Headaches are a common problem in today’s world, often brought on by a lack of hydration, nutritional deficiencies and eye strain. It may be tempting to grab a bottle of painkillers as soon as you feel tensions beneath your scalp begin to rise, but overuse of painkillers can have negative side effects on your overall health.
Headaches are caused by nerve signals from the blood vessels and muscles in your head. There are a lot of different types of headaches—each brought on by a specific type of underlying problem—but there are a few that adults typically endure regularly, such as migraines, tension headaches and cluster headaches.
Fortunately, there are a lot of natural ways to cure your chronic headaches. Here are 10 of the best:
1. Drink water
One of the most common causes of headaches is dehydration. If you don’t drink enough water during the day, your brain can actually contract a little due to fluid loss, causing pain. Additionally, dehydration can cause tension in your neck, doubling the pain. These symptoms may get even worse after being in the sun or working out.
If you notice a headache coming on, drink one or two tall glasses of water. You should aim to have around eight cups of water a day or load your diet up with water-rich fruits and veggies to keep your body hydrated.
2. Take magnesium
Taking a magnesium supplement can help prevent and curb migraines. Magnesium is an essential mineral in our bodies that aids in many bodily functions. Studies have shown that people with lower magnesium counts tend to suffer from migraines more often.
Magnesium may be able to block pain receptors in the brain, lessening the symptoms of headaches. If you don’t want to take a supplement, try incorporating more magnesium-rich foods into your diet, such as leafy green vegetables, whole grains and beans.
3. Brew ginger tea
Ginger root has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can also help reduce severe side effects of headaches like nausea and vomiting. Ginger can reduce inflammation of the blood vessels in the head, reducing pain.
You can brew ginger root into a tea, mix the juice with lemon juice to drink or take ginger powder in pill form when you feel a headache or migraine forming.
4. Use essential oils
Rubbing some essential oils on your temples or inhaling the scents may help reduce your headache symptoms. Essential oils are highly-concentrated liquids that are often used for therapeutic purposes.
Lavender oil, for example, can be an effective way to reduce migraine symptoms. It is typically used to promote calm and reduce stress. Inhale this oil for the best effect.
Peppermint oil, on the other hand, brings about a cooling sensation when rubbed into the temples. It can stimulate blood flow in the skin and loosen contracted muscles, making it good for tension headaches.
5. Get some sleep
A lot of people underestimate the restorative powers of sleep. If you’ve been stressed, overworked and not sleeping well, you may be experiencing increased tension. Closing your eyes and laying down in a dark room can help reduce headache symptoms, even if you don’t actually sleep, but taking a nap can help your body heal even more.
6. Take B-complex vitamins
B vitamins are extremely important within your body, as they help form neurotransmitters, which carry chemical messages. Not getting enough B vitamins can result in brain fog, fatigue and headaches.
You can’t really overdose on B vitamins because they are water-soluble and excess gets flushed out with urine. If you suffer from chronic headaches, try adding a B-complex vitamin into your daily routine.
7. Try some herbs
Certain herbs are well-known for their helpful pain-relieving properties. Feverfew, a supplement from the sunflower family, is well-known as a natural anti-inflammatory helpful in reducing migraine symptoms.
Other herbs such as butterbur or white willow may also have similar effects. You can usually find these herbs in capsule form.
8. Eat a balanced diet
A well-balanced diet is critical for sustaining total-body health and can be instrumental in reducing headaches. Many foods are difficult for the body to digest—such as lactose, gluten and histamine-containing products like fermented foods—and can result in headaches. You can try an elimination diet to see what foods might be affecting your headaches. Otherwise, aim to eat healthy, vitamin-rich foods that will keep your body well-balanced and properly functioning.
Many times, headaches are simply a sign that the body is lacking in a particular nutrient that isn’t being added into your daily diet.
9. Stretch or exercise
Tension headaches are often caused by muscle contraction. These may occur after long hours of sitting at a computer desk, traveling in a car or other constricting positions. Taking time to stretch and relieve this tension can help your body feel more relaxed and prevent headaches.
Additionally, engaging in regular physical activity is believed to help reduce your risk of headaches because of the release of endorphins, increased blood flow and overall body benefits.
10. Try some caffeine
A little bit of caffeine might be helpful in stopping a headache because it constricts the blood vessels and improves alertness. However, people who drink lots of coffee or soda may experience caffeine withdrawal (which includes headaches) if they suddenly stop taking it, so aim for a healthy balance.
Next time you feel a headache of any kind coming on, don’t reach for the bottle of aspirin. Instead, try one or a few of these natural remedies and enjoy the natural soothing benefits they can provide!