5 Natural Headache Remedies
Pain is a real pain. But that annoying – and let’s face it, sometimes unbearable – pounding is pretty common. According to the World Health Organization, as many as three-quarters of adults between the ages of 18 and 65 suffered from headaches in the last year. Pain “can be classified as a primary disorder, such as migraine or tension headache, or as a secondary headache, which is caused by other causes, such as head trauma or stroke,” explains Jocelyn Bear, M.D., a board-certified neurologist. Colorado.
Not all headaches are the same. There are several types. Tension is one of the most common forms, affecting up to 70 percent of the population, and manifests as pressure-type pain located on both sides of the head. Migraines are also common, affecting 39 million people in the United States, and are severe, with throbbing pain on one side of the head, often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light or sound. Clusters, a rare type, involve severe pain on one side of the head, usually around the eyes or temples, and usually include symptoms such as drooping eyelids, redness or tearing of the eyes. and sinus, the pain is located in the cheek or forehead.
Adelene E. Jann, M.D., a headache medicine specialist and clinical assistant professor of neurology at New York University, says each headache variation has different triggers, “although common triggers include stress, weather changes, not eating, lack of sleep, dehydration and alcohol.” Langer Health. Regardless of which type you fall into, “any headache that comes on quickly – such as a ‘thunderclap’ – or is associated with neurological weakness or numbness on one side of the body symptoms, or associated with a high fever, should be evaluated urgently,” says Dr. Jain. “If the headache worsens over time, becomes worse and more frequent, begins to interfere with your day, or stops responding to over-the-counter treatments, then an evaluation by a physician should be considered.”
When it comes to pain relief, many people turn to over-the-counter medications. However, Dr. Bear says birth control pills can also be the culprit for chronic headaches. “If someone takes too many painkillers, they may develop a medication overuse headache – usually using the medication every day,” Dr. Jain explains. “The headache may improve for a short time, but then return when the medication wears off.”
The good news is that medications aren’t the only remedy. There are also many natural ways to alleviate headaches, depending on the type of headache you have. Here are five science-backed methods worth trying.
1. Increase hydration
There are many reasons to encourage people to drink water. It regulates your body temperature, keeps your joints lubricated, delivers nutrients to your cells, and makes your skin look radiant and youthful. It can also be a useful medicine for migraines. A study in the European Journal of Neurology showed that people who drank an extra 1.5 liters of water a day experienced fewer headaches over a two-week period and less intense headaches than those who took placebo migraine medication. What’s more, drinking enough water can also relieve headaches in as little as 30 minutes.
According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, your goal should be to consume 91 ounces of water per day, whether by drinking actual water or eating water-rich foods. And don’t forget to increase your amount when it’s hot outside, too. Research in the journal Neurology shows that for every 9-degree increase in temperature, the risk of migraines increases by nearly 8 percent.
2. Get enough sleep
We all know the consequences of not getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night: fatigue, poor mood, memory loss, weakened immune system, and more. The time lost between the sheets may also be the reason your head won’t stop pounding. According to a study in the journal Medicine, people who get poor quality sleep experience headaches more frequently. And, if you’re not getting REM sleep (about 60 to 90 minutes in your sleep cycle), your headaches may actually be more painful. To prepare for successful sleep and thus avoid headaches, try “adjusting your sleep schedule to get enough restorative sleep,” advises Dr. Bell. Other helpful tips: Turn off your smart devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime and limit your caffeine intake throughout the day. Here are more healthy habits for good sleep hygiene.
3. Sweat it out with exercise
Exercise may be the last thing you want to think about when a headache arises, but a little exercise can have a major impact. When you sweat, your body releases endorphins, dopamine and norepinephrine, all of which act as natural painkillers and modulate the body’s pain response, explains Michele Olson, CSCS, PhD, CSCS, senior clinical professor of exercise science at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala. “The effects of endorphins, dopamine and norepinephrine last about two hours,” Olson says.
How much time do you need? Just 40 minutes, according to a study published in the journal Cephalalgia. Sweating 3 times a week during this time caused the same response as people who took daily preventive migraine medication. It was also more effective in reducing migraines than those who tried relaxation techniques. You can also do a yoga pose. Not only is it a great way to improve flexibility and relieve stress, but three months of bending has been shown to be effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines.
One small warning: Exercise can also cause migraines. “In theory, this is due to the natural increase in blood pressure during exercise – especially weight lifting or ultra-high intensity aerobic exercise,” Olson says. However, in the long run, “maintaining regular exercise helps maintain lower, healthier blood pressure overall and helps relieve stress on a regular basis, preventing the many ways that pent-up stress can affect everything from the gastrointestinal system to headaches and anxiety.”
4. Get enough magnesium
Consider adding more magnesium to your diet, which can help prevent migraines, says Dr. Jain, which makes sense considering that about half of the U.S. population is deficient in the mineral, and studies have shown that people with lower magnesium levels often suffer from migraines. Studies have also shown that deficiencies “promote cortical diffusion inhibition, alter injurious processing and neurotransmitter release, and promote excessive platelet aggregation,” all of which play a role in migraine attacks.
While magnesium supplements are an option, you should consult with your doctor for guidance before taking a new supplement. It’s easier to try increasing your intake of magnesium-rich foods such as almonds, spinach and black beans. dr. Jann also says that riboflavin (B2), found in foods such as eggs, salmon, chicken breast, almonds and spinach, can also help. A study in the European Journal of Neurology confirmed this and noted that people who took 400 mg a day had 50 percent fewer headaches than those who didn’t.
5. Get away from your screen
These days, life revolves around our computer screens, whether it’s checking documents, browsing social media, or joining the 50th Zoom call of the day. problems, such as macular degeneration. But one of the more immediate symptoms is that the results can be headaches. To help avoid headaches, “it’s critical to invest in a screen protector for your computer or tablet,” says Dr. Hartl. You might also consider activating night mode on your computer, phone and tablet, “as night mode will reduce screen brightness and reduce eye strain in the process.” Taking breaks every 20 minutes can also help keep headaches to a minimum.