Natural Relief from Headaches: 18 Solutions

Drinking water, taking a nap, applying a cold compress, and other natural remedies are all effective ways to alleviate the pain of a headache at home.

Migraine headaches are a common condition that many people suffer from regularly.

They can be annoying at best and downright debilitating at worst, and they can interfere with your regular activities.

Tension headaches are the most prevalent type of headache. Migraines are a moderate to severe form of headache, while cluster headaches are painful and occur in groups or "clusters."

There are many pharmaceutical options for relieving headache pain, but there are also many natural remedies that can be just as effective.

Here are 18 tried-and-true methods for eliminating headaches at home.

Person in bed with a cool compress on their head Don't forget to pin it! antoniodiaz/Shutterstock

There are many potential reasons for a headache, some of which are significantly more severe than others.

There may be a correlation between your diet and the frequency of your headaches, according to studies. Instances 1–4 are as follows:

  • sleep deprivation
  • dehydration
  • Lack of Caffeine
  • Substance abuse
  • food insufficiency
  • undereating

However, headaches can also be caused by serious injuries and underlying health issues.

Life-threatening conditions like tumors and blood clots, as well as traumatic brain injury, can all cause symptoms like headaches (5).

Headaches can also be brought on by things like central nervous system infections and drug withdrawal (6).

As an added complication, some people are more susceptible to headaches than others.

Headaches are more common in people who are overweight, who have trouble sleeping, who smoke, and who consume large amounts of caffeine. Those who have a history of headaches in their family are also more likely to experience headaches themselves (6, 7, 8).

A headache could be the result of not drinking enough water.

Dehydration has been shown in studies (4, 9) to be a major contributor to headaches.

To make matters worse, dehydration worsens symptoms by causing distraction and agitation (10).

Fortunately, studies show that increasing your water intake can help lessen the frequency, severity, and duration of headaches for some people (11).

Dehydration can lead to headaches, so it's important to stay hydrated by drinking water and eating foods high in water content, like fruits and vegetables.

Second, try magnesium.

Numerous bodily processes rely on magnesium, including glucose control and nerve impulse transmission (12).

Magnesium, interestingly, is also a proven, risk-free headache remedy.

Migraine sufferers appear to be at greater risk of magnesium deficiency than the general population (13).

Treatment with supplemental magnesium, in a variety of doses and forms, has shown promise in reducing both the frequency and severity of migraine headaches in research studies (14).

For instance, some migraine sufferers find that taking 600 mg of magnesium citrate daily helps alleviate their pain (15).

However, some people find that magnesium supplements give them digestive side effects like diarrhea, so it's best to start with a lower dose and consult a doctor if you have any questions about dosing when treating headache symptoms.

If you want to try magnesium for headaches, Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Citrate is a good option. There is 150 milligrams of magnesium citrate in every capsule.

Eurofins, Intertek, and Silliker (16) are just a few of the independent labs that test Pure Encapsulations' products.

Magnesium Citrate Pure Encapsulations is available for purchase on the web.

Cut back on the booze

Most people can enjoy a drink or two without suffering the ill effects of a headache, but research shows that about a third of people who suffer from migraines can be triggered by alcohol (17).

Among the most severe types of headaches are tension headaches and cluster headaches, both of which are exacerbated by alcohol consumption (17, 18).

The exact mechanism by which alcohol causes headaches is unknown (17), but it is thought to have something to do with inflammation, activating certain neuronal pathways, contributing to dehydration, and widening blood vessels.

Those who suffer from headaches on the regular may want to limit their alcohol consumption to see if that helps.

4. Obtain sufficient rest.

Lack of sleep has many negative effects on health and has been linked to headaches in some people.

In fact, studies have linked insomnia and poor sleep quality to more frequent and severe headaches (19).

Insomnia is linked to increased headache severity in those who suffer from tension headaches (20, 21), and sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep, is associated with morning headaches.

However, studies have also linked excessive sleep time with headache onset. Those seeking a natural method of preventing headaches should, therefore, prioritize getting enough sleep (22).

The "sweet spot" for sleep is between 7 and 9 hours, so that's where you should aim (23)

Read up on some natural sleep aids if you're having trouble dropping off.

Avoid high-histamine foods in step 5.

Histamine is an endogenous chemical with multiple functions in the body's immune, digestive, and nervous systems (24).

Aged cheeses, fermented foods, beer, wine, smoked fish, and cured meats all contain it.

Some research suggests that people who are sensitive to histamine may experience migraines if they consume it (25).

As a result of insufficient activity of the enzymes responsible for its breakdown, some people are unable to excrete histamine normally (26).

People who are sensitive to histamine may find relief from symptoms like headaches by avoiding foods high in histamine.

6 - Use Aromatherapy

Essential oils are volatile liquids extracted from plants that contain aromatic compounds.

They're used topically most of the time, but some are also edible and have therapeutic benefits.

Peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus essential oils have all been shown to be effective in relieving headache symptoms in studies (28, 29, 30).

If you suffer from headaches on a regular basis, you may find relief from diffusing essential oils or applying a small amount of an essential oil, such as peppermint or lavender oil, mixed with a carrier oil, such as jojoba, to your wrists or temples.

Among the many options for high-quality essential oils, Eden Botanicals is worth your consideration.

Find Eden Botanicals oil blends for sale here.

Seventh, take a vitamin B complex.

The water-soluble B vitamins are a group of essential micronutrients. They aid in the production of neurotransmitters and the conversion of food into energy (31).

There is some evidence that certain B vitamins can help prevent headaches.

Riboflavin (B2), folate (B9), vitamin B12, and pyridoxine (B6) are just some of the B vitamins that have been shown in multiple studies to alleviate headache pain (32, 33, 34).

A natural and inexpensive way to treat headache symptoms, B-complex supplements contain all eight of the B vitamins.

Since B vitamins are water-soluble, any excess will be excreted in the urine. (35) This makes them safe for daily consumption.

Consider Nordic Naturals Vitamin B Complex if you want a premium B-complex supplement. Methylcobalamin and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) are two of the B vitamins found in this supplement that are easily absorbed by the body.

Customers can get their hands on a third-party test report for the supplement. check out the lab report for free on the Nordic Naturals website

Vitamin B Complex from Nordic Naturals is available for purchase on the web.

8. Apply a cold compress to relieve pain

In some cases, a cold compress can help alleviate the pain of a headache.

By reducing inflammation, slowing nerve conduction, and constricting blood vessels, cold or frozen compresses applied to the neck or head may help alleviate headache pain (36).

Headaches brought on by nitrate medication used to treat heart conditions like chest pain have been linked in studies to benefit from cold therapy (37).

Wrap ice in a soft towel and place it in a watertight bag to make a cold compress. To alleviate a headache, place the compress on the back of the neck, the top of the head, or the temples.

Take some coenzyme Q10, it may help.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a naturally occurring substance that helps the body produce energy and acts as a potent antioxidant (38).

Taking CoQ10 supplements may be a good natural way to treat headaches, according to studies.

One study involving 80 migraine sufferers found that daily dosing with 100 mg of CoQ10 mitigated headache frequency, intensity, and duration (39).

Treatment with 30-800 mg of CoQ10 per day was found to be effective in reducing migraine frequency and duration in a 2021 review of 6 studies (40).

People who suffer from migraines may benefit from taking Thorne Research CoQ10 (formerly Q-Best 100), which contains 100 mg of CoQ10 in just one gelcap.

Thorne Research is a reliable supplement manufacturer because they have received accreditation from several independent bodies, including the Therapeutic Goods Association (41).

You can buy Thorne CoQ10 here.

10 Attempt a calorie-restricted diet

Food intolerances have been linked to headaches in some studies (1).

To determine whether or not a specific food is responsible for your chronic headaches, an elimination diet can be helpful.

People who suffer from migraines often report that certain foods, including aged cheeses, alcohol, chocolate, citrus fruits, and coffee, bring on an attack.

Migraine attack frequency, duration, and severity were all significantly reduced in a 2016 study of 50 people with migraine after they eliminated foods known to trigger attacks from their diet (42).

How to successfully implement an elimination diet is discussed in greater detail here.

11 Consume coffee or tea with caffeine.

Don't forget to pin it! Getty Images/Brothers91

If you're experiencing a headache, drinking something caffeinated like tea or coffee may help.

Caffeine's uplifting effects, heightened alertness, and vasoconstriction can alleviate headache pain (43).

It also boosts the efficacy of other pain relievers, like ibuprofen and acetaminophen (43), which are commonly used to treat headaches.

However, if you're a heavy caffeine user and you suddenly cut back, you may experience withdrawal headaches.

Those who suffer from headaches on a regular basis should, therefore, watch their caffeine intake (44).

Green Chai, Orange Spice, and Double Bergamot Early Grey are just a few of the popular varieties available from Stash Teas, which is one of many high-quality brands on the market.

Buy Stash teas from an online store.

Try Acupuncture

Thin needles are inserted into the skin at strategic points on the body in acupuncture, a form of traditional Chinese medicine (45).

Multiple studies have found that this technique helps ease headache pain.

A review of 15 systematic studies published in 2020 found tentative evidence that acupuncture is helpful for migraine sufferers (46).

In addition, a 2022 study involving 156 people with migraine found that acupuncture treatments of 5 and 10 sessions were effective for reducing the frequency of migraine attacks and the severity of migraines, respectively (47).

Acupuncture may be helpful for those seeking a non-pharmaceutical approach to relieving persistent headache pain.

Try some yoga to unwind.

Stress, lack of flexibility, pain, and overall quality of life can all be greatly improved through regular yoga practice (48).

You could lessen the frequency and severity of your headaches by practicing yoga.

Sixty people with chronic migraines were studied to determine the efficacy of yoga therapy. Yoga therapy combined with conventional care was more effective than conventional care alone in reducing headache frequency and intensity (49).

A 2020 meta-analysis of six studies confirmed that yoga reduced headache frequency, duration, and intensity in people who suffer from tension-type headaches (50).

Stay away from pungent odors

Perfumes and cleaning products aren't the only sources of head pain for some people.

Strong odors, especially perfumes, were found to be common headache triggers in a study of 400 people who suffered from migraines or tension headaches (51).

Osmophobia, or an extreme aversion to odors, is common among people who suffer from chronic migraines (52).

If you have migraines frequently and suspect that they are triggered by odors, avoiding perfumes, cigarette smoke, and strongly scented foods may help.

15 - Attempt a natural cure

Curcumin, chamomile, and butterbur are just a few of the herbs that have shown promise in studies for alleviating headache pain.

Curcumin as a preventative treatment and chamomile as an acute treatment for migraine (53), according to a 2020 review of 19 studies.

Butterbur is a perennial shrub native to Germany that has anti-inflammatory effects, and there is some evidence that taking it as a supplement can help people who suffer from migraines (53).

Many herbs can interact with commonly prescribed medications and may be unsafe for people who are pregnant or have certain health conditions (54), so it's important to exercise caution when supplementing with herbs.

Curcumin and chamomile, two of the herbal supplements mentioned in the above review, have a good track record of safety. However, before using any herbal remedy for headaches, it is important to consult a healthcare professional.

If you're looking for a high-quality curcumin supplement to prevent migraines, I'd recommend trying Thorne Meriva-SF, while Nature's Way Chamomile could be useful for symptomatic relief right away.

Shop for Together, Thorne Meriva-SF Place an order for Swanson Chamomile online

Do not consume any nitrates or nitrites.

Foods like hot dogs, sausages, and bacon often have nitrates and nitrites added to them as preservatives because of their ability to slow or stop the growth of bacteria.

Some people's headaches have been linked to eating foods containing them (55).

Blood vessel dilation brought on by nitrites has been linked to headaches (56).

Reduce your intake of processed meats and opt for nitrate-free alternatives when shopping to lower your nitrite exposure.

Take some ginger, number 17.

There are many useful compounds in ginger root, such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances (57).

Migraine sufferers may find relief from their pain by taking ginger supplements, according to a meta-analysis of three randomized controlled trials published in 2021 (58).

Additionally, ginger treatments were effective in decreasing nausea and vomiting, two common side effects of severe headaches (58).

Pure Encapsulations Ginger Extract is a premium supplement containing 500 mg of ginger root extract per capsule, making it a good choice for anyone interested in taking a ginger supplement.

In addition, fresh ginger root makes a potent tea. Tea is easy to prepare and inexpensive to drink, and it also has health benefits.

You can buy Ginger Extract from Pure Encapsulations right now!

To be more active

Physical activity is one of the simplest ways to lessen the occurrence and severity of headaches.

Several studies (59, 60, 61) have found that regular exercise can significantly lessen migraine symptoms and their severity and duration.

Increasing the number of steps you take every day is a simple but effective way to become more physically active.

Here are ten easy ways to get more exercise every day.

The occasional mild headache is usually nothing to worry about, but a persistent, severe headache is a medical emergency that must be treated immediately.

There are a number of potentially life-threatening conditions that manifest themselves as headaches, including tumors, blood clots, and others (5).

Visit a doctor so you can get to the bottom of your headaches and get the treatment you need.

Additionally, they can administer tests to rule out health issues and nutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin B12 and iron deficiency, that could be contributing to or exacerbating your headaches (65, 66).

Injuries or trauma, like a fall, can cause headaches, but a sudden, extremely severe headache should always be checked out by a doctor, as it could be a sign of something more serious.

There are a number of potential headache home remedies.

If a headache is brought on by dehydration, for instance, drinking water can alleviate the pain quickly (11).

Headache pain can be alleviated by taking painkillers like ibuprofen (67).

Headache relief may also be attained by resting in a dark room, applying a cold compress, smelling some peppermint or lavender essential oils, consuming some caffeine, and avoiding loud noises.

Bear in mind that these treatments might not work for everyone. The type and origin of your headache are key factors in determining what treatments will be most effective.

Is there anything you shouldn't do to relieve a headache at home?

It's best to avoid treating a headache with herbal supplements unless you've checked with a doctor first to make sure they're safe for you to take. Herbal supplements aren't always safe, and many of them can cause dangerous drug interactions (68).

Caffeine can cause restlessness and make it difficult to fall asleep (69), so moderation is key.

Does anything exacerbate headaches?

Headaches can be aggravated by factors such as exposure to bright light, noise, or odor.

Relax in a dark, quiet place with low lighting if you have a severe headache.

Other factors that may contribute to or exacerbate headaches include sleep deprivation, alcohol consumption, stress, particular foods, hormonal fluctuations, calorie restriction, and overuse of headache medication (70, 71).

Constant headaches can have serious consequences for sufferers, so it's crucial to find safe and efficient treatments.

Natural, risk-free, and efficient methods for alleviating headache symptoms include yoga, nutritional supplements, essential oils, and dietary changes.

While medication and other conventional methods are often necessary, there are also many effective natural methods for preventing and treating headaches.

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