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 homemade headache relief:
Close your eyes and rest. This is an effective treatment for headaches associated with migraine, and it can help ease a tension headache as well. Sit or lie down 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. Sleep frequently diminishes or eliminates the pain.
Practice a relaxation technique. Meditate, breathe deeply, and try to visualize a peaceful image. Various relaxation techniques can significantly help patients who suffer from ‘muscle contraction’ headaches.
Apply heat or ice. Applying heat or ice to sore muscles may help relieve a tension headache or dull the pain of a migraine, according to the Mayo Clinic. For heat, use a heating pad set on low, a hot-water bottle, a warm compress, or a hot towel. A hot bath or shower may also be helpful. For cold, wrap ice, an ice pack, or frozen vegetables in a cloth to protect your skin.
Give yourself a massage. Massage eases muscle tension, and sometimes alleviates headache pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Gently massage your temples, scalp, neck, and shoulders with your fingertips, or gently stretch your neck.
Drink a caffeinated beverage. In small amounts, caffeine can alleviate migraine pain in the early stages or enhance the pain-reducing effects of OTC medication, according to the Mayo Clinic. But don’t overdo it: Drinking too much caffeine too frequently can lead to withdrawal headaches.
Self-Care Tips to Prevent Headaches
You can also practice the following self-care tips to prevent headaches and migraine attacks before they start:
Watch what you eat and drink. What you put into your body can have a big impact on your headaches. We advise 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. It’s also important to eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to a headache, and a chronic lack of sleep — caused by sleep apnea, for example — can cause headaches. If you snore or suspect you have sleep apnea, see a doctor for help.
Minimize stress. Managing your daily stress and keeping it under control can help prevent headaches, according to Mayo Clinic.
Keep a food journal. Keeping track of the foods you eat and when you have migraine attacks can help you identify your potential food triggers, such as aged cheese, chocolate, caffeine, or alcohol, according to Mayo Clinic. If you think a certain food or beverage is triggering your migraine attacks, cut it out of your diet to see what happens.
Exercise regularly. Exercise releases chemicals in your body that block pain signals to the brain and can help prevent tension headaches and migraine attacks, according to the Mayo Clinic. But start slowly; overdoing it with vigorous exercise can trigger some types of headaches.
Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity also increases your risk of chronic headaches, so maintaining a healthy weight can also help you manage migraine, according to Mayo Clinic.
Consider taking supplements. Supplements like riboflavin (vitamin B2), coenzyme Q10, and magnesium (if your level is low) may help prevent migraine attacks, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Butterbur is an herbal remedy that some people take to prevent migraine attacks, but it may not be safe for long-term use. Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.