With headaches being the second-most-common form of chronic pain - behind back trouble - most people tend to get them on occasion. And depending on what type of headache you are experiencing, the pain can vary from a slight annoyance to a severe, skull-crushing distraction.
Different types of headaches include: tension (pain mostly in forehead or back of head), sinus (pain in the face, specifically at the bridge of the nose and cheeks), cluster (sharp pain around the eyes or the side of the head), and migraine (often centered in the temples or eyes, with moderate to severe pain).
Common causes of headaches include things like lack of sleep, a drop in blood sugar, and stress. But, you can also consume headache-inducing substances like MSG, aspartame (artificial sweetener), and excessive caffeine.
If you find yourself starting to get a headache, first put away or turn off all of your devices - including the TV, your laptop, and your phone. Then, try one of these home remedies to find some quick relief.
Cinnamon, a miracle spice, can treat headaches, and all you have to do is grind some sticks into a powder and then add water to make a thick paste. Then, you apply it to your forehead and temples before lying down for a few minutes. All you have to do is wash it off with water when you are done.
Ginger can also provide instant relief and ease the pain by reducing inflammation of blood vessels in the head. It also can stimulate digestion which can help curb any nausea you might get from migraines. Simply steep ginger root for tea and drink up, or make a paste with ginger powder and water to put on your forehead.
Another natural headache treatment is basil, and you can use it in a few different ways. Place three or four fresh basil leaves into a cup of boiling water and let it simmer before adding honey, then sip slowly. Chewing fresh basil leaves can also help, as well as inhaling the steam after boiling basil in water.
Rosemary or thyme essential oils can also relieve pain by simply putting a drop or two on your temple or forehead and rubbing it gently into the skin.
If you are suffering from a migraine, placing an ice pack on the back of your neck can give you some relief by reducing inflammation and giving you a numbing effect. Or, try soaking your feet in hot water to get rid of the pain. If your headache is severe, try adding some hot mustard powder to the water.
Another simple solution is to put a washcloth in ice-cold or hot water and placing it over your head.
The refreshing scent of peppermint oil can help open up clogged blood vessels, and it also contains menthol which will help regulate blood flow. Breathing in the aroma in a cool, dark room can help bring you some relief. Also, mixing three drops of peppermint oil with a tablespoon of almond oil or a bit of water and massaging it to the back of the neck or temples can help the pain.
Lavender oil is also a great way to alleviate headaches, and all you need to do is put a couple of drops on a tissue and inhale. A foot bath of lavender oil and hot water can also relax you because it draws blood to your feet. Just make sure not to take lavender oil orally.
Stretching your head and neck can reduce a headache's intensity, and all it takes is moving your chin up and down, then left to right, and finish up with bending your neck to the side towards each shoulder.
Slowly rotating your neck clockwise and then counterclockwise will also help your neck and shoulder muscles to relax.
If you can, find a quiet, dark place to relax and take a break for at least 30 minutes. Turn off the lights, shut the curtains or blinds, then lie down and focus on your breathing. Make sure your head has proper support, so you don't increase tension in your neck, and be sure to avoid bright light because that will make the pain worse.
If you are suffering from a tension headache, massaging the face and scalp can help relieve tension and improve circulation, which can help reduce the pain. Starting with your thumbs on your temples, use firm pressure and move them in a circular motion all the way to your forehead.
For a sinus headache, try gently massaging the bridge of your nose.
You can also hop into a hot shower and give yourself a long scalp massage while shampooing your hair, or a dry option is to put some coconut or argan oil on your fingers and massage it into your scalp.
While these home remedies will help you get rid of your headache as quickly as possible, prevention is obviously the best cure. Exercising at least three times a week is important, and adding some yoga moves to your workout will boost relaxation. Yoga combines your physical posture with meditation and breathing exercises, so it helps to stretch your muscles, get your mind focused, and drop tension.
Also, be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, get plenty of sleep, limit exposure to scented products, and set up your workspace to be ergonomically correct. All of these things can contribute to reducing headaches.
What you put in your body can also have a big impact, so limiting alcohol and caffeine and avoiding cigarettes will make a huge difference. And of course, if your headaches persist, be sure to go see your healthcare professional.
Dentists can help with common sources of headaches like abscesses, post-extraction infections, tooth decay, or jaw misalignment. Opticians can help you find out if you need glasses and if eye strain has been causing headaches. And, an ENT specialist could also help with infections or problems with your ears, nose, and throat.
The good thing is that most headaches are harmless and caused by factors in your lifestyle. So, if you make a few changes like adjusting your posture, doing some regular stretches, and limiting exposure to electronics, you can significantly reduce your chances of getting a headache all by yourself.