82 Tips on How to Get Rid of a Headache!

Learning how to get rid of a headache on your own can be very empowering.

No need to rush to the doctor or take a sick day, you now have the knowledge to fight off a headache attack.

You see, the key to headache relief, is knowing what to do in the first few minutes, before your headache turns into an raging inferno.

Below is a list of 129 tips, ideas and strategies, to help you win the battle over headache pain.

Remember, these are only suggestions and should not take the place of medical advice from your doctor.

If you feel that something more serious is going on, please do not hesitate to consult with your doctor.

Browse by Category: Click on any of the links below to jump to each category:

Holistic/Alternative Approaches

Over-the-counter and Prescription Drugs

Natural Headache Remedies

Headache Home Remedies

Simple Lifestyle Changes

Holistic/Alternative Approaches

1. Trigger Point Therapy

As a massage therapist, I'd have to say, I use this technique 90% of the time when I see clients for headache pain.

2. Chiropractic

Studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments can help with headache pain.

3. Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been found to be a reasonable treatment for chronic tension headaches.

4. Acupressure

5. Massage

Sometimes you just need to chill and massage is just the ticket.  No need for deep deep tissue here, just a nice firm massage should do the trick.  Remember, relax.

6. Yoga

Again, as with massage, you don't want to over do it.  This yoga session should be relaxing and nurturing, like the one on the video.

7. Deep Breathing

Before you start, you want to be aware of your breathing pattern, chest vs belly breather.

  • Now, exhale fully, bringing your stomach up and in.
  • Next inhale, taking the breath all the way to your belly.
  • Drop the tension in your shoulders, neck and face
  • You should feel your shoulders sinking down and your chest open up
  • Your forehead, your eyes, your jaw and tongue should all be relaxed

Use this calming technique throughout your day

8. Reflexology

Let's begin:

Point #1 GB-41: Locate it by feeling alone the top of your foot.  You should feel where the bones of your pinky toe and fourth toe.

Where they connect, they form a "V".  

Press there for 60 seconds.

Point #2 Temporal Area: Start at the top of your big toe and work your down.  

Continue this motion, top of your toe to the base of your toe for 60 seconds.  

Point #3 Point for the face: Rub from the base of your toe nail to the base of your toe.  Do this for 30 to seconds.

Point #4 Four Gates Tai Chong (LV-3) and He GU (LI-4)

Warning: Do not rub this point if you are pregnant!

Located on the top of your foot, between the bones of your big toe and second toe.  

Find where they intersect and hold this point for 60 seconds.,

Ok, let's move on to OTC and prescription drugs


Over the Counter (OTC) and Prescription Drugs

 9. Acetaminophen aka Tylenol (OTC)--Taken for pain relief.  No side effects if taken as directed

10. Aspirin (OTC)--Pain relief.  Can cause heartburn, GI bleeding and ulcers 

11. Fenoprofen aka Nalfon (PD)--Prescribed for tension headaches and migraines.  Can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness

12. Flurbiprophen aka Ansaid (PD)--Prescribed to tension HAs and migraines.  Can cause drowsiness and dizziness

13. Ibuprophen aka Advil, Motrin (OTC)

14. Ketoprophen aka Actron (PD)--Can cause nausea and vomiting

15. Nabumetone aka Relafen (PD)--Can cause constipation and heartburn

16. Naproxen aka Aleve (OTC)

17. Diclofenac aka Cataflam (PD)--Can cause upset stomach and bloating

18. Ketorolac aka Toradol (PD)--Can cause drowsiness and dizziness

19. Meclofenate aka Meclomen (PD)--Prescribed for tension headaches.  Can cause nausea and diarrhea 

20. Carisoprodol aka Soma9 (PD)--Prescribed for tension headaches.  And cause dizziness, drowsiness and nausea

21. Orphenadrine citrate aka Norflex (PD)--Prescribed for tension headaches.  Can cause drowsiness, dizziness and blurred vision

22. Methocarbamol aka Robaxin (PD)--Prescribed for tension headaches.  Can cause drowsiness, dizziness and darkened urine

23. Cyclobenzaprine HCL aka Flexeril (PD)--Prescribed for tension headaches.  Can cause dry mouth, dizziness and drowsiness

24. Metaxalone aka Skelaxin (PD)--Prescribed for tension headaches.  Can cause dizziness, drowsiness and nervousness

25. Onzetra Xsail is a nasal powder approved by the FDA to treat acute migraines

26. Gabapentin (PD)--Prescribed for migraine headaches.  May cause drowsiness or dizziness

When taking any medication, please follow the following tips:

  • Be sure to read the label, know what you're taking
  • Don't take more than what is recommended
  • Any doubt, check with your doctor

Natural Headache Remedies

27. Herbal Tea: Try ginger or chamomile 

Recipe:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1-2 slices lemon (optional)
  • 2 tsp Lemon or Lemon Raspberry Natural Calm


28. Flaxseed: Either in oil form or as whole seeds. flaxseed is rich in omega 3s, which help reduce inflammation.

29. Buckwheat, just like flaxseed, helps reduce inflammation in your body

30. Feverfew: Not only used for migraines, it's used for fevers, rheumatoid arthritis, toothaches, stomach aches and insect bites

31. Magnesium: The fourth most abundant mineral in our bodies.  Low levels are linked to:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Type 2 diadetes
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Migraine headaches
  • ADHD

Shot for 600mg a day 

32. Banana peel and ice: Place the banana peel on your forehead and the ice on top.  The compression from the ice and the potassium from the peel are working together 

33. Valerian Tea: The compounds in Valerian may have a sedative and relaxing effect on you.  This may lead to migraine relief. 

34. Rosemary: Anti-inflammatory

35. Cinnamon: Mix a glass of warm water, cinnamon and honey

36. Ginger Paste: Take the paste and rub it on your temples.  Leave it on for 3 hours

Ingredients: (makes approx. 2 cups)

  1. 1/2 lb fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  2. water, just enough to make a paste (if you use about 1/2 lb of ginger you will need approximately 1 cup water)


Method:

Add the water first in the blender (makes it easier to blend). Add the chopped ginger and blend it together in a blender until pureed and smooth.

Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for about 5-7 days.

37. Olive oil: Another anti-inflammatory, with many health benefits

38. HoneySeymour Diamond and Donald J. Dalessio in their book titled “the Practicing Physician’s Approach to Headache” record that 30 gm of fructose, when taken in the form of honey, can speed metabolism and reduce the frequency and intensity of headache.

Just take 2 tablespoons before each meal

39. Vitamin B2 aka Riboflavin: Take in pill form once a day

40. Butterbur: Usually taken in pill form

41. Water: Make sure you're getting enough water throughout the day.  Don't wait until you're thirsty and try to get it all in at once.  

42. Tiger Balm:

43. Dong Quai

44. Willow Bark: Used as an anti-inflammatory

45. Vitamin D and Calcium

46. Glucosamine Sulfate: May help with migraine pain, more research is needed.

47. Cayenne Pepper

48. Almonds: Rich in magnesium.  Some people who suffer from migraine headaches, may find almonds to be a trigger

49. Apple Cider Vinegar:

You will need…
-1/4 cup of ACV
-Roughly 3 cups of boiling water
-1 cup of fresh cool water

Directions…
Pour ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar into a large bowl, and then fill the bowl halfway with boiling water.

Place a towel over your head so that it drapes over the bowl, trapping the steam, and hold your face over it.

Make sure your face isn’t so close that it gets burned by the steam.

Do this for 5-10 minutes, or when the water starts to cool down, breathing in and out deeply the whole time. When you’re done, use the towel to pat your face dry, and go drink a glass of cool water.

50. Fish Oil: Studies have shown that an increase in omega 3s and a decrease in omega 6s, help decrease headache frequency 

51. Coenzyme Q10: A prolonged deficiency of CoQ10 can cause significant muscle pain as well as headaches.

52. Coriander Seed: This seed helps with inflammation

53. Lime Tree Oil (Linden): Used in tea form, may help with your headache pain.  Not much evidence though.

54. Raw Potato Cuttings: Can't make this stuff up.  Used in European folk medicine for over 200 years.  You just cut the potato and rub your temple with it?

55. Horseradish:  Its ability to narrow blood vessels may aid in treating migraines, but no clinical trials supports it's use.

56. Honeysuckle: Anti-inflammatory properties have benn discovered in the leaves, stem and flower of the plant.  It's believed that honeysuckle can give pain relief just like aspirin and may help migraine pain

57. Mullein (Verbascum): To treat migraines, spasms and diarrhea

58. Yarrow: A plant used to treat a host of things including headaches, wounds and inflammation.

59. Teaberry aka Wintergreen, known to have anti-inflammatory properties

60. Common Hops, a known sedative

61. Betony aka Chickweed, used around the world for headache pain

62. Evodia, the anti-inflammatory and pain reducing properties in the fruit, may help to ease your migraine pain.

Remember, always take caution and consult your doctor when using herbal remedies for headache relief.

Headache Home Remedies

63. Cold Neck Wrap: Worn around your neck for 30 minutes, has been shown to help headache pain

64. Ice Massage + Hot Bath: Sit in a warm bath (103 to 110 degrees) up to your neck for 20 minutes.  While sitting, rub your head for 5 minutes with a cold pack.  A study has shown this to reduce the intensity and frequency of migraine headaches.

65. Gatorade: Helps with rehydration

66. Steam: Helps to clear your nasal passages.  Just bring a pot of water to a boil and inhale.  Be careful not to burn yourself.  Add some essential oils like lavender to the mix.

67. Saline spray: Helps to keep your nasal cavity moist and helps with congestion

68. Use a netti pot for sinus headache

69. Jucing

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¼ pineapple
  • 2 chard (silverbeet) leaves and stems
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 in (2.5 cm) piece of fresh ginger

70. Grape Juice: contains vitamin C, riboflavin and B12, which was shown in clinical studies to help alleviate headache pain

71. Meditation

72. A foot bath: It's believed that the blood drawn to your feet while soaking in hot water, will help relieve the pressure in your head.  Soak your feet in a small tub filled with hot water and mustard powder for 30 minutes.

73. Lavender Lemonade

http://www.rd.com/health/conditions/headache-relief-without-drugs-natural-remedies/

74. Green apples: the scent of a green apple, may help reduce your headache pain.  

75. Eucalyptus oil: A couple of drops used on the temples and wrist.

76. Rose Otto Essential Oil: Again used on the temples and wrist. Can be expensive though.

77.  Cloves:  Either use fresh clove or clove oil and simply inhale a few times throughout the day.

Simple Lifestyle Changes

Certain things we do during the course of our busy days, can trigger a headache.

Here's a list of things you might want to look at and see if a subtle tweek might do the trick.

78. Avoid Food Triggers

Thyramine and Phenylethylamine: two amino acids fund in chocolate, aged cheese, soy foods, nuts, citrus fruits and vinegar

Caffeine

Aspartame: watch out for diet sodas, sugar-free candy and light yogurts.

MSG

Sulfites: found in red and white wine and dried fruits

Tannins: found in teas, red skinned apples, apple juice and cider and red wine

Nitries: found in hot dogs and deli meats


79. Get 8 Hours of Sleep: Your headache could be causing you to snore or your snoring could be causing your headache.  Headaches can be a result of lack of sleep.

80. Avoid caffeine 

81. Quit smoking: A study in the Journal of Headache and Pain showed that people who smoked more than 5 cigarettes a day, were likely to have a migraine headache

82. Avoid stress: Avoiding stress is easier said than done

83. Keep a headache diary: For years we've been telling our clients to keep track of their headache pain, how often they get one and what might be causing them.  But a study from       Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, suggests that this may be too difficult on your own.  They suggest that you should still see a doctor and have test run.

Resources

Headache. 2001 Feb;41(2):119-28. Efficacy of gabapentin in migraine prophylaxis. Mathew NT1, Rapoport ASaper JMagnus LKlapper JRamadan NStacey BTepper S.

Gröber U, Schmidt J, Kisters K. Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients. 2015;7(9):8199-8226. doi:10.3390/nu7095388.

http://ohmyveggies.com/natural-calm-lemon-ginger-tea-recipe-my-experience-using-magnesium-for-migraines/

Adel Pilerood S, Prakash J. Evaluation of nutritional composition and antioxidant activity of Borage (Echium amoenum) and Valerian (Valerian officinalis). Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2014;51(5):845-854. doi:10.1007/s13197-011-0573-z.

J Med Food. 2008 Dec;11(4):741-6. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2007.0524 Anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects of Rosmarinus officinalis L. essential oil in experimental animal models. Takaki I1, Bersani-Amado LEVendruscolo ASartoretto SMDiniz SPBersani-Amado CACuman RK.

http://www.ecurry.com/blog/condiments-dips-and-sauces/homemade-ginger-and-garlic-paste/

http://www.peashealth.com/category/olive-oil/

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/butterbur

Aust Fam Physician. 1996 Feb;25(2):216, 218, 220 passim. Tiger Balm as a treatment of tension headache. A clinical trial in general practice. Schattner P1, Randerson D.

http://www.pr.com/press-release/187077

Med Hypotheses. 2000 Sep;55(3):195-8. Glucosamine for migraine prophylaxis? Russell AL1, McCarty MF.

Phytother Res. 2015 Aug;29(8):1112-6. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5377. Epub 2015 May 22. Efficacy and Safety of White Willow Bark (Salix alba) Extracts. Shara M1, Stohs SJ2.

J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Jul 11;60(27):6694-702. doi: 10.1021/jf2044795. Epub 2012 Feb 17. Health benefits of almonds beyond cholesterol reduction. Kamil A1, Chen CY.

http://everydayroots.com/headache-remedies

Ramsden CE, Faurot KR, Zamora D, et al. Targeted alteration of dietary n-3 and n-6 fatty acids for the treatment of chronic headaches: A randomized trial. Pain. 2013;154(11):10.1016/j.pain.2013.07.028. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2013.07.028.

Continuum (Minneap Minn). 2015 Aug;21(4 Headache):973-89. doi: 10.1212/CON.0000000000000199. Preventive Migraine Treatment. Silberstein SD.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/07/06/migraines-headaches.aspx

Food Chem. 2015 Jan 15;167:24-9. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.06.120. Epub 2014 Jul 5. Evaluation of coriander spice as a functional food by using in vitro bioassays. Zhang CR1, Dissanayake AA1, Kevseroğlu K2, Nair MG3.

http://www.healthline.com/health/migraine-herbal-home-remedies-from-around-the-world

Phytother Res. 2005 Sep;19(9):733-9. Common mullein (Verbascum thapsus L.): recent advances in research. Turker AU1, Gurel E.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:893050. doi: 10.1155/2013/893050. Epub 2013 Dec 29. Antimutagenic Effect of Medicinal Plants Achillea millefolium and Bauhinia forficata In Vivo. Düsman E1, de Almeida IV1, Coelho AC1, Balbi TJ1, Düsman Tonin LT2, Vicentini VE1.

Molecules. 2014 Dec 8;19(12):20498-20520. Polyphenolic Profile, Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Eastern Teaberry (Gaultheria procumbens L.) Leaf Extracts. Michel P1, Dobrowolska A2, Kicel A3, Owczarek A4, Bazylko A5, Granica S6, Piwowarski JP7, Olszewska MA8.

Acta Physiol Hung. 2012 Jun;99(2):133-9. doi: 10.1556/APhysiol.99.2012.2.6. The sedative effects of hops (Humulus lupulus), a component of beer, on the activity/rest rhythm. Franco L1, Sánchez CBravo RRodriguez ABarriga CJuánez JC.

Sprouse-Blum AS, Gabriel AK, Brown JP, Yee MH. Randomized Controlled Trial: Targeted Neck Cooling in the Treatment of the Migraine Patient. Hawai’i Journal of Medicine & Public Health. 2013;72(7):237-241.

64. Sujan MU, Rao MR, Kisan R, et al. Influence of hydrotherapy on clinical and cardiac autonomic function in migraine patients. Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice. 2016;7(1):109-113. doi:10.4103/0976-3147.165389.

69. http://www.rebootwithjoe.com/a-juice-that-helps-a-headache/

70. Shaik MM, Gan SH. Vitamin Supplementation as Possible Prophylactic Treatment against Migraine with Aura and Menstrual Migraine. BioMed Research International. 2015;2015:469529. doi:10.1155/2015/469529.

71. Behav Med. 2015 Apr 11:1-8. [Epub ahead of print] Effect of Different Meditation Types on Migraine Headache Medication Use. Wachholtz AB1, Malone CDPargament KI.

72. http://www.rd.com/health/conditions/headache-relief-without-drugs-natural-remedies/

74. Headache Quarterly 1998;9:159-163.

75. Cephalalgia. 1994 Jun;14(3):228-34; discussion 182. Effect of peppermint and eucalyptus oil preparations on neurophysiological and experimental algesimetric headache parameters. Göbel H1, Schmidt GSoyka D.

79. Cephalalgia. 1990 Aug;10(4):157-60.  Sleep deprivation headache.  Blau JN1.

American Academy Of Neurology. "Snoring Linked To Headaches." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030422080309.htm>

81.. López-Mesonero et al. Smoking as a precipitating factor for migraine: a survey in medical studentsThe Journal of Headache and Pain, 2009; 10 (2): 101 DOI: 10.1007/s10194-009-0098-2

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