ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Your Headache May Not Need a Painkiller - Natural Solutions to Common Causes of Headaches

Updated on March 25, 2014
Headaches can interrupt your daily routine and make it hard to concentrate.
Headaches can interrupt your daily routine and make it hard to concentrate.

Have a headache?

If so, think twice about automatically reaching for that bottle of painkillers. Many times, a headache is your body's way of telling you that something is wrong, and simply masking pain will not fix the underlying problem. Taking too many painkillers can also eventually lead to a tolerance, which means taking a higher and higher dose just to get the same effects you once achieved with a lower dose.

Fortunately, there are many causes of headache that are easily and naturally fixed. There is a time and place for painkillers, but before you take a dose, consider this list of headache causes and simple fixes:

Dehydration

Most people walk around dehydrated and don't even know it. A good measure (albeit a gross one) is to monitor the color of your urine. The color should be clear to a very light yellow (like that of lemon juice). If it is any darker than that, it's a good bet that you need to be drinking more water, and your body is trying to tell you that by way of headache. If you have trouble remembering to stop and drink water throughout the day, a recyclable water bottle is a great accessory to invest in.

  • Note: Not all liquids are considered equal when it comes to hydration. Caffeinated or alcoholic drinks can actually dehydrate you. Try to cut down on these types of drinks, or drink plenty of water afterwards to offset their dehydrating effects.

Sleep

Perhaps what your body is crying out for is more sleep. Most Americans are sleep deprived, which can lead to poor work performance, concentration issues, slower metabolism, and headaches. The amount of sleep needed can vary from person to person, and sometimes it's hard to tell when your body is wired to wake up at a certain time due to constant use of an alarm. A great way to find out your natural cycle is to sleep without any alarm for 3 straight nights and let yourself wake up naturally. This should break the alarm-clock cycle. On the 4th night, keep tabs of your sleep time. This will give you a more accurate reading of how much sleep your body is asking for. Note: If you are sleeping the appropriate amount of time and you are finding yourself waking up in the middle of the night, consider taking these precautions:

  • Avoid alcoholic "night-caps": Although night-caps may help you fall asleep initially, the eventual breakdown of the sugar from alcohol can wake you back up later on in the night.

  • Avoid using electronic devices while in your bed: Bright screens and exciting video content can fool your brain into associating your bed with sunlight and awake-time. If you need to have a calm-down period before you turn off your lamp, try a book.

Stretching Tips

  • Stretch Every Day - Stretching is not just for fixing temporary tension. Try to do a session of stretching every day of the week.
  • Static, Not Ballistic - Hold your stretch and relax into it. Do not bounce or swing to get a further stretch.
  • Do Not Force - If you are pulling or in considerable pain while stretching, back off and stretch at a level where you are comfortable. Stretching should never hurt.

Tension

Tension is caused by muscles that refuse to relax. And tension, even in remote parts of your body, can cause a ripple effect that irritates other areas of your body, eventually leading to headache. In any case, stretching and massage of these areas tend to provide some immediate relief. The following can provide some more permanent solutions:

  • Back and Neck - These areas tend to be the biggest trouble-makers and can be caused by a variety of issues:

  1. Sleeping posture - Check to make sure you are using a pillow that creates the right kind of head support for your sleeping style. Also, if you sleep on your side, try to prevent slumping by using a body pillow to keep your back straight and provide a place for your arm to rest. Otherwise, try sleeping on your back.

  2. Work posture - Many of us spend our work-day in the same position for extended periods of time. If sitting at a desk, make sure that you sit up straight. Check that you have at least 3 fingers-clearance between the bend of your knee and the edge of your seat and that your feet are in complete contact with the floor. When using a computer, the screen should be situated directly in front you without you having to look up or down at it. If working extensively on your feet, check for adequate arches and cushioning in your shoes.

  • Jaw - If you are experiencing jaw pain or tension, it is possible that you are clenching or grinding during the night. Make an appointment with your dentist to inspect for any evidence of these symptoms. A mouth guard may be required to reduce the severity of clenching symptoms. In addition, taking a daily dose of magnesium in the evenings after dinner can serve as a muscle relaxant and prevent clenching during the night.

Have You Eaten Recently?

And even if you have eaten recently, was it full of salt or sugar? What you may be experiencing is sugar crash or dehydration from high sodium content. Proteins or complex carbs are ideal for a snack to stave off hunger headache. If you are prone to these types of headaches, small packets of nuts are ideal for carrying around or storing in glove compartments.

Caffeine Addiction

If you are a regular coffee/tea drinker, you might experience a headache if you ignore your habit for more than a day or two. If you are attempting to drop the habit, you can experience mild to moderate headaches for 3 to 4 days.

Poll

What Cause of Headache Do You Most Struggle With?

See results

Next Steps

Although this is not an exhaustive list, if you have attempted to address all possible causes on this list and you are still experiencing a headache, painkillers may be the temporary solution. If headaches are consistently bothering you, however, consulting a health professional would be the next appropriate step.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)