If you are one of the millions of headache sufferers who face severe or debilitating headaches, like those that keep you from working or performing everyday tasks, you are likely looking for quick remedies.
For many, popping over-the-counter pain killers or anti-inflammatory drugs just doesn’t cut it. These pills, when taken sparingly, can be quite effective, but persistent headache suffers or those who experience migraines, know how limited their effects actually are. Read on for other pain management options and natural remedies that can ease your suffering in a pinch.
A very common cause of headaches, and not just those that are most associated with a night of heavy drinking, is dehydration. So your first step in the trial and error process of headache alleviation should be a tall glass of water, maybe two.
Find the Herbs That Work for You
Some regular headache suffers swear by a whiff of calming essential oils, most often lavender. While there are many who recommend ginger tea to deal with mild to moderate headaches. For evidence and information on recent research trials on the herbal management of migraines, check out this fact sheet, which points to magnesium, riboflavin, and Coenzyme Q10 as important potential remedies.
Particularly if you are someone who already believes in the power of alternative medicine, there is no reason not to try acupressure, which has been shown to provide relief for many pain-related conditions including chronic headaches.
When performed by a qualified practitioner, while self-administered acupressure has also been reported to be helpful, acupressure stimulates the autonomic nervous system bringing quick relief. If you are an alternative medicine skeptic, keep this in mind before dismissing this potential remedy: there are no known negative side effects. Give it a try!
Avoid Certain Foods
As with most health issues, it is important not to ignore the preventative aspects of the condition. That is why it is absolutely critical to identify your headache triggers. Start by keeping a headache journal to archive your diet and activities immediately preceding your headaches.
While some obvious triggers may include caffeine and smoke, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology reports high incidences of migraines triggered by food allergies. As a basic primer of foods to look out for, the foods most of often associated with triggering migraines include:
- Smoked or cured meats
- Dairy products
- Artificial sweeteners
- Canned soups
- Food additives
- Red wine
Other food allergies can also be prime suspects in triggering chronic headaches, so consider speaking with a nutritionist to further understand potential dietary options that could lead to great relief.
Reduce Stress All-Around
Stress is one of the most common triggers for headaches of all types. In this way, stress reduction can be both an immediate treatment and a longer-term preventative strategy. For on-the-spot headache pain relief, relaxation exercises can be quite effective.
Particularly for tension headaches, try lying on your back, breathe slowly in and out, and contract and release various muscle groups from your head to your toes. By consciously focusing on your body’s state you can identify the area from which the tension stems and easily alleviate it. Other types of meditation and relaxing music can also provide quick stress relief and may even work for suffers from chronic headaches.
Sometimes limiting sensory input provides the quickest relief. Find space to lie down in the dark, alone in a quiet room, for at least ten minutes. Close your eyes and let the lack of stimulus wash over you.