Home Remedies for Migraine Headaches
I think it is quite possible that I have tried every single home remedy for headaches known to man. I have suffered from New Daily Persistent Headache for close to 5 years now, and I've investigated every home remedy, herbal supplement and natural treatment I could find to reduce the pain.
Eat a habenero pepper while hanging upside down? I'll try it. Spin around 7 times chanting "I do not have a headache, I do not have a headache." Sure. Why not. If it will keep me from having to take the best that medical science has to offer - medications that can cause me to randomly bleed internally or drop dead instantly or even worse...gain 30lbs in 30 days....I'll give a whirl.
Some work a little.
Many don't work at all.
Some feel nice but do nothing to stop the agony of a migraine headache.
What I have learned over time is that what works wonders for me, may not work at all for you. If you want to get rid of your pain without damaging your body further with the use of powerful and often harmful medications, then it is worth the effort to try every last home remedy out there, no matter how ridiculous or absurd it may seem!
Just for the record, I have never hung upside down while eating a habanero pepper, though it sounds kinda fun.
Most people suffer from headaches at some point in their life. A stress headache will usually go away with a little care and good night's sleep. Other headaches take more to shake off. Certain types of headaches (such as Clusters and New Daily Persistent Headache) don't respond well to the medications of choice, and sufferers search endlessly for a home remedy or natural solution to their pain. Many migraine patients would rather take the natural road and avoid the potentially dangerous side effects of migraine medications -both preventative drugs and pain releivers have significant risks when taken long term.
The Power of Peppers
Headache Home Remedies
What are the options? Are there home remedies for headaches and migraines that actually work? You won't know unless you give them a try. Every body reacts differently to these remedies, so you may find something that works wonders for you, but has failed me miserably!
- Drink more water. Dehydration can quickly cause a headache or even trigger a migraine. You may not even realize that you are dehydrated until you get a headache. Always make sure that you are drinking enough water throughout the day to avoid triggering a headache from dehydration.
- Hot compress. Moist heat works best. Apply a warm compress to your shoulders and neck area if the muscles feel tight or sore.
- Cold Compress. Depending on your preference (many prefer a warm compress) you can apply a cold compress to your neck, shoulders or directly to your forehead or over the eyes.
- Drink caffeine. Many migraine patients are told to quit caffeine in an attempt to eliminate the headaches. Often, caffeine can actually stop a headache. Try drinking a cup of coffee as soon as you feel a migraine coming on. If it is early in the day, you can even try having an espresso! Many people swear this works at stopping their headaches as fast as the most popular medications.
- Tie a headband around your head. Although there is no scientific evidence to back this up, many people are convinced that this will stop a headache.
- Aromatherapy compress - Make a compress using Peppermint, Lavender or Eucalyptus oil. The scents could help you relax and ease the pain.
- Capsaicin - This is my personal favorite. You can get capsaicin as a nose spray or a supplement that you can take daily, but when I have one of my high pain days, I will go so far as to eat jalapenos (OK, I admit to loving the taste), spicy chili or anything with enough capsaicin to set off the endorphins in my body. It is also available as a cream that can be rubbed on achy joints.
- Guarana - In Brazil, guarana is a popular headache remedy that is even an ingredient in soft drinks. It contains caffeine.
- Ginseng is thought to relieve stress, decrease tension in the body and therefore alleviate headache pain. It is widely available in various forms. Be sure to purchase a high quality brand to ensure that you receive the full benefits.
WVU Health Report on Headache Remedies
Home Remedies to Prevent Headaches
If you suffer from chronic headaches, whether they are migraine or tension headaches, you will certainly want to make an effort to prevent them or at least decrease the frequency. Although your doctor may prescribe a daily preventative medication to reduce your chronic headaches, be aware that they may have negative side effects that will impact your overall health long term.
- Learn to relax. Managing your stress level is crucial to maintaining your health and preventing stress headaches.
- Magnesium -taken as a supplement in a fairly large dose is thought to reduce the intensity of chronic headaches and migraines. Popping a magnesium supplement isn't going to stop your headache in it's tracks, but it may reduce how often you are assaulted by a migraine, if you take your supplement daily.Recommended dosage starts at 400 milligrams per day, but speak with your doctor first.
- Exercise. Getting regular exercise can keep your body in balance and keep your pain levels under control. A brisk walk in the fresh air can help reduce your over all stress levels.
- Stretch and breathe. Try taking a gentle yoga class that is designed for relaxation. This type of yoga class will help you stretch your muscles in a safe and effective way and reduce the tension in the headache triggering muscles of the upper back, neck and shoulders. Talk to your yoga teacher before class. Certain yoga poses can help alleviate your head pain, while others may actually make the pain worse. If you suffer from neck and shoulder pain, avoid poses like shoulder stands and plow.
- Try taking herbal supplements such as ginger, feverfew (derived from the chrysanthemum family of flowers) or butterbur.
- CoEnzyme Q 10 - This supplement has been shown (in two recent studies) to be helpful in the prevention of migraine. It is thought to reduce the frequency of headaches. A daily dose of 150-300 mg is usually recommended, but speak with your doctor or nutritionist first.
EFT Technique for Migraine Headache Relief
Using home remedies to ease the pain of headaches can be somewhat effective, but they are not a substitute for professional medical care. Proper diagnosis of your type of headache will be necessary if your problem is chronic.
If you choose to avoid conventional medicine altogether, be sure you find a fully qualified alternative medicine practitioner, who has completed a thorough course of study and obtained all proper licenses.
If you have a headache that comes on suddenly and does not go away, that you would describe as "the worst headache of your life," consult a doctor immediately. This could be a sign of a more serious condition.
More on Headaches
- Cluster Headaches
Cluster headache is the most dramatically painful of all known headache types. They are also known as suicide headaches due to the high rate of suicide among sufferers. If you, or some one you love is...
- New Daily Persistent Headache
This is the story of my 3 year struggle with daily migraine quality headaches. Included are resources for further explanation, where to find support, and possible alternative treatment options.