Effective Natural Treatments for Headaches
Headaches are frankly awful, although before we reach for the painkillers, there are a number of effective natural solutions that we could consider trying.
Unfortunately, headaches are all too common, and we all suffer with them at some point. Luckily, the majority of headaches will eventually disappear on their own, and actually require very little medical intervention, and can normally be treated at home, using some great natural remedies. They can last anywhere between thirty minutes and several hours.
Although rare; headaches can be a sign of something more serious, so it is important to make an appointment with your doctor if your headaches reoccur.
More serious symptoms of headaches such as reoccurring headaches, headaches that don’t get better with painkillers and headaches that feel as if they move around the sides of your head mean you should contact your doctor.
Other serious symptoms that require medical attention include nausea, a cluster headache, sensitivity to light or sound and numbness in arms or legs. Pain in the jaw or scalp, and blurred vision also means you should seek medical attention.
Finally, you should go to A and E if your headache comes on very suddenly and is incredibly painful; if you have sudden problems with speaking, loss of vision, memory loss and confusion, or if you have a very high temperature, feel hot and shivery, or have a stiff neck or rash on your body.
If you believe though that you are just suffering from an all too common headache, there are a number of things that you can try at home, which will help to relieve the pain.
Ensure that you are properly hydrated:
More often than not, chronic dehydration is the cause of tension headaches and migraines. Research has shown though that drinking water will help to relieve headache symptoms in most individuals within just thirty minutes to three hours if the cause of it is dehydration.
Being dehydrated can also have other nasty side effects, such as impairing concentration, causing irritability, which will then make your symptoms even worse.
Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day, which will help keep the headaches at bay.
Magnesium helps to control the blood sugar, and is an essential mineral for the body. Research has suggested that being deficient in this mineral will actually cause headaches as well, so taking a supplement or eating foods that are packed full of magnesium can actually be a great remedy for headaches.
Studies have shown that taking 600mg of oral magnesium citrate every single day actually help to reduce both the frequency and the severity of migraine headaches in individuals.
It should be noted though that taking too much magnesium can have some really unpleasant side effects, such as diarrhoea in some people, so it is much better to start with a smaller dose.
Make sure that you are getting enough sleep:
Sleep deprivation is often a cause for headaches, as well as causing a whole host of detrimental health problems. Studies have shown that people who regularly had fewer than six hours of sleep at night had more frequent and more severe headaches, so it is important to ensure that you are getting enough.
That said, getting too much sleep can be just as bad as well and has often been shown to trigger headaches, so you should try and aim for the ‘sweet spot’ of between seven and nine hours of sleep a night.
Avoid foods that are high in histamine:
Histamine, a chemical that is found naturally in the body, is often found in certain foods, such as aged cheeses, fermented food, beer, wine, smoked fish and cured meats. Research has suggested that consuming too much of this can cause migraines in those who are particularly sensitive to histamine.
This is because some people are not able to excrete histamine properly, because they have impaired function of the enzymes that are responsible for breaking it down; so by cutting these from the diet of those who are sensitive to it, could help to reduce headaches.
Use a cold compress:
Never underestimate something as simple as a cold compress, which can be really great at helping to reduce your headache symptoms.
Try applying a cold or frozen compress to the head or neck area to help decrease the inflammation, slow the nerve conduction, and help to constrict the blood vessels, which will all help to reduce the pain of a headache.
You can simply fill a waterproof bag with some ice, wrap it in a soft towel, and then apply to the back of the neck, head or temples for relief.
Get some exercise:
Often, the last thing you want to do when you have a headache is get up and go for a run, but often, one of the simplest ways to get some relief from a headache is to engage in some physical activity.
Studies have suggested that completing 40 minutes of indoor cycling three times a week was more effective than relaxation techniques at reducing the headache frequency.
One of the easiest, and gentle ways to increase your activity level is to simply increase the amounts of steps that you take throughout the day.