Headaches are a common condition that many people deal with on a daily basis.
Ranging from uncomfortable to downright unbearable, they can disrupt your day-to-day life.
Several types of headaches exist, with tension headaches being the most common. Cluster headaches are painful and happen in groups or “clusters,” while migraines are a moderate-to-severe type of headache.
Although many medications are targeted at relieving headache symptoms, a number of effective, natural treatments also exist.
Here are 18 effective home remedies to naturally get rid of headaches.
Inadequate hydration may lead you to develop a headache.
In fact, studies have demonstrated that chronic dehydration is a common cause of tension headaches and migraines
Thankfully, drinking water has been shown to relieve headache symptoms in most dehydrated individuals within 30 minutes to three hours
What’s more, being dehydrated can impair concentration and cause irritability, making your symptoms seem even worse.
To help avoid dehydration headaches, focus on drinking enough water throughout the day and eating water-rich foods.
Take Some Magnesium
Magnesium is an important mineral necessary for countless functions in the body, including blood sugar control and nerve transmission
Interestingly, magnesium has also been shown to be a safe, effective remedy for headaches.
Evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency is more common in people who get frequent migraine headaches, compared to those who don’t
Studies have shown that treatment with 600 mg of oral magnesium citrate per day helped reduce both the frequency and severity of migraine headaches
However, taking magnesium supplements can cause digestive side effects like diarrhea in some people, so it’s best to start with a smaller dose when treating headache symptoms.
While having an alcoholic drink may not cause a headache in most people, studies have shown that alcohol can trigger migraines in about one-third of those who experience frequent headaches
Alcohol has also been shown to cause tension and cluster headaches in many people
It’s a vasodilator, meaning it widens blood vessels and allows blood to flow more freely.
Vasodilation may cause headaches in some people. In fact, headaches are a common side effect of vasodilators like blood pressure medications
Additionally, alcohol acts as a diuretic, causing the body to lose fluid and electrolytes through frequent urination. This fluid loss can lead to dehydration, which can cause or worsen headaches
Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your health in many ways, and may even cause headaches in some people.
However, getting too much sleep has also been shown to trigger headaches, making getting the right amount of rest important for those looking for natural headache prevention
For maximum benefits, aim for the “sweet spot” of seven to nine hours of sleep per night
Avoid Foods High in Histamine
Histamine is a chemical found naturally in the body that plays a role in the immune, digestive and nervous systems
It’s found in certain foods like aged cheeses, fermented food, beer, wine, smoked fish and cured meats.
Some people are not able to excrete histamine properly because they have impaired function of the enzymes responsible for breaking it down
Cutting histamine-rich foods from the diet may be a useful strategy for people who get frequent headaches
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids that contain aromatic compounds from a variety of plants.
They have many therapeutic benefits and are most often used topically, though some can be ingested.
Peppermint and lavender essential oils are especially helpful when you have a headache.
Applying peppermint essential oil to the temples has been shown to reduce the symptoms of tension headaches Meanwhile, lavender oil is highly effective at reducing migraine pain and associated symptoms when applied to the upper lip and inhaled
Try a B-Complex Vitamin
B vitamins are a group of water-soluble micronutrients that play many important roles in the body.
Some B vitamins may have a protective effect against headaches.
Several studies have shown that the B vitamin supplements riboflavin (B2), folate, B12 and pyridoxine (B6) may reduce headache symptoms
B-complex vitamins contain all eight of the B vitamins and are a safe, cost-effective way to naturally treat headache symptoms.
B vitamins are considered safe to take on a regular basis, as they are water soluble and any excess will be flushed out through the urine
Soothe Pain with a Cold Compress
Using a cold compress may help reduce your headache symptoms.
Applying cold or frozen compresses to the neck or head area decreases inflammation, slows nerve conduction and constricts blood vessels, all of which help reduce headache pain
To make a cold compress, fill a waterproof bag with ice and wrap it in a soft towel. Apply the compress to the back of the neck, head or temples for headache relief.
Consider Taking Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance produced naturally by the body that helps turn food into energy and functions as a powerful antioxidant (
Studies have shown that taking CoQ10 supplements may be an effective and natural way to treat headaches.
Try an Elimination Diet
Studies suggest that food intolerances can trigger headaches in some people.
To discover if a certain food is causing frequent headaches, try an elimination diet that removes the foods most related to your headache symptoms.
Aged cheese, alcohol, chocolate, citrus fruits and coffee are among the most commonly reported food triggers in people with migraines
Read more here about how to follow an elimination diet properly.
Drink Caffeinated Tea or Coffee
Sipping on beverages that contain caffeine, such as tea or coffee, may provide relief when you are experiencing a headache.
Caffeine improves mood, increases alertness and constricts blood vessels, all of which can have a positive effect on headache symptoms
It also helps increase the effectiveness of common medications used to treat headaches, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen
However, caffeine withdrawal has also been shown to cause headaches if a person regularly consumes large amounts of caffeine and suddenly stops.
Therefore, people who get frequent headaches should be mindful of their caffeine intake
Acupuncture is a technique of Traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate specific points on the body
This practice has been linked to a reduction in headache symptoms in many studies.
be a worthwhile choice.
Relax with Yoga
Practicing yoga is an excellent way to relieve stress, increase flexibility, decrease pain and improve your overall quality of life
Taking up yoga may even help reduce the intensity and frequency of your headaches.
Avoid Strong Smells
Strong odors like those from perfumes and cleaning products can cause certain individuals to develop headaches.
This hypersensitivity to odors is called osmophobia and common in those with chronic migraines
If you think you may be sensitive to smells, avoiding perfumes, cigarette smoke and strongly scented foods may help decrease your chance of getting a migraine
Try an Herbal Remedy
Certain herbs including feverfew and butterbur may reduce headache symptoms.
Feverfew is a flowering plant that has anti-inflammatory properties.
Butterbur root comes from a perennial shrub native to Germany and, like feverfew, has anti-inflammatory effects.
Several studies have shown that taking butterbur extract in doses of 50–150 mg reduces headache symptoms in both adults and children (44Trusted Source).
Feverfew is generally considered safe if taken in recommended amounts. However, butterbur should be treated with caution, as unpurified forms can cause liver damage, and the effects of its long-term use are unknown
Avoid Nitrates and Nitrites
Nitrates and nitrites are common food preservatives added to items like hot dogs, sausages and bacon to keep them fresh by preventing bacterial growth.
Foods containing them have been shown to trigger headaches in some people.
Nitrites may trigger headaches by causing the expansion of blood vessels (
In order to minimize your exposure to nitrites, limit the amount of processed meats in your diet and choose nitrate-free products whenever possible.
Sip Some Ginger Tea
Ginger root contains many beneficial compounds, including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances
What’s more, ginger helps reduce nausea and vomiting, common symptoms associated with severe headaches
You can take ginger powder in capsule form or make a powerful tea with fresh ginger root.
Get Some Exercise
One of the simplest ways to reduce headache frequency and severity is to engage in physical activity.
it’s a great way to reduce stress and relieve tension. It especially helps with tightness of tender muscles, such as those in the back of the head, neck, and shoulders, and it boosts blood flow in those areas.
How Does Massage For Headache Work?
More than just a relaxing way to loosen your tense back muscles, massage can prevent and reduce headaches as well.
Massage therapy has proven to be an effective measure for reducing both chronic migraines and tension headaches. Massage also eases the muscle tension in the neck, jaw, and shoulders, which can cause headaches in the first place.
Massage for headaches also has the benefit of being economical (when compared with pharmaceutical interventions) and having no known side effects. Research shows that professional therapeutic massage can decrease pain, tension, duration, intensity, and frequency of headaches.
Of course, you should always consult with your healthcare provider before adjusting any treatment plan. They may be encouraged to know that massage is an evidence-based natural treatment for both tension and migraine headaches.
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Another large study including more than 92,000 people showed that a low level of physical activity was clearly associated with an increased risk of headaches
There are many ways to increase your activity level, but one of the easiest methods is to simply increase the amount of steps you take throughout the day.
The Bottom Line
Many people are negatively impacted by frequent headaches, making it important to find natural and effective treatment options.
Yoga, supplements, essential oils and dietary modifications are all natural, safe and effective ways to reduce headache symptoms.
While traditional methods like medications are often necessary, there are many natural and effective ways to prevent and treat headaches if you’re looking for a more holistic approach.