Top 10 Natural Tips to Stop a Headache

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Top 10 Natural Tips to Stop a Headache

When you have a headache—whether it’s a tension headache, a cluster headache, or a migraine—you just want relief. It’s no wonder people turn to heavy-duty medications to get rid of a headache. After all, the pain can be debilitating.

Headaches don’t just cause that telltale pain behind the eyes or in the back of the head. A headache can also come with nausea, fatigue, and all-around misery.

10 natural tips for headache relief

But medication isn’t the only way to treat headaches. If you’re wondering how to get rid of a headache without drugs, read on. We’ll dig into the science behind essential oils for headaches, supplements for headaches, mind-body practices for headaches, and more.

These 10 tips will help you halt your headache, keep the pain at bay long-term, and improve your overall health and well-being.

man pouring water in his kitchen

If you start feeling a headache coming on, drink lots of water. Dehydration is a major cause of headaches.

Tip 1: drink plenty of water

It’s a well-known fact that dehydration can cause all kinds of headaches, including tension, cluster, and sinus headaches. Some research even suggests it could play a role in migraines. (1)

The good news is dehydration has a simple fix—water. The research we just mentioned found that students suffering water-deprivation headaches found quick relief by drinking water. (1)

Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pint of cure! Drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated and keep dehydration headaches from striking in the first place.

Tip 2: prioritize sleep for headache prevention

As anyone who has ever pulled an all-nighter knows, sleep loss and headaches go hand-in-hand. Turns out there’s plenty of science behind this common knowledge.

According to an article in Neurology Reviews, sleep problems may contribute to headaches in a number of ways. (2) It could be that when we lose out on deep REM sleep, our serotonin levels drop, causing a headache. Or it could be that the decreased melatonin that can cause sleep loss is to blame. After all, people with cluster headaches have been shown to have low melatonin levels. (3)

Whatever the mechanism, it’s clear that poor sleep is at the root of many headaches. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to get good, deep sleep every night. If you’ve tried everything and still you wake up feeling like you hardly slept at all, talk to your doctor. You could be suffering from sleep apnea, which is another common headache cause.

Tip 3: take magnesium for migraines and tension headaches

Magnesium is one of the best-studied natural treatments for migraine. Three decades ago, researchers found that brain levels of magnesium tend to be low during a migraine. (4) Since then, several studies have looked at the role of magnesium in migraines. It turns out that taking magnesium every day can be a game-changer for migraine sufferers. It reduces the frequency, duration, and severity of migraine attacks. (5)

Magnesium for other types of headaches is less well-studied, but some evidence suggests it can be helpful for tension-type headaches as well. (6)

Try making a daily habit of eating foods rich in magnesium, like almonds, avocados, spinach, and legumes. For an even simpler way to get headache relief, magnesium oxide supplements are safe, convenient, and effective. Dosages between 400 and 600 mg can help, though some studies used even higher amounts. If you start noticing digestive troubles, lower your dose. (7) If you are unsure, consult with your healthcare practitioner.

two people in child’s pose

Practicing yoga poses, such as the child’s pose may relieve headaches.

Tip 4: do these 5 headache-halting yoga poses

It makes sense that yoga—which is well-known for reducing stress and tension—can be the perfect remedy for a tension headache. But research also shows that yoga may help improve migraines as well. (8) If you suffer from headaches, these five yoga poses are most recommended:

  • Child’s Pose
  • Reclining Bound Angle Pose
  • Bridge Pose with Bolsters
  • Legs Up the Wall Pose
  • Corpse Pose with Chair

Either try these poses at home or make time to go to a yoga class nearby. Many local recreation centers offer them for free or for a small fee, and yoga studios can be found in just about every town.

Tip 5: shut down the screen

More time looking at a screen means more migraines, according to research. (9) But screen exposure can lead to another type of headache too.

Staring at a screen for long periods of time may be part of your everyday routine, but it can also cause eye strain, which often shows up as a headache.

The solution? Shut down your screen and pick up a book instead. According to the Mayo Clinic, screens cause more eye strain than printed materials. That’s because we blink less while looking at screens, they have glare, and we tend to look at them at the wrong angle or distance. (10)

Tip 6: meditate

Like yoga, meditation is well known as a tension-buster. So it’s not surprising that many people find headache relief when they start incorporating meditation into their daily routine.

Did you know?
Research shows that even kids can benefit from meditation for headache relief! (11)

Meditation has other health benefits too. The best part? You can meditate anywhere for any amount of time and reap the benefits. No equipment—or medication—necessary.

Tip 7: try biofeedback for headaches

Biofeedback sounds oddly sci-fi, but it’s actually a really useful way of exerting control over your health. With biofeedback, you learn to identify your body functions so that you can then learn to change them.

Biofeedback has been shown to help people with both tension headaches and migraines. (12)(13) How? By teaching people to recognize changes that happen in their bodies when they have a headache, and then to curb those changes.

Butterbur extract

Butterbur extract is an herbal relief for headache management.

Tip 8: use butterbur for herbal headache relief

Several herbs have been studied for headache relief, but only one is so effective that it earns the endorsement of both the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society. Research shows that using 50 to 75 mg twice daily of the butterbur extract Petasites hybrids significantly reduces the frequency of migraine attacks. (14)(15)

Tip 9: use these essential oils for quick headache relief

When it comes to essential oils, it’s sometimes hard to separate fact from marketing hype. But for headaches specifically, there are two popular essential oils that do have real science behind them.

The first and probably most popular headache-relieving essential oil is peppermint oil. Research shows that peppermint oil has pain relieving properties and can help increase blood flow. When used for headaches, it can promote relaxation and reduce pain sensitivity. (16)

The second headache-helping essential oil is lavender. Research shows that inhaling lavender essential oil for 16 minutes reduces the severity of migraine headaches. (17)

Other benefits of essential oils are that they can help promote sleep, which is essential to headache-free health & they promote brain health!

Tip 10: identify your headache triggers

If you really want to get to the root of your headaches and stop them for good, one of the best things you can do is find the hidden cause of your pain. Headaches can be caused by anxiety and stress, triggering foods, or even food allergies. If you want to stop headaches for good, work with your integrative practitioner to identify the source of the problem—and then eliminate it.

The bottom line

There’s plenty of headache relief available that doesn’t require taking medication. These simple tips will halt your pain quickly and get your head back in the game of feeling good. Consult with your healthcare practitioner if you have questions about headaches and headache relief.

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