The best natural cure for headaches stops your pain at the source. These headache home remedies help you solve your headache problem and prevent it from happening again.
Do you hate headaches? Me, too. It’s so hard to do anything when your head is pounding.
Dr. James Balch says most headaches are from tension, although there are several other causes you'll discover in this article, along with their headache home remedies.
Almost one quarter of Americans suffer from migraines – which are vascular headaches, rather than tension headaches. That’s about 80 million migraines. Ouch!
The New York Headache Center says…
…“many patients will not have a significant improvement in the frequency and severity of their headaches unless lifestyle modifications are made…”
With that in mind, here are 7 types of natural cure for headaches…
Ginger root has been used for centuries to relieve tension headaches. Like willow bark and skullcap, it is anti-inflammatory, which helps because whenever you have pain, you'll have inflammation.
There are two types of Skullcap - American and Chinese - which have different properties. Both are a natural cure for...
...but they each treat a variety of other conditions as well.
There was a concern a few years ago that Skullcap damages your liver, until it was discovered that the herb had been mixed with Germander, another herb that caused the liver toxicity.
Regardless, always look for a reputable source of herbs. If you have concerns about safety, consult a qualified herbalist.
Peppermint is a natural cure for headaches in two ways:
1) Headaches can often be caused by an overloaded liver from alcohol, chemical toxins, drugs or a high-sugar diet. Peppermint helps your liver work better by enhancing the flow of bile.
2) Rubbing a mixture of 10% peppermint oil and 90% ethyl alcohol on your forehead, temples or along your hairline will stop a headache in about 15 minutes according to this study. Do not apply undiluted peppermint oil directly to your skin.
Ethyl alcohol (ethanol) is not the same as rubbing alcohol. You can buy it as pure grain alcohol in a liquor store. I'm guessing a hard liquor like vodka would also work, since it is ethanol and water.
Willow bark is a traditional pain killer (analgesic) sometimes called "Nature's aspirin" because it is just as effective at reducing inflammation and pain.
So why not just take an aspirin? The University of Maryland says that with willow bark, the dose you need is smaller and the effects last longer.
Willow contains salicin, so don’t use this natural cure for headaches if you react badly to aspirin or other salicylates. Some people have stomach distress from willow bark (just like aspirin), especially if it’s taken on an empty stomach.
Water is one of the very best headache home remedies. Why?
Because “…pain is a sign of water shortage in the body…” says Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, who did world-renowned research on the connection between water and health.
Apparently, when you’re dehydrated, your brain actually shrinks inside your skull, triggering pain receptors. Ick!
If you have a headache or feel one coming on, drink a big glass of water – and then keep on sipping throughout the day. Never mind whether or not you “feel thirsty.” Most of us can’t tell when we need water until we’re very dehydrated.
When your urine is yellow, dark yellow or orange instead of very pale, you’re dehydrated.
Dr. B. recommends drinking 2-4 quarts of water daily. Other experts suggest you drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day.
Frankly, most of us don’t drink anywhere near that much water. Instead, we’re gassing up on coffee, sodas, tea, chocolate drinks, alcohol and other beverages that dehydrate or toxify us. No wonder we have headaches.
Good quality filtered water is important, too. When your water is full of chemicals like chlorine and fluoride, it increases the toxic load on your liver and can increase your headache.
Besides being a natural cure for headaches, water helps with depression and constipation – two conditions which sometimes accompany chronic headache. Dr. B. says staying hydrated keeps you young, too.
Personally, I like to add mineral drops to my water to boost my electrolytes. Medical News Today says that electrolytes regulate your body’s hydration, so they’re extremely important minerals. You can also add a quarter teaspoon of Himalayan salt to your glass of water to restore your electrolyte levels.
One of the reasons you have a tension headache is from sitting or standing in the same position for long periods of time – usually hunched over – in front of the computer or phone, while driving, or whatever.
When your breathing is shallow and the muscles in your neck, shoulders and back don’t have a chance to move, there won’t be much blood and oxygen flowing to that area – or to your brain. That’s a recipe for pain and tension.
To release the muscle tension in your head, neck and upper back that can cause headaches, try a natural cure for headaches from this list...
Do neck and shoulder rolls to get the blood moving to those areas again. Breathe deeply.
Massage your shoulders, neck, and the back of your head along the occiput (base of your skull.) Massaging your whole head is a good idea, too. Remember to breathe deeply.
Put hot and cold packs on your neck. If you’re at work, bring along a washcloth. If you start getting a headache from neck stiffness, go into the washroom and use the washcloth to alternate between putting hot then cold water on your neck. Do this a few times to get the circulation flowing. You can do the same thing (gently) with the washcloth over your eyes to relieve eyestrain.
Do some yoga. I find doing Downward Dog, Upward Dog, and forward bends with hands clasped behind my back relaxes my neck and shoulders. These asanas also get you breathing more deeply and wake up the muscles, bringing more blood flow and oxygen to the upper back. Other poses that are headache home remedies: upward and downward Cat, Cow pose, Spinal Twist – either lying down or seated, neck stretches, Plough. Remember to breathe.
Loosen up your hips. Here’s a curious thing: if your hips are tight, your shoulders will be, too. So stand up and circle your hips a few times in one direction, then the opposite. Loosen them up. Let your whole body follow the movement. This should start to relax everything all the way up your spine to your head.
Jump on a mini-trampoline or rebounder. This will really stimulate your breathing and circulation even if you only bounce gently. It helps to loosen up those tense muscles. Remember to breathe!
Mind your posture and the angle of your head. This is the simplest natural cure for headaches, yet one that’s often ignored.
Do you spend several hours a day with your head bent down to look at the screen of your laptop or smart phone? This is a very common cause of headaches, neck and shoulder pain because of the strain on your neck muscles. I used to have daily headaches from this.
What helped me was getting a separate flat screen monitor for my laptop so I can look straight at it instead of down. What an improvement!
Obviously, you’re not going to have a separate monitor for your phone, but you can take frequent breaks to do some of the movements listed on this page to protect your neck and avoid headaches. Pay attention to how you sit and stand. Your head is heavy and it's meant to be balanced at the top of your spine.
Headaches can be caused by eyestrain, especially if you have been staring at the computer screen or cell phone all day.
A great natural cure for headaches from eyestrain is Palming – a simple, relaxing technique you can do right at your desk.
You gently place your cupped hands over your closed eyes to block out all the light. Keep them there for a few minutes. Even one minute of this eye relaxer will help. Rub your hands together first to warm them and generate some healing energy in your palms.
The beauty of Palming is that it helps to relax those hard-working muscles around and inside your eyes, as well as your optic nerve, which gets way too much stimulation when you’re glued to the screen all day.
Palming helps you sleep better, too, because it quiets your nervous system and relaxes you when you're stressed.
Speaking of which…
I don’t know about you, but I find that sleep deprivation can easily give me a headache.
Harvard Medical School says three of the most common reasons for headaches are lack of sleep, fatigue, and stress.
The natural remedies for this type of headache are:
Headaches can be caused by a drop in blood sugar. One friend who had his own company would sometimes work through lunch or not eat because he didn’t have time to go out and buy something during the work day. Then he’d finish work with a headache that would last all evening.
Natural cure for headaches from low blood sugar:
In my experience, the easiest and best way to stabilize your blood sugar so you don’t get headaches and other health problems is to eat the Paleo diet.
Years ago, when I was visiting a pregnant friend, she complained of headaches that began a few days earlier. She’d recently bought a chemical air freshener that was sitting in the living room. Once she threw it out, the headaches vanished.
You don’t have to be pregnant or work in a plastics factory to have a headache from chemical toxins. Some of us get headaches just from walking down the cleaning products aisle at the grocery store.
So if you’ve had headaches from toxins, like my friend, watch out for...
Don't leave old paint cans or other renovation materials sitting around in your basement. Store them somewhere that is away from your household air supply.
Your natural cure for headaches is to choose natural and unscented products. Men, that includes you – watch out for that heavily scented aftershave and deodorant. Even if you think it doesn’t bother you, it might give your girlfriend a headache.
Getting rid of chemical toxins in your home – especially in your bedroom – will reduce fatigue and help you sleep better to keep you headache-free.
Not to belabour the point, but freeing yourself from chemical toxins is an incredibly important natural cure for headaches that will impact all aspects of your health and longevity.
Some headaches are caused by medical problems, injuries to the head, or drug reactions, so if you suspect a bigger problem than tension, see your doctor.
This article from Harvard Medical School explains types of headaches and when you might need medical attention.
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Palming relieves headaches from eyestrain. It's also a great natural remedy for insomnia because it relaxes your whole nervous system.
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