Talk about gender bias.
Three out of four of the nearly 30 million Americans who suffer from migraines are women.
The reason may have to do with a woman’s menstrual cycle, but triggers can also include alcohol, weather changes, stress, food and lack of sleep, said Dr. Brian Grosberg, assistant professor of neurology and director of Inpatient Headache Program at Montefiore Headache Center in Bronx, N.Y.
Nonetheless, there are therapies you can try at home to relieve your migraine pain, Grosberg said.
And the best thing about these remedies? They aren’t gender-specific.
1. Drink water
“Dehydration can be a big cause of headaches,” Grosberg said.
2. Drink caffeine
Caffeine is a double-edged sword – it can help and hinder headaches.
“Caffeine can restrict blood vessels, it can lessen pain, it’s a constituent of some pain over-the-counter pain medicines, but it can also trigger headaches for some people,” Grosberg said. “If someone uses caffeine excessively, it can cause a rebound headache, making existing headaches worse.”
3. Tying a headband around the head
Grosberg said this is a practice that’s been done since ancient times, and he’s not sure how it came about, but some people claim it works.
4. Fish oil
Enthusiasts claim that fish oil reduces inflammation and works by restricting the blood vessels in your temples. Grosberg said there’s no sound evidence, but he recommends trying it.
5. Peppermint oil
Rub it on the part of your head that hurts.
“There’s been no literature to support this, but again, people say it works,” Grosberg said.
6. Eat ginger or take ginger capsules
“No one really knows how this works either,” Grosberg said. “It clearly reduces nausea, but other than that …”
Grosberg said this has been studied and when taken in doses of 400 to 600 milligrams per day, magnesium is effective for menstrual-associated migraines and migraines associated with auras.
The downside: Magnesium may cause diarrhea, if you take too much, Grosberg said.
8. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
In doses of 400 milligrams a day, vitamin B2 can also act as a preventative for migraines, Grosberg said. It can cause some people to urinate more frequently or have darker urine, so the dosage may have to be adjusted.
Grosberg said that taking 300 milligrams per day has proven to be effective in reducing head pain. The downside: It can be expensive.
The most effective “natural medicine,” Grosberg said, is called butterbur, or petasites.
Butterbur is a plant grown in Germany, and extensive studies have proven that in pill form, it is very effective in treating migraine pain and asthma, as well as alleviate upset stomachs. Butterbur is safe, although it can only be ordered online.
11. Cold (or hot) compress
This is another remedy that no one knows why it works, but it some swear by it.
“It’s hard to study something like that,” Grosberg said. “It can have a placebo effect, or it can have a distracting effect on the patient. But a lot of patients swear by it.”
Whether you try one or all of these at-home remedies, Grosberg said you should still keep a headache diary to monitor what works and what doesn’t, and what triggers your headache. This will assist your doctor in treating you.
“Overall, the less medicines you take, the better,” he added.
- 10 Natural Ways to Reduce Migraine Symptoms
- 1. Avoid hot dogs
- 2. Apply lavender oil
- 3. Try acupressure
- 4. Look for feverfew
- 5. Apply peppermint oil
- 6. Go for ginger
- 7. Sign up for yoga
- 8. Try biofeedback
- 9. Add magnesium to your diet
- 10. Book a massage
- The takeaway
- Pressure Point LI-4 (Hegu)
- 10 quick and easy home remedies for headaches
- Fast Headache Relief
- 9 Natural Remedies For Headaches That Work
10 Natural Ways to Reduce Migraine Symptoms
Migraines aren’t typical headaches. If you experience them, you know you may experience pounding pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. When a migraine strikes, you’ll do almost anything to make it go away.
Natural remedies are a drug-free way to reduce migraine symptoms. These at-home treatments may help prevent migraines, or at least help reduce their severity and duration.
Note: Severe migraines may require treatment with prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Talk to your doctor about a treatment plan that works for you.
1. Avoid hot dogs
Diet plays a vital role in preventing migraines. Many foods and beverages are known migraine triggers, such as:
- foods with nitrates including hot dogs, deli meats, bacon, and sausage
- cheese that contains the naturally-occurring compound tyramine, such as blue, feta, cheddar, Parmesan, and Swiss
- alcohol, especially red wine
- foods that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer
- foods that are very cold such as ice cream or iced drinks
- processed foods
- pickled foods
- dried fruits
- cultured dairy products such as buttermilk, sour cream, and yogurt
A small amount of caffeine may ease migraine pain in some people. Caffeine is also in some migraine medications. But, too much caffeine may cause a migraine. It may also lead to a severe caffeine withdrawal headache.
To figure out which foods and beverages trigger your migraines, keep a daily food diary. Record everything you eat and note how you feel afterward.
2. Apply lavender oil
Inhaling lavender essential oil may ease migraine pain. According to 2012 research, people who inhaled lavender oil during a migraine attack for 15 minutes experienced faster relief than those who inhaled a placebo. Lavender oil may be inhaled directly or applied diluted to the temples.
3. Try acupressure
Acupressure is the practice of applying pressure with the fingers and hands to specific points on the body to relieve pain and other symptoms. According to a 2014 systematic review, acupressure is a credible alternative therapy for people in pain from chronic headaches and other conditions. A separate study found acupressure may help relieve migraine-associated nausea.
4. Look for feverfew
Feverfew is a flowering herb that looks like a daisy. It’s a folk remedy for migraines. According to a 2004 systematic review, however, there’s not enough evidence that feverfew prevents migraines. Still, many people claim it helps their migraine symptoms without side effects.
5. Apply peppermint oil
The menthol in peppermint oil may stop a migraine from coming on, according to a 2010 study. The study found that applying a menthol solution to the forehead and temples was more effective than placebo for migraine-associated pain, nausea, and light sensitivity.
6. Go for ginger
Ginger is known to ease nausea caused by many conditions, including migraines. It may also have other migraine benefits. According to research, ginger powder decreased migraine severity and duration as well as the prescription drug sumatriptan, and with fewer side effects.
7. Sign up for yoga
Yoga uses breathing, meditation, and body postures to promote health and well-being. Research shows yoga may relieve the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraines. It’s thought to improve anxiety, release tension in migraine-trigger areas, and improve vascular health.
Although researchers conclude it’s too soon to recommend yoga as a primary treatment for migraines, they believe yoga supports overall health and may be beneficial as a complementary therapy.
8. Try biofeedback
Biofeedback is a relaxation method. It teaches you to control autonomic reactions to stress. Biofeedback may be helpful for migraines triggered by physical reactions to stress such as muscle tensing.
9. Add magnesium to your diet
Magnesium deficiency is linked to headaches and migraines. Studies show magnesium oxide supplementation helps prevent migraines with aura. It may also prevent menstrual-related migraines.
You can get magnesium from foods that include:
- sesame seeds
- sunflower seeds
- Brazil nuts
- peanut butter
10. Book a massage
A weekly massage may reduce migraine frequency and improve sleep quality, according to a 2006 study. The research suggests massage improves perceived stress and coping skills. It also helps decrease heart rate, anxiety, and cortisol levels.
If you get migraines, you know the symptoms can be challenging to cope with. You might miss work or not be able to participate in activities you love. Try the above remedies and find some relief.
This information explains how to use acupressure to reduce pain and headaches.
Acupressure is an ancient healing art that’s based on the traditional Chinese medicine practice of acupuncture. With acupressure, you put pressure on specific places on your body. These places are called acupoints. Pressing these points can help release muscle tension and promote blood circulation. It can also relieve many common side effects of chemotherapy.
You can do acupressure at home by using your fingers to apply pressure to different acupoints. Watch this video or follow the steps below to learn how to do acupressure to reduce pain and headaches.
Pressure Point LI-4 (Hegu)
Figure 1. Finding the space between your
left thumb and index finger
Pressure point LI-4, also called Hegu, is located between the base of your thumb and index finger. Doing acupressure on this point to relieve pain and headaches.
- Using your right thumb and index finger, find the space on your left hand between the base of your left thumb and index finger (see Figure 1).
- Press down on this point for 5 minutes. Move your thumb in a circle while applying pressure. Be firm, but don’t press so hard that it hurts.
- Repeat the process on your right hand.
You can do acupressure several times a day, or as often as needed for your symptoms to go away.
To learn about other therapies available at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK), call the Integrative Medicine Service at 646-888-0800 or visit our website: www.mskcc.org/IntegrativeMedicine.
10 quick and easy home remedies for headaches
Whether it is because of ‘Monday blues’ or due to our hectic lifestyle schedules, pounding skull is always difficult to manage. While many people rely on medicated formulas to treat headaches, depending on some home remedies is always proven to be effective.
We bring to you a few home remedies that will ensure speedy recovery and help in the prevention of headache.
One of the common reasons of headache and even migraine is lack of water in our body. Properly hydrating yourself plays a significant role in our well-being. Hence, keep yourself well hydrated. You should have ample amount of fluids which may include fresh juices, water, coconut water. Avoid over consumption of caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee as these drinks contribute to dehydration.
Follow a balanced diet
Our body requires all type of vitamins and minerals. And deficiency of any essential nutrient could take a toll on our health. Hence, it is important to have a balanced diet. One should also have food at the right time as delay in any meal could make your health suffer.
Proper functioning of our brain requires glucose and absence of glucose could cause hypoglycaemia, which in turn, results in headache. So, follow a proper and healthy diet and also increase your body’s metabolism.
Another effective way to treat and even to prevent headache is to sleep for 7 to 8 hours every night. Lack of sleep could disrupt your healthy lifestyle and can be responsible for various diseases. You may feel stressed out due to interrupted sleep which may become the reason for your throbbing skull.
Take a nap
When you feel stressed or out of energy, relax and close your eyes. This will help in releasing tension and pressure from your body and can help in preventing headache. You should also avoid to exert yourself physically.
Head massages are indeed helpful but massage should be done with gentle hands. Apply gentle pressure to the painful area with your index finger or thumb. Massaging your head helps in relieving the tightened muscles and improves blood circulation.
Take a hot shower bath
This is another effective way to treat headache. Wash your head with luke-warm water and let it run down on your neck and back. It will alleviate the muscle tension and improve blood circulation.
Headache is generally a result of stress and tension. And if it is a minor headache, simply smiling and laughing can cure it. The ‘feel-good’ hormones will release the chemicals in your brain that will help in curing headache.
Your body requires rest in case of any illness. Even a milder headache needs relaxation of muscles and easing tension. Just close your eyes and relax for some time.
Breathe in and breathe out
This technique is great to relieve stress and tension. And if done in fresh air, it is one of the best practices to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Avoid any stressful situation
If you experience any stressful situation, try to divert your attention. Distract your mind and concentrate on something that soothes your mind and body. Opt for various stress busters as they help in treating headache!
Fast Headache Relief
For those who suffer from frequent or recurring headaches, doctors sometimes recommend prescription-strength doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Indomethacin, an NSAID that is available only by prescription, is “usually used for arthritis, but can also be very useful as a headache treatment,” Dr. Rozental says. “Indomethacin’s downside is that it is among the drugs most likely to cause gastric irritation,” including stomach ulcers and bleeding.
These prescription drugs are sometimes used to treat migraine headaches:
- Butalbital, a barbiturate often used in combination with acetaminophen, caffeine, aspirin, and/or codeine
- Narcotics, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, or codeine
- Butorphanol, a narcotic nasal spray
Unfortunately, the risk with many of these prescription drugs is that they can lead to substance abuse and dependence, Rozental says. Butorphanol, in particular, “should be avoided because of its very high propensity to cause dependence after even minimal use,” he explains.
Frequent use of any pain reliever, including OTC drugs, can also cause what are known as rebound or medication-overuse headaches, says Rozental. To treat this type of headache, all pain-relieving medications must be stopped for at least three months. If you’re consistently taking large doses of OTC medications to treat recurrent headaches, talk to your doctor about your symptoms.
Headache Treatment: Tips to Cope
Fortunately, many headaches can be at least partially alleviated without medication, which will help minimize your need for pain relievers and reduce your risk of rebound headaches. Here are some tips for headache relief:
- Close your eyes and rest. This is an effective headache treatment for a migraine headache, and can help ease a tension headache as well. Sit in a quiet, dark room with your eyes closed and just relax for a bit. “Patients with migraine instinctively seek out a dark, quiet environment in which they can go to sleep for at least a few hours,” Rozental says. “Sleep frequently diminishes or eliminates the pain.”
- Massage your neck and temples. Rubbing your neck and temples can improve blood flow and soothe tension headaches.
- Warm up your neck Try putting a heating pad or a warm cloth around your neck and the base of your skull to ease tension headaches. If that doesn’t help, you can apply an ice pack instead to see if that brings you headache relief.
- Relax. Meditate, breathe deeply, and try to visualize a peaceful image. “Various relaxation techniques can significantly help patients who suffer from ‘muscle contraction’ headaches,” says Rozental.
- Minimize stress. If you have a bad headache, try to step away from stress, literally. Avoid noisy environments, leave work a little early if you can, or ask your partner to take care of chores or the kids.
- Watch what you eat and drink. What you put into your body can have a big impact on your headaches. Rozental advises limiting caffeine and alcohol and avoiding cigarettes. He also says regular meals are important, especially for people who get headaches from low blood sugar. “Do not skip meals, particularly breakfast,” he urges.
A headache can certainly put your activities on hold until you’re feeling better, but getting the right treatment can help you feel better, faster. Instead of trudging through your day with a headache, take time out to care for yourself. Medications can get your head to stop pounding, but a little relaxation and time for yourself can also help.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve started experiencing headaches and migraines more and more frequently. They don’t usually go away on their own, but I know it’s not good for your health to take painkillers on a regular basis. So in order to treat my headaches without causing more problems, I’ve tried out a variety of natural remedies. I’ve found that natural remedies can usually help me kick minor-to-moderate headaches, which helps me feel better about the times when I need to take medication for a severe headache or migraine.
I’ve found plenty of natural methods that can help relieve the pain of headaches, so I thought I’d share some of those with you today! Give one of these a try the next time you feel a headache coming on, and find out what works for you. (And if you have a great natural remedy for headaches that I haven’t mentioned here, I’d love to hear about it! Share your remedy in a comment at the bottom of this post, and we can keep the discussion going.) 🙂
9 Natural Remedies For Headaches That Work
Essential oils with a “cooling” or anti-inflammatory effect can provide quick relief from a troublesome headache. I like to put a couple of teaspoons of fractionated coconut oil into a little roll-on bottle, and then add a few drops each of both peppermint and lavender essential oils. Then I give it a shake, and roll it on my forehead, temples and neck. Ahh, sweet relief! 🙂
2. Ginger Tea
Crush up an inch of ginger root and add it to boiling water. This homemade tea reduces inflammation in about the same amount of time as it would take an aspirin to work. Ginger tea has been used for centuries in Asia to treat a number of ailments.
3. Capsaicin Cream
The active ingredient in capsaicin cream is actually cayenne pepper! It works by temporarily blocking nerve pain signals. Apply a small amount to the inside of your nostril that’s on the side of your head where you are experiencing pain.
Past studies suggest that feverfew, a supplement from the sunflower family, may be effective for treating migraines. It is thought to work by reducing inflammation, which takes pressure off the nerves and can help prevent migraines.
5. Epsom Salt Bath
Frequent headaches and/or migraines are one of many symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Many of your body’s vital functions depend on magnesium, but many people don’t get enough of it in their diet. An easy way to get more magnesium is by taking a relaxing epsom salt bath! Get all the details from my post about the subject below.
Related: The Power Of The Humble Epsom Salt Bath
6. Hot & Cold Compresses
Both heat and cold can provide headache relief, oddly enough. Wrap an ice pack (or a bag of frozen veggies) in a thin towel and apply to your head. Or you can apply heat to the back of your neck with a hot shower, bath, or heating pad. Heat also helps to loosen up the muscles that tighten with tension headaches.
Related: How To Make Your Own “Chillow”
7. Avoiding Eyestrain
Staring at a computer screen for long periods of time is sure to leave your head aching. The most important thing you can do to avoid eyestrain is to take frequent breaks. Get up at least once every 15 minutes, and focus your eyes on something that is at least 20 to 30 feet away. Another tip for avoiding eyestrain is to adjust the brightness and the contrast on your monitor to lower levels. You should also have your monitor at eye level, and keep it at least 18″ away from your face.
Exercise increases blood circulation which can help to relieve a headache. And if you’re exercising outside, the fresh air can also be beneficial! Exercise benefits and relaxes the whole body, so most sufferers of tension headaches experience marked relief with the addition of exercise.
9. Staying Hydrated
One of the most common causes of run-of-the-mill headaches is dehydration. A lot of people don’t drink enough water, and a headache is one of the most obvious warning signs. Drinking at least 4-6 glasses of water every day will prevent a lot of headaches!
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Hi, I’m Jillee!
I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!
Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!