7 ways to beat a headache naturally
Before you reach for pills, try these natural remedies
Throbbing, stabbing, blinding, crushing, hellacious... these are a few of the words we commonly use to describe a headache – plus others we choose not to repeat! Headaches strike for all kinds of reasons, and usually when you can least afford the downtime. So, when the first telltale signs appear, go into immediate damage control with these non-drug fixes. They might do the trick while helping you identify underlying reasons.
What makes it ache?
That awful feeling comes on when the tissues and nerves surrounding the brain become irritated or inflamed by a ‘trigger’ and begin to spasm or contract over the skull. People have different triggers, but the most common are either physical or mental, sometimes self-induced. Check yourself for the following:
- Hunger, thirst, dehydration
- Eye strain – staring too long at screens, needing a new eyewear prescription
- Hangover – too much alcohol and not enough water can lead to dehydration and a killer headache
- Poor posture at work, at home or while driving.
- Jaw clenching, dental problems
- Stress, anxiety, depression
- Monosodium glutamate sensitivity (MSG) - MSG is a flavour enhancer used in cooking and many processed foods
- Sinus infection, allergies
- Insufficient sleep
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Medication overuse - continually relying on either prescription or OTC meds to control acute headaches can result in the drugs becoming less effective over time and lead to ‘rebound’ headaches creating a catch 22 situation.
Inhale essential oils
Try peppermint, rosemary, lavender or eucalyptus essential oils. Breathe in slowly and deeply.
Sip ginger tea
To make your own, add two to four tablespoons of grated ginger to three cups of boiling water and simmer for 20 minutes. If you need sweetness, add a little raw honey to your cup.
Mix one-quarter of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper with two tablespoons of warm water. Dip a cotton bud in the solution and dab just inside each nostril.
Drink water to zap it
Dehydration will bring on a headache in double time. Restore your hydration levels by sipping on water for the rest of the day.
Ease your hunger
Hunger could be the reason behind your headache. Try protein, wholegrains and healthy fats before reaching for sweets.
Soothe with heat
Increase blood flow to constricted areas such as neck and shoulders. A hot water bottle or microwaveable wheat-filled pack are great.
Fresh air and a change of pace and scenery can work wonders.
Annie Millar is a Beauty Expert with more than 30 years experience in the Beauty Industry. Her qualifications include Life Coaching, Makeup Artistry, Beauty Therapy and Secondary Teaching. She is currently the Beauty and Lifestyle Editor for Better Homes and Gardens magazine.