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Simple ways to heal a headache

Simple ways to heal a headache
Before you reach for the painkillers, try these natural fixes first

Do headaches plague you?

Headaches are a widespread form of pain and can be a nuisance. If you suffer from frequent headaches, you're probably more likely just to pop a Paracetamol to get rid of them fast.

Like acupressure and herbs, natural remedies have been used for hundreds of years to ease headaches. And, many are proven to help cure headaches quickly when you don't want to reach for the medicine cabinet.

So before you reach for the painkillers, try these natural fixes first. Some of them might even help to prevent headaches in the future.

Drink more water

Dehydration may lead you to develop a headache. Studies have demonstrated that chronic dehydration is a common cause of tension headaches and migraines. Thankfully, drinking water can relieve headaches in most dehydrated individuals within 30 minutes to three hours. To help avoid dehydration headaches, focus on drinking enough water throughout the day and eating water-rich foods.

Use your hands

Stress can cause tension headaches, which can be miserable for those of us who are already anxious or under pressure. You can find an excellent pressure point between your thumb and forefinger in the fleshy part. Use your opposite hand to make a pincer and press the area with your thumb for a minute. Repeat on the other hand.

Note: this area is often quite tender, so go a little more gentle if that's the case. Also, do not use this point if you are pregnant.

Breathe in lavender

We all know lavender can help you sleep, but research shows that lavender can also help treat headaches and migraines. One study published in the National Library of Medicine concluded that inhaling lavender essential oil may be a safe and effective way to relieve migraine pain. While another study published in the Journal of Herbal Medicine showed that after three months, participants using lavender purported a reduction in the severity and frequency of their migraines.

Peppermint essential oil is also beneficial when you have a headache. Applying peppermint essential oil to the temples has been shown to reduce the symptoms of tension headaches.

Reach for your toes

Suppose your pain is in your temples. Reflexology can help. The spot on your foot that can help treat pain in the temporal area of the head is located between the big toe and the second toe. It's on the inside of your big toe. Massage that point by using your thumb to press and rub this area. Start at the top of your big toe and work your way down. Repeat as many times as you like. If your pain is on the left side of your head, massage the right foot and vice versa.

Increase your magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral necessary for countless functions in the body, including blood sugar control and nerve transmission. Low magnesium levels can cause headaches and migraines, and they are much more common than you think. Studies show that almost 1 in 8 UK adults are deficient in this essential mineral. Research has also found that magnesium is temporarily reduced during a migraine or a headache, which can be problematic if you are short to begin with. Make sure you eat a varied diet, including plenty of whole grains, fatty fish, bananas, nuts, seeds and legumes. You could always add a supplement to your daily routine.

Drink ginger tea

Before you open the medicine cabinet, you might want to pop the kettle on. In its powder form, Ginger tea has been found to have the same effect as many over-the-counter migraine relief tablets. Ginger root contains many beneficial compounds, including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances.

What's more, ginger helps reduce nausea and vomiting, common symptoms associated with severe headaches. You can take ginger powder in capsule form or make a powerful tea with fresh ginger root. Cuppa anyone?

Increase your vitamin D

Did you know that frequent headaches could be a sign that you are vitamin D deficient? A study published in the National Library of Medicine found that people experiencing headaches - especially migraine sufferers - have lower vitamin D levels than healthy people. If this sound like it could be you, increase your time outside in daylight, even in winter, and find a good quality supplement.

Relax with Yoga

Practising yoga is an excellent way to relieve stress, increase flexibility, decrease pain and improve your overall quality of life.

Taking up yoga may even help reduce the intensity and frequency of your headaches. One study investigated the effects of yoga therapy on 60 people with chronic migraines. Headache frequency and intensity were reduced more in those receiving both yoga therapy and conventional care than those receiving conventional care alone.

Another study found that people who practised yoga for three months had a significant reduction in headache frequency, severity, and associated symptoms compared to those who did not.

Get your eyes tested

If your eyes are struggling with reading and laptop use, it could lead to headaches. Try covering one eye. It doesn't matter which. And see if your headache eases. It could be the problem caused by your eyes trying to work together if it does. If you haven't had an eye test for a while, it might be worth getting them checked, especially if the headaches increase with using the computer, driving or watching TV for prologued periods.

Massage your neck muscles

You have a thick muscle down the side of your neck called the sternocleidomastoid muscle or SCM. It's the major muscle that turns your head from side to side, and very often, I find this muscle gets quite tight in people who suffer from headaches. Find it by slowly turning your head (it will stand out). Gently massage it from behind your ear down to your collar bone. Then repeat on the other side.

Happiness is … realising your headache has gone!

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