Headaches can be a real pain, literally and figuratively. But there are ways to get rid of them naturally. Here are 18 effective home remedies to help you get rid of headaches without having to resort to medication. Studies have shown that treatment with 600 mg of oral magnesium citrate per day can help reduce both the frequency and severity of migraines (3).
For example, one study compared the frequency and severity of headache in those who slept less than six hours a night and those who slept longer. He found that those who slept less had more frequent and severe headaches (1). However, too much sleep has also been shown to trigger headaches, making getting adequate rest important for those seeking natural headache prevention (1). For maximum benefits, aim for the “sweet spot” of seven to nine hours of sleep per night (1).Some people cannot properly excrete histamine due to an altered function of the enzymes responsible for breaking it down (1).
Eliminating histamine-rich foods from the diet can be a useful strategy for people who have frequent headaches (1). Applying essential oils to the temples has been shown to reduce the symptoms of tension headaches (1). Meanwhile, lavender oil is very effective in reducing migraine pain and associated symptoms when applied to the upper lip and inhaled (1).B vitamins are a group of water-soluble micronutrients that play many roles in the body. For example, they contribute to the synthesis of neurotransmitters and help convert food into energy (1).
Several studies have shown that vitamin B supplements riboflavin (B2), folate, B12 and pyridoxine (B6) can reduce headache symptoms (20, 21, 22). Taking these supplements in doses of 50-150 mg per day can be an effective and natural way to treat headaches.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 (2). In a study in 28 women, applying a cold gel pack to the head significantly reduces migraine pain (2). Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance naturally produced by the body that helps convert food into energy and functions as a powerful antioxidant (2).
Studies have shown that taking CoQ10 supplements can be an effective and natural way to treat headaches.Aged cheese, alcohol, chocolate, citrus and coffee are among the most commonly reported triggers in people with migraines (2). In a small study, a 12-week elimination diet decreased the number of migraine headaches people experienced. These effects began after four weeks (30).Caffeine improves mood, increases alertness and constricts blood vessels, all of which can have a positive effect on headache symptoms (3). It also helps to increase the effectiveness of common medicines used to treat headaches, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen (3).
However, if you suffer from frequent headaches it is important to take into account your caffeine intake (3).Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate specific points on the body (3). A review of 22 studies that included more than 4,400 people found that acupuncture was as effective as common migraine medications (3). Another study found that acupuncture was more effective and safer than topiramate, an anticonvulsant medication used to treat chronic migraines (3). Practicing yoga is a great way to relieve stress, increase flexibility, decrease pain, and improve overall quality of life (3).
A study investigated the effects of yoga therapy on 60 people with chronic migraines. Headache frequency and intensity were more reduced in those who received yoga therapy and conventional care compared to those who received conventional care alone (3). Another study found that people who practiced yoga for three months had a significant reduction in frequency, severity, and symptoms compared to those who did not practice yoga (3).A study involving 400 people who experienced migraine or tension headaches found that strong odors, especially perfumes, often trigger headaches (40). This hypersensitivity to odors is called osmophobia and is common in people with chronic migraines (4).
If you think you may be sensitive to odors, avoiding perfumes, cigarette smoke, and heavily scented foods can help lower your chances of getting migraine (4).Some studies suggest that taking feverfew supplements in doses of 50-150 mg per day may reduce the frequency of headache. However, other studies have not found a benefit (4). Several studies have shown that taking butterbur extract in doses of 50-150 mg reduces headache symptoms in both adults and children (4). However, petasite should be treated with caution since unpurified forms can cause liver damage and the effects of its long-term use are unknown (45, 46).
Nitrites can trigger headaches by causing blood vessels to expand (4) by releasing inflammatory substances (4).A study of 100 people with chronic migraines found that 250 mg of ginger powder was as effective as the conventional headache drug sumatriptan in reducing migraine pain (4). In addition, ginger helps reduce nausea and vomiting which are common symptoms associated with severe headaches (50).Another large study involving more than 92,000 people showed that a low level of physical activity was clearly associated with an increased risk of headaches (5). If you have more than 15 headaches a month you may have chronic headaches. Here's when you should see a doctor and everything about treatment.Drinking enough water can help prevent headaches or reduce their severity.
Water can help someone in this situation feel better although some studies are more cautious. A critical reading of a study published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice pointed out that drinking water did not reduce the time people had headaches but it did make them feel better subjectively.Herbal tea can be a useful way to add water to the diet while also enjoying the benefits of other natural compounds. Some herbal teas such as chamomile tea may even provide additional benefits such as reducing stress levels which can also help reduce headache frequency.
When Should You See A Doctor?If your headaches become more frequent or severe it is important to see your doctor. They will be able to diagnose any underlying conditions that may be causing your headaches as well as provide treatment options.
ConclusionHeadaches can be painful but there are ways to get rid of them naturally.
From drinking enough water to using essential oils or taking supplements there are many home remedies available. It is important to remember though if your headaches become more frequent or severe it is important to see your doctor.