammation, which is why it helps ease the pain. Additionally, it makes painkillers such as ibuprofen more effective than usual.
However, caffeine addiction is an important consideration. If you suddenly decrease your caffeine intake, you might experience withdrawal symptoms, which generally include a headache.
You might be wondering how much coffee is safe to drink. For most adults, the daily limit is roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of coffee. But even if you only drink a single cup a day, quitting cold turkey might lead to headaches, so if you want to decrease your caffeine intake, you should do it gradually.
4. Ginger Root
Powdered ginger root is one of the most common natural treatments for migraines. Ginger contains antioxidants and it also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain. Drinking ginger tea is as effective as eating the powdered form of this root.
5. Cold Compress
One of the best ways to decrease the pain of a headache is to constrict the blood vessels in your head. Using a cold pack on your head and chest can help you achieve this. All you need to do is to fill a bag with ice, wrap it in a towel, and then press it against the area where you feel the most pain and tension.
According to the American Migraine Foundation, taking magnesium supplements every day can help prevent migraines. The recommended dosage is 400-500 milligrams a day, but you can take more than that for severe headaches. You should talk with a professional before you go for a daily regimen of magnesium supplements, as high dosages can have some unpleasant side effects.
Magnesium-rich foods also serve as natural home remedies for a headache. For example, you can make a considerable difference if you add leafy greens, avocados, bananas, black beans, nuts, seeds, and cereals to your diet. Once again, you can opt for fish such as mackerel.
7. Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
This is a vitamin B that is used as a treatment for migraines, but it can help with everyday headaches too. You can take one of those vitamin B complex supplements or improve your riboflavin levels by eating eggs, yogurt, vegetables, and nuts. Beef liver is one of the best sources for this nutrient.
Note that other vitamins Bs are also an effective aid against headaches. Since the body naturally gets rid of any excess, it’s safe to take vitamin B supplements regularly.
8. Essential Oils
You already know that the scent of essential oils can have a soothing effect. For example, some people add lavender oil to their bathwater when they want to unwind after a long day.
If you’re dealing with a stress-related tension headache, lavender oil could be the best natural treatment. But experts also recommend peppermint oil and chamomile oil for the same purpose. If you have a painful sinus infection, inhaling eucalyptus oil could be the way to go.
Let’s end this lineup with an herb that has a beneficial effect on migraines and other kinds of headaches. Taking butterbur extract eases the symptoms and makes headaches less frequent. It can also help if you have hay fever.
A Final Thought
One of the best natural home remedies for a headache is simply getting enough sleep. Your headaches might come from the stress you’re exposed to daily, and interrupted sleep cycles are a frequent culprit. Getting regular exercise is also a good way to reduce the severity of your symptoms. In particular, yoga is a healthful option that could help you erase headaches in the long term.