How to get rid of a headache fast – natural remedies for headaches to try at home

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  • Natural remedies, like acupressure and herbs, have been used for hundreds of years to ease headaches.

    If you suffer with frequent headaches, you’re probably more likely to just pop a Paracetamol to get rid of them fast.

    There are some alternative, natural headache cures, though.  And, many are proven to help cure headaches quickly when you don’t want to reach for the medicine cabinet.

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that at least once in the last year, three in four of us have suffered with a headache. Of those, one in three have had a migraine. It’s a problem that affects people all around the world.

    But as common as headaches are and as easy as it is to get rid of a headache fast, it’s not always clear why exactly we have them. As well as common reasons like having a cold, not drinking enough water and stress, there are also more concerning reasons for headaches like sleeping problems, drinking too much alcohol and overuse of painkillers.

    Worried that you’re having more headaches than normal? Be sure to visit the doctor to check everything’s okay. In the meantime, opt for some natural headache cures and remedies…

    How to get rid of a headache fast using natural remedies…

    Menthol products

    Credit: Johnson’s

    Menthol is a synthetic scent made from mint and it’s now thought that it could help cure your headaches.

    One women’s Facebook post has gone viral after she uploaded a picture of a bottle of Johnson’s Baby Soothing Vapor Bath claiming the £3.41 product has been “life changing”. Alongside the picture Jill Hamilton wrote, ‘try this if you get headaches constantly like I do… it’s life changing!’

    Speaking to MailOnline, Professor Goadsby of the National Institute for Health Research said there could potentially be some truth in Jill’s claims, as menthol activates a receptor in our skin which can make us feel cooler and sooth pain. He said, “Whenever you put menthol on you head and you feel cool, that’s because you are activating this receptor.”

    Despite reports that it does ease headache symptoms, the reason behind why menthol seems beneficial hasn’t yet been cracked. Professor Goadsby continued, ‘There is a link – and evidence for the link – but the cause isn’t known.’

    Acupressure

    Massage your hand (or even better, get someone else to do it for you) in the fleshy bit in between your thumb and forefinger. It’s believed that you have an acupressure point here which is related to the head and relieving tension here will help your headache.

    Looking for something more effective? It might be worth trying out this trick which was tested by Elizabeth Hayes, from Indiana, USA. Hayes took to Facebook to share how using a plastic peg and clipping it between your thumb and index finger could help elevate pain caused by a migraine.

    The peg is known as Aculief and can be purchased on Amazon for anyone curious to test its healing powers for themselves.

    Elizabeth Hayes

    This chip clip saved my life tonight. I had a migraine start almost twelve hours ago and about an hour ago it was at an unbearable limit. I had exhausted all of my drugs and tricks I usually use to…

    Cool mist spray

    Dr Chris Etheridge, medical herbalist and advisor to www.uk.puressentiel.com says that there is limited evidence to prove cool mist sprays help relieve headaches. ‘From a trial in 28 patients it was shown that a cold intranasal spray may help a headache through a vasoconstrictor effect in the nose that reduce inflammatory mediators or through an impact on TRP receptors (as for menthol). However, larger clinical trials are needed.’

    Want to pick up some cool mist spray?

    Boots sell a range of cooling mist sprays. In fact, these are also said to be good for dealing with menopausal symptoms.

    Himalayan salt

    how to get rid of a headache fast

    Credit: Getty

    Well, it doesn’t even have to be specifically Himalayan actually, but there have been reports that these little grains of salt can cure a headache as if by magic.

    Dr  Etheridge says: ‘Anecdotally, some people find this works but the science is lacking. It involves the use of the juice of a lemon, hot water and two teaspoons of Himalayan (or similar quality) salt. However, the NHS recommends no more than 6g of salt daily in the diet and this treatment provides almost double that amount.’

    So, whilst it might have benefits, it could also cause some harm if done too regularly.

    Heat

    A great way to get rid of a headache fast, as headaches can be brought by tense muscles in your neck and head which are easily relieved with heat. Holding a hot water bottle (not containing boiling water, just hot water) or a hot compress against your forehead the back of your neck, can relax the muscles and ease the pain.

    Dr Etheridge adds: ‘Headaches can be brought on by tense muscles in the head and neck. A warm compress held against the forehead or back of the neck can ease tense muscles. Heat is not likely to be as effective for headache as cold.’

    Foot bath

    A hot foot bath will draw blood to your feet and relieve the pressure in your head. It will also help you relax. Relaxing always seems to be a way to help us feel better.

    In fact, Dr Etheridge explains that any method of relaxation may help headache relief.

    So as well as a foot bath, you could dry breathing techniques. Find a quiet spot. Then, sit comfortably, inhale for five slowly, then exhale for five, slowly. Repeat this five to 10 times.

    You could even try this gentle headache relief below…

    Head massage

    It’s not entirely surprising that if you’re looking for how to get rid of a headache fast, this option is one of the best. Even if there’s no one around to give you one, doing it yourself will still help.  If you’re helping someone else out, watch this video to learn more about how to give a head massage.

    Pharmacist Sultan Dajani from www.dragonflycbd.com says that a head massage can be an effective option to getting rid of a headache.

    ‘Concentrate on the temples and massage in a circular motion. You could try using Puressentiel Headache Roll-on for a combination of essential oils and head massage.’

    Sex

    Have a good old roll in the hay! It’s a great stress reliever and could take your mind off your headache for a while.

    However, Sultan explains that there is some evidence that sex can relieve migraines and cluster headaches.

    ‘A survey of 1000 people found that of the 34% who had sex during a migraine attack, 60% reported improvement and 30% worsening. Of the 31% who had sex during cluster headache, 37% experienced improvement, 50% worsening.’

    But it’s an experiment we are willing to try!

    Keen for a good night’s sleep after? These foods will help you drift off

    Elevate your legs

    Before you grab that packet of paracetamol, give this yoga position a go. Also known as the Inverted Lake, elevating your legs whilst lying on the floor, it encourages blood to flow around your body – in particular to the parts that really need it. Simply lie on your back on the floor with your bottom against a wall and stretch your legs upwards so you’re laying at a right angle. Breath deeply.

    As well as helping to cure headaches and migraines, it’s claimed the position can also help to relieve menstrual cramps, reduce swollen ankles and ease back pain amongst many other things. Free and easy, we recommend giving it a go!

    Daith piercing

    Who knew getting your ears pierced could actually have health benefits? Sultan explains: ‘A daith piercing is a piercing of the fold of cartilage that’s just above the entrance to your ear canal. The link between daith piercing and headache/migraine relief is acupuncture/acupressure and the idea is that a daith piercing activates a pressure point. Case studies have indicated a benefit but the technique needs properly testing.’

    So, although the unusual method is not yet scientifically proven, the Migraine Relief Center recognises there might be link between daith piercing and migraine relief as the piercing ‘mimics acupuncture by hitting a pressure point, which relieves the pressure in the patient’s head.’

    Foods to help get rid of a headache

    Ginger

    Credit: Getty

    Dr Tim Bond, natural health expert and chemist from www.teaadvisorypanel.com says that ginger is best known for benefits in indigestion and nausea. However, it also has anti-inflammatory effects due to the presence of a naturally occurring oil.

    ‘In a clinical trial, ginger extract combined with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory prescription drug reduced pain in migraine,’ he explains.

    Want to give it a go? Crush up about an inch of fresh ginger. Next, pour boiling water over it and drink it as a tea once it’s cooled a bit.

    Feverfew

    Feverfew looks much like a daisy. But it can also be bought as a supplement and is one of the well-known ways of how to get rid of a headache fast. 250mg every morning should keep headaches at bay.

    Dr Sultan adds that feverfew is a herb which has a long traditional use for headaches.

    ‘A clinical review suggested feverfew may be useful not only for classical migraine and cluster headaches, but also for premenstrual, menstrual, and other headaches. Feverfew contains parthenolide which may help migraine by reducing inflammation and antagonising serotonin (a substance that dilates blood vessels which may be linked with migraine) It can be bought as a supplement.’

    Rosemary

    It doesn’t just make your Sunday roast taste great! An infusion of rosemary (just a spoonful in a cup of hot water) is said to stop a headache getting worse.

    Dr Bond says: ‘Rosemary has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects and has been used traditionally for thousands of years as a pain reliever. It contains an essential oil and bioactives such as carnosic acid, carnosol, ursolic acid and betulinic acid, as well as rosmarinic acid, rosmanol and oleanolic acid which have pain killing activity.’

    Is it a migraine? Check out these migraine symptoms…

    Mouthguard

    OK, so it’s not ideal. But, tension in your jaw and grinding your teeth are often the reason why we get headaches.

    Dr Bond says: ‘A mouthguard will stop you grinding your teeth. It is a small plastic splint which fits over your upper or lower teeth. If you think you grind your teeth and this causes your headaches it might be worth chatting to your dentist who will need to measure and fit the splint.’

    Coffee

    how to get rid of a headache fast

    Credit: Getty

    It may not seem like a good idea, but having a strong coffee reduces swelling in the blood vessels and can ease headache pain. This won’t work for people who drink lots of caffeine, though. Too much caffeine can infact make headaches worse.

    Dr Bond also adds that Rooibos tea is a good replacement for those who want to avoid caffeine.

    ‘Some people choose to avoid caffeine if they suffer from headaches. Rooibos tea is naturally caffeine free and a pleasant refreshing alternative.’

    Plus it’s naturally sweet and tastes delicious!

    Cinnamon

    Some people believe that if you get a headache from being cold, a fine cinnamon paste spread on your forehead will make you feel better.

    Dr Bond says: ‘Cinnamon has been used traditionally to treat headache. Complementary practitioners recommend that you can make a paste with cinnamon powder and water and apply it to the temples (when the pain has started) or try cinnamon infusion (when the pain begins). Cinnamon contains cinnamic aldehydes which have an anti-inflammatory effect.’

    You can buy cinnamon tea, too, which makes a tasty alternative to regular tea. Or try sprinkling cinnamon over oats or cereal.

    Boost your mood with these tasty foods!

    Marjoram

    An infusion of marjoram leaves, drunk as a tea is one of the commonly used natural headache cures. The leaves have a slightly minty, lemony taste. If you don’t like it, you can also get your other half to give you a massage with marjoram oil.

    However, Sultan says: ‘Marjoram has been used traditionally for pain and headaches but evidence is insufficient to recommend its use for headache.’

    There are a number of surprise things that might be causing your headache. Read more here.

    Frozen Peas

    Credit: Getty

    This might sound like an odd cure for headaches, but Dr Bond reveals that lots of people swear by placing a bag of frozen peas at the base of the skull whilst submerging their hands and feel in a hot or warm water.

    He adds: ‘It is based on hydrotherapy treatment which aims to draw blood away from the head to the limbs.’

    Drawing blood away from the head and into the limbs consequently relieves congestion, throbbing and pain. The efficiency of the treatment increases the higher the contrast is between hot and cold, so keep the water as hot as you can stand, and the frozen peas or other cold alternative as cold as possible.

    Foods that can trigger headaches and migraines

    Whilst there are foods and natural herbs that can help cure a headache, there are some that make it worse.

    Dr Bond says: ‘Most of the food triggers associated with headaches and migraines come from people self-reporting not clinical trials.

    ‘Trigger foods include bananas, beans (brad and fava), chocolate, citrus fruits, cultured dairy (yogurt and kefir), nuts and nut butters, strawberries, cheese high in tyramine (Blue cheese, Brie, Cheddar, Feta, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Swiss), MSG (in soya sauce and used as a meat tenderiser), aspartame ( a sweetener), nitrates and nitrites (found in cured and processed meats), alcohol (wine, beer and spirits).’

    So if you sense a headache, put down the pinot and pick up a herbal tea!

    What pressure points get rid of a headache? 

    You might be quick to dismiss pressure points. But Sultan says there are some main ones to note when attempting to get rid of a headache.

    To work a pressure points, press each spot using either a knuckle or your thumb/index finger. Press gently, then slowly increase pressure. It shouldn’t hurt.

    Try the below…

    1. Between the web of the thumb and the index finger.
    2. The indentations on either side of the spot where the bridge of your nose meets the ridge of your eyebrows.
    3. The base of the skull in the parallel hollow areas between the two vertical neck muscles.
    4. Between your two eyebrows where the bridge of your nose meets your forehead (the third eye).
    5. At the edge of your shoulder, halfway between your shoulder point and the base of your neck.