Traffic jams… tight schedules… work problems… family demands! The stresses of everyday life can give us all a throbbing headache from time to time, but popping painkillers isn’t the only way to escape the nagging thump. In fact, quite a few home remedies have been proven effective in relieving the pain and tension associated with headaches, and they will cost you little to nothing. What’s more, they are 100% natural and come with zero side effects. The next time your head feels like it might explode, try one (or all) of the following methods.
Massage and Constrict
You see that web of skin connecting your forefinger to the base of your thumb? It’s a well-known acupressure trigger point that when stimulated can ease pain and pressure in the head. In a circular motion, firmly massage it for five to seven minutes. Then, switch over to the other hand and repeat. Do this until the headache pain dissipates. Before you start massaging away, tie a necktie or bandanna (or another similar item) around your forehead, tightening it until you can feel some pressure. Doing this will reduce blood flow to your scalp, which can help relieve the pain.
Heat and Cool
This may sound a little strange, but immerse your feet in a bowl of hot water. Keep them in for fifteen to twenty minutes. The hot-water soak will draw blood to your feet and relieve pressure on the blood vessels in your head. If the headache is quite intense, add a tablespoon of dry mustard powder to the water. This is said to draw toxins from the body and boost lymph and blood circulation. If you’ve got a tension headache, a hot compress on the forehead and/or back of the neck should help, which you can follow up with a cold compress in the same areas.
Try Some Herbs
Herbs have long been used for their medicinal properties, and herbs like ginger and basil make good natural headache remedies. Ginger is particularly helpful, as it affects the hormone-like prostaglandins within the body that contribute to inflammation. Half a teaspoon of freshly ground ginger stirred into a glass of water should do the trick. Alternatively, create a paste by mixing a teaspoon of dry ginger powder with two tablespoons of water and apply to the forehead. If you prefer the basil remedy, add three leaves to a cup of boiled water and sip. Mint works, too.
Prevention Is Always Best
Knowing how to treat headaches is great, especially if you can do so naturally. But if you identify your headache triggers, you can take the steps needed to avoid them altogether. Common triggers include dehydration, stress, sleep deprivation, and certain foods (such as alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine). Other causes include medication, physical activity (even sex), incorrect posture, glare (your computer screen, sunlight, overhead lights, etc.), and noise. Note that frequent headaches can be a sign of an underlying disease, so see your health care provider if you get them often.