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April 13, 2018

8 Tips on How to Get Rid of a Headache without Medicine

At some point in your life, you’ve probably experienced a headache. In fact, millions of people around the world report that they experience a debilitating or severe headache at least once every 3 months. Headaches can affect your job, personal, and social life, but taking medications isn’t always the best option.

Medicine can have strong side effects in the long-run, but how do you treat pain without it? Below you will find a list of tips and tricks for when you need to know how to get rid of a headache without medicine.

1. Drink Lots of Water

how to get rid of a headache without medicine by drinking water

Dehydration is one of the leading causes of headaches, and drinking water is one of the easiest things you can do when you’re wondering how to get rid of a headache without medicine. Dehydration is linked to migraines, tension headaches, irritability, and concentration-impairment. Drinking enough water throughout the day ensures your headaches stay away.

How it works: Drinking water can relieve headaches in dehydrated people within 30 minutes to 3 hours. Also, ensuring you get the proper amount of water each day helps prevent headaches in the future. Adult women should drink around 91-ounces each day and men should drink around 125-ounces.

2. Get Enough Sleep

woman sleeping

You’ve probably heard that lack-of-sleep can be harmful to your health in more ways than one. But did you know that not getting the proper amount of sleep can increase the frequency and severity of headaches? Studies have shown that if you don’t get enough sleep or are not taking rests, headaches can return more often.

How it works: Getting enough sleep can be hard, but most adults should receive between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you’re wondering how to get rid of a headache without medicine, try going to bed early or taking a nap to alleviate pain.

3. Use Essential Oils

lavender essential oil on table with flower

Essential oils have been used for centuries for their nutritional and medicinal properties. These oils are highly-concentrated liquids that can come from a variety of plants, with therapeutic benefits. They can be used for pain relief, relaxation, skin irritations, and more. Essential oils are among the most commonly-used methods for people wanting to know how to get rid of a headache without medicine.

 

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How it works: Not all essential oils are created equal and some are better-designed to relieve headaches than others. Lavender and peppermint for example contain properties that can reduce tension headaches, migraines, and mild discomfort. You can use these oils by applying them directly to your temples or inhaled through a diffuser.

4. Apply Heat/Cold

cold compress for headache

Heat and cold have been used almost since the beginning of time as a way to treat pain. Cold can decrease inflammation, constrict blood vessels, and slow nerve conduction. Heat on the other hand, expands blood vessels, improves circulation, and alleviates pain. Using hot or cold temperatures is an excellent and inexpensive way to alleviate any kind of headache.

How it works: You can use cold to alleviate a migraine or pulsating headache. You can make a cold compress or use an ice pack for 5-10 minutes at a time, applied directly to your temples or back of the neck. You can use heat to alleviate tightness or tension headaches. Try using a heating pad, warm washcloth, or relax in a hot bath.

5. Eat Something

man easting lunch

One of the first things you should consider when you’re wondering how to get rid of a headache without medicine is your diet. Headaches are common when blood sugar drops, after you haven’t eaten in a while. This is because your brain requires the most energy to function. Headaches can also be caused by someone’s specific reaction to certain foods.

How it works: Be sure to eat a well-balanced diet, which includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner to help avoid getting headaches. If you begin to feel a headache, when was the last time you ate something? Try eating a light, healthy snack with a glass of water.

6. Put on Sunglasses

woman wearing sunglasses

Too much light from a computer screen or the sun can cause headaches and increase pain of already-existing headaches. If you have experienced migraines, you have probably noticed that you are ultra-sensitive to light. That is because your brain’s receptors are essentially “on the fritz” during a headache, which heightens responses to certain senses.

 

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How it works: If you feel a headache coming on, throw on a pair of sunglasses. The tint can filter bright-light and stop a headache right in its tracks. If you have a severe headache or migraine, closing curtains, putting on sunglasses, and turning off lights can help take some pain away.

7. Stretch or Massage

woman stretching

There are a wide variety of stretches you can do, as well as massages that can help release tension, reduce body-stress, and relieve pain when you need to know how to get rid of a headache without medicine. Certain areas of the body create reactions in the body that can release pain-relieving hormones, reduce tension in muscles, and relieve pressure.

How it works: You can try massaging your temples and the area surrounding your eyes to relieve pain. Stretching your neck by slowly leaning your neck to each side and front-to-back can alleviate tension that contributes to headaches. Studies have shown that massaging the feet has a great effect on headaches, as well as receiving neck, shoulder, and back massages.

8. Try Yoga or Relaxation Exercises

woman in yoga pose

Studies have shown that yoga and relaxation exercises can boost relaxation and help balance out your mind, body, and spirit. Creating a less-stressful environment can help you avoid future headaches and get rid of stress-caused headaches in the first place. Learning how to properly relax can also help you sleep better.

How it works: You can easily try yoga from the comfort of your own home or by joining a class. If yoga isn’t your thing, you can try relaxation exercises at home that help calm and focus your breathing, to help contract and relax the muscles in your body. You can try “breathing deeply, relaxing to music, or using mental imagery“.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to headaches, they can be frustrating, but there is always hope. This list can help you not only prevent headaches, but back to feeling like yourself when you need to know how to get rid of a headache without medicine.

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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