Top 10 Natural Headache Remedies
Today’s busy lifestyle can cause frequent headaches that we tend to overlook or mask with a painkiller. However, have you thought that your headache can be a sign that your body lacks something? You might need to change your diet, drink more water, or you need rest. You may have a food sensitivity or lack of certain nutrient or vitamin.
Headaches can be caused by various reasons like allergies, stress, alcohol, fatigue, drugs, hormones, low blood sugar, constipation, eyestrain, nutritional deficiencies, etc.
You need to change something in your lifestyle or diet in order to overcome your headaches in a healthy and natural way. For that purpose, we present you the following 10 headache remedies.
Top 10 Remedies for Headache
First and most important, magnesium is an effective and much safer option than a regular painkiller. Headache and migraine sufferers often have magnesium deficiency. Some studies says that magnesium can lower the frequency of migraine attacks in those with lack of magnesium.
People with heart disease, diabetes, alcoholism, and those on blood pressure diuretics are prone to low levels of magnesium.
Magnesium can prevent the cortical spreading depression, a wave of brain signaling, which produces the sensory and visual changes typical when experiencing a headache or migraine. This mineral can block the chemicals that transmit pain in the brain. It can also enhance the platelet function which help our body respond to injuries and prevent bleeding.
You can lower the frequency of your headaches by taking 200-600 mg of magnesium. Both, intravenous and oral magnesium are widely available, inexpensive, and extremely safe so even pregnant women can use it. The most frequent side effect is diarrhea which can be solved by lowering the magnesium dose or taking it less frequently.
Eat more fiber if you like to increase your daily magnesium intake. Some dietary magnesium sources are seeds, nuts, whole grains, beans, and vegetables such as leafy greens, squash, and broccoli. Chocolate, meats, coffee, and dairy products also contain decent amounts of this important mineral.
2. Gluten-Free Diet
If you are gluten intolerant but you still eat foods containing gluten, you can experience headaches. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness explain that people with undiagnosed migraines and celiac disease have noted significant improvements in terms of severity and frequency of the headaches, and even their complete resolution after cutting off gluten.
Your headaches might not be caused by celiac disease, but a gluten sensitivity. In such case, you can just cut back on your daily intake of gluten, instead of giving up of gluten completely. Eliminate gluten for a period of 3 weeks, and then gradually introduce foods with gluten in your diet.
In this way, you will see your reactions to the different levels of gluten and discover your happy balance. You will learn how much gluten your body can tolerate without experiencing side effects.
3. Lavender & Peppermint Essential Oil
Both, lavender and peppermint oil provide numbing and calming effect, making them ideal means for relieving headaches.
The common use of lavender oil is as a sedative and mood stabilizer. According to a research, this oil is an effective and safe treatment of migraine headaches. A 2012 study involved 47 participants who were supposed to inhale lavender oil for 15 minutes. They recorded the effects every 30 minutes, for a period of 2 hours. 92 out of 129 recorded headache attacks responded to this lavender oil remedy.
Applying peppermint oil on the skin provides long-lasting cooling effect. According to a research, this oil stimulates a significant raise in the blood flow to the forehead, and alleviates muscle contractions. A study proves that when combining with ethanol, peppermint oil lowers the headaches sensitivity.
As you can see, both of these essential oils are extremely effective in relieving headaches, so place few drops of each oil into your hands and rub the mix on your temples, forehead, and back of the neck. In case the smell of the blend is too strong for you, combine it with coconut, grapeseed, or almond oil. If you choose coconut oil, you will gain further benefits such as decreasing wrinkles, moisturizing skin, and balancing hormones.
4. Chiropractic Care & Posture Lumbar Spine Anatomy
Chiropractic care is a surgery- and drug-free way to heal naturally. Just like antioxidants, a chiropractor can lower the oxidative stress in the body. When free radicals are in higher number than antioxidants in the body, they cause damage to all body cell components: DNA, lipids, and proteins. This damage is in fact oxidative stress.
Headaches can be treated with spinal manipulation therapy, as noted by several clinical trials. In one such study, 90% reduction of headaches was reported by 22% of the people who have undergone chiropractic manipulation; on the other hand, 49% of the participants noted significant reduction of the headache intensity after being exposed to chiropractic treatment.
Spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustments helps to reduce the stress of our system. According to studies, it lowers tension and migraine headaches. A study conducted by the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College involved 729 participants with frequent headaches. 613 of them undergone a chiropractor care and they reported to have obtained well to excellent results. This indicates that this treatment is an effective headache remedy.
5. Herbs: Butterbur & Feverfew
Another natural way to relieve your headache is using the tension-easing herbs butterbur and feverfew.
The herb called butterbur lowers the inflammatory effect of chemicals that cause migraine headaches. Since it functions as a beta blocker, in improves the blood flow to the brain. You will obtain the best headache-reducing effects by taking 75 mg of the herb twice a day.
A four-month research done at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine was conducted on migraine sufferers, and showed that the frequency of migraine attacks was lowered by 48% in those who consumed 75 mg of butterbur two times a day. This proved butterbur as an effective remedy for reducing the frequency and intensity of headaches.
Feverfew leaves are used in the production of medicines. According to researches, consuming this herb lowers the headache symptoms (sensitivity to noise and light, nausea, pain, and vomiting) as well as the frequency of migraine headaches.
The School of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Science, U.K have made a systematic review by comparing the outcomes of 6 studies. They have discovered that feverfew is an effective and safe method to prevent migraine headaches. Feverfew products are widely-available and they are produced from dry leaves of this herb.
You can find dried, freeze-dried, or fresh feverfew supplements. It can be find it the form of tablets, capsules, or liquid extracts. The recommended dose of feverfew extract for treating headaches is 50-100 mg.
6. B-Complex Vitamins
Migraine sufferers might lack neurotransmitters like serotonin, and many B vitamins take part in the formation of these neurotransmitters. But huge number of Americans have deficiency of one or more B vitamins, which might lead to foggy thinking, unhealthy blood cell and adrenal effects, energy slumps, and headache symptoms.
B-complex vitamin contains the following 8 water-soluble vitamins: riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin B12, folate, pantothenic acid, and biotin. Together, these vitamins enhance brain cells, immune function, circulation, and cardiovascular health.
Since these are water-soluble vitamins, vitamin B overdose is extremely rare. If your body contains some extra amount of vitamin B, it will eliminate it through urine. According to studies, vitamin B2 decrease the duration and frequency of migraines, and vitamin B3 opens up blood vessels thus improving the blood flow and calming vascular headaches. If you take one B-complex vitamin every day, you will notice all sorts of health benefits, and not just headache relief.
One study on psychological strain and mood related to chronic work stress recorded the effectiveness of 2 forms of high-dose vitamin B complex in a 3-month period. The trial involved 60 participants, and the researchers evaluated their personality, mood, work demands, strain, and anxiety.
The participants who were treated with vitamin B complex felt significantly better in comparison with those from the control group. They had drastic reduction in the personal strain, confusion and depressed mood after a period of 12 weeks. These results proved that B-complex vitamins effectively treat the mood and psychological strain of chronic work stress.
7. Stay Hydrated
Alcohol, sugary drinks, and coffee have dehydrating effects on us, so it’s naturally to leave us with severe headaches. Many Americans are not drinking enough water, and water is a natural remedy to relieve headache symptoms and pain, as well as to keep us energized and full. Another way to stay well-hydrated is to consume fruits and vegetables with high content of water (up to 90% of their content). Some of them are:
- green peppers
Headaches can be caused by deprivation of water, and this is confirmed by a research at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. Although this cause of headache is not described in medical literature, it’s well known to the public. The research shows that water-deprivation headaches can also cause irritability and impaired concentration. The next time you feel a headache approaching, drink plenty of water!
8. Detox Bath
Besides cleaning your body, a detox will eliminate the toxins in your body that might make you sick. This is another great way to prevent headaches. To effectively eliminate the toxins from your body, use as hot water as you can handle, and then sit in a cooling water. To increase your detox bath’s capacity to relieve tension, consider the following combinations:
In a hot bath water, add a cup of baking soda. This ingredients destroys bacteria, makes your skin smooth and clean, and reduces the skin irritability.
Add lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, or sandalwood essential oil to your bath. These oils have calming, soothing, cooling, and invigorating qualities which will remove any tension from your body.
In a hot bath water, add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar. The apple cider vinegar will draw the excess uric acid out of your body, providing relief from gout, joint pain, headache, and arthritis. You can also add this vinegar in your hot bath water to heal poison ivy, soothe sunburn, tone your skin, and kill fungus.
9. Stretching and Moving
Headaches and body tension can appear as a result of extended period of sitting in one position, like at your computer or desk. A lot of people spend hours peering at their phones in a position that puts an extra 20 to 30 pounds of pressure on their neck, resulting in huge tension headaches.
A simple way to avoid these headaches is to make 30-60 minutes breaks, during which you will make stretch and move your neck and head in circular movements. In this way, you might prevent headaches and relieve the built up stress. One excellent way to relieve accumulated tension is doing yoga.
This practice will loosen your muscles and clear your mind, improve your vitality, respiration, muscle strength, and circulation. The next time you fell a possible headache, try several yoga poses like the child’s pose or downward facing dog.
In 2012, the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Finland has conducted a research which included 60 women whom was given a 12-month stretching program. The results showed 69% reduction in headache symptom intensity and frequency. When the women added muscle strength and endurance exercise to their routines, they showed even better results.
10. Cayenne Muscle Rub
One of the most surprising headache remedies is cayenne pepper. It can reduce the acidity and stimulate the circulation in your body. It contains capsaicin which is excellent for treating inflammation and pain. Cayenne depletes the substance P, a neuropeptide in the body that makes us feel pain, by stimulating pain reaction in a different part of the body.
If there’s lack of substance P, we will have pain relief as the pain messages won’t make it to the brain. Topically applied cayenne relaxes the muscles and relieves headache symptoms. Most American households use cayenne pepper only as a spice, but ancient Chinese, Native Americans, and people from other parts in the world use it for therapeutic reasons, besides for flavoring their food.
Homemade Muscle Rub
You will need 20-30 minutes, and the following ingredients will make a mixture enough for 30 treatments.
- 1/4 cup of grated beeswax
- half a cup of coconut oil
- 2 tsp. of turmeric or ginger powder
- 2 tsp. of cayenne powder
- 15 drops of lavender essential oil
- 15 drops of peppermint essential oil
- glass jar
Pour the coconut oil and beeswax into the glass jar. Pour 2 inches of eater in a saucepan, and put it over medium low heat. Put the glass jar in the saucepan and stir well so that the contents can melt. Add the turmeric/ginger and cayenne powder. Mix well, and when the mixture cools slightly, add the essential oils. Mix once again, and pour it into storage containers or metal tins, and allow to set.