According to doctors, there are six natural at-home remedies for headaches.

While many people seek relief from headaches with over-the-counter pain medications, it is possible to alleviate a headache without medication.

For instance, relaxation techniques, acupressure, and warm compresses are all examples of home remedies that can help alleviate headache symptoms.

What you should know about headaches and how to treat them naturally is listed below.

According to doctors, there are six natural at-home remedies for headaches. - Photo by Bermix Studio
According to doctors, there are six natural at-home remedies for headaches. – Photo by Bermix Studio

What is a migraine?

When you experience pain in your head or face, this is referred to as a headache. There are numerous types of headaches, each with its own unique cause, including the following:

Tension headaches frequently present as a dull, aching head pain and a tightness across the bridge of your nose. These are frequently brought on by stress.

Migraine headaches are characterized by a severe throbbing in one area of the head. These can also be a result of stress or exposure to strong stimuli in your environment, such as bright lights and strong smells.

Cluster headaches frequently present as severe pain behind the eye, much like migraine headaches.

Sinus headaches frequently cause pressure in the area of the forehead, cheeks, and eyes. This is typically a sign of nasal or sinus congestion, and may indicate the presence of a sinus infection.

The following are some simple home remedies for these types of headaches:

1. Apply a cold or hot compress to the affected area.

Cold compresses can be applied to the area from which the pain radiates, such as migraine headaches, according to Michael Devine, MD, an internal medicine physician and geriatrician with Devine Concierge Medicine, a primary care practice in Philadelphia.

Cold temperatures act as a numbing agent, which can help to alleviate pain. Additionally, they can constrict blood vessels, which may help alleviate migraines. You can make your own cold compress by freezing a damp towel for approximately ten minutes. Additionally, an ice pack would work.

According to Devine, heat is better suited for tension headaches, which frequently manifest as dull, aching head pain and a sense of tightness across the forehead.

Tension-related headaches are common, and relaxing stiff neck and shoulder muscles can help alleviate this type of headache. For instance, heat packs or a hot towel draped over the neck and shoulder muscles can aid in muscle relaxation.

2. Think about acupressure.

Acupressure is a technique that involves applying firm pressure to specific points on the body for one to two minutes at a time.

This is especially beneficial at the back of the neck or base of the skull, as it helps relax tension in the neck stabilizer muscles, which are frequently affected by tension headaches, Devine says. This is something you can do at home. For instance, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center recommends the following steps:

  1. Find the space on your left hand between the base of your thumb and index finger.This area is referred to as the pressure point LI-4, or Hegu.
  2. Press down on this point with your right thumb and index finger. While applying pressure, slowly move your thumb in a circle. You should be firm, but avoid self-injury.
  3. Repeat the process with your left thumb and index finger for another five minutes in the same spot on your right hand.
  4. 3. Familiarize yourself with relaxation techniques.

Relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises, can also aid in the management of certain types of headaches, particularly cluster headaches.

Cluster headaches, which frequently manifest as intense pain behind the eye, can frequently be relieved through deep breathing exercises, according to Devine. For instance, you can practice rhythmic breathing by taking long, slow breaths and gradually counting to five on each inhale and exhale.

Additionally, Devine notes that tension headaches and migraine headaches are frequently associated with stress. Yoga and meditation can be especially beneficial for these types of headaches because they help to relax the body and gradually reduce stress.

Note: For additional information, read about how to perform relaxation breathing exercises. Additionally, you can refer to our beginner’s guide to meditation.

4. Improve your diet

For some people, foods containing phenylalanine and tyramine may increase their frequency of migraine headaches.

Phenylalanine is an amino acid that is frequently found in the following:

  • Sucralose and saccharin
  • Foods containing MSG and nitrates, such as processed meats and hot dogs,

Tyramine is an amino acid breakdown product that is frequently found in:

  • Foods that have been smoked or fermented
  • Beverages containing alcohol contain
  • Parmesan and blue cheese, for example, are strong or aged cheeses.

Devine recommends eating three to four small meals throughout the day rather than one or two large meals to avoid headaches. Protein-and fiber-rich foods, such as almonds and cherries, may also help prevent headaches.

5. Maintain proper hydration

Increased water consumption—and avoidance of dehydrating beverages such as alcohol or coffee—can also help prevent headaches.

Devine recommends drinking an 8 to 16 ounce glass of water every two to three hours when a headache begins to develop, as migraines frequently respond well to this approach.

Quick tip: Learn more about the recommended daily water intake for optimal health.

Additionally, caffeine may be a cause of headaches, particularly if you used to consume it regularly but then stopped or reduced your intake. Caffeine is tricky because it can help with certain types of headaches, such as migraines, but it can also cause dehydration, which can cause headaches.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, alcohol can also trigger migraines, particularly if you are stressed or anxious. Additionally, alcoholic beverages can dehydrate you and leave you with a headache the next day.

6. Add vitamins or minerals to your diet.

Numerous vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies can be used to treat or prevent headaches, particularly migraines.

According to Devine, these natural remedies relieve headaches by increasing circulation, acting as an anti-inflammatory, delivering more oxygen to your tissues, relaxing your muscles, or providing direct pain relief.

For instance, Devine suggests the following: Magnesium, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10 Feverfew ChamomileMagnesium, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10

When to consult a physician

While home remedies and over-the-counter medications can help with headaches, Devine recommends consulting a physician to identify and treat the underlying cause of recurring headaches.

Migraine and tension headaches, for example, are frequently brought on by insufficient sleep, stress, poor circulation, eye strain, allergies, and poor dietary habits.

If you suffer from frequent severe headaches that interfere with your daily activities, you should consult a primary care physician or neurologist who can diagnose and treat any underlying conditions that may be causing your headaches.

Takeaway from an insider

Devine recommends getting six to eight hours of sleep per night, drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day, exercising for at least 20 minutes three to five times per week, and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet to combat frequent tension headaches or migraines.

With the help of these natural remedies, you may be able to quickly alleviate or even prevent headaches. However, if you suffer from headaches or migraines on a regular basis, you should consult your doctor, who may prescribe medication or work with you to make lifestyle changes.


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