Headaches can be very diverse. But whether healthy, subliminal, throbbing, stabbing, or dull, the pain always restricts everyday life and well-being.
Concentration decreases, and everything becomes complicated. Painkillers bring quick relief, but they should not be taken too often. Fortunately, several natural home remedies effectively help with headaches and do not burden the body as much as the tablets.
Grandma or mother always had a tip ready. But which headache home remedies help? What helps with children, and which treatments are allowed in pregnancy? We have summarized the best-proven home remedies for headaches in this guide for you.
Causes, Types & Treatment
Headaches are incredibly varied both in their nature and in the possible causes. For example, they can be stabbing, pressing, or throbbing, occur on the left or right side, and be acute or chronic. Depending on the trigger and frequency, other treatments and home remedies may be considered. While professional treatment is necessary for some situations, simple home remedies can help against headaches in others.
Medicine vs. Grandma’s Home Remedies
Pain pills or grandma’s old tips & tricks?
Many people reach directly for headache pills in the hope of quick help. However, these can bring several side effects; often, they even worsen the symptom. This is because they merely suppress the pain, allowing us to override the body’s important warning signal. However, the pain in our heads often signals to us that we desperately need rest. It is not uncommon for the pain to be so severe that even lying down is unbearable without pills.
Stunned by the tablets, however, we ignore the needed time out and struggle through everyday life. Unfortunately, our stressful meritocracy is often impossible to allow ourselves some relaxation and the required breaks. However, there are various home remedies for headaches that can help naturally.
Whether grandma’s old tips and tricks, herbal remedies, or alternative medical procedures – for conventional headaches, it is mostly recommended to prefer natural remedies over chemical ones. Herbal home remedies and time-honored tricks, in contrast to pills, bring little to no side effects with them.
On the other hand, the chemical drugs put a lot of strain on our digestive organs, especially on the liver. If they are used too frequently, they can even lead to severe secondary diseases. Also, the body becomes accustomed to pain suppression so that more and more and more potent means are needed. Therefore, first, try to relieve the pain with natural methods and herbal remedies. Below you will find all the tips, tricks, and home remedies that can help.
Home Remedies for Headaches
Headache sufferers want to get rid of their discomfort as soon as possible. Especially for mild to moderate pain, home remedies and mom’s old tricks can be very useful. So you can treat the headache without pills. However, not every treatment always helps everyone. Depending on the type and cause, one home remedy may be beneficial for one person and have absolutely no effect on another. Therefore, try a few home remedies until you find the one that is most helpful for you.
Drink, Drink, Drink!
Often the cause of the headache is that the sufferer does not drink enough. In this case, it is advisable to increase the amount you drink quickly. This not only relieves the pain but also contributes to general health.
Cause: Those who drink too little ensure that the blood becomes thicker. Thus, the brain does not receive enough oxygen. However, our brain consists of about 70% water. If there is only a 2% loss of fluid, we already suffer from concentration problems. If the loss is even higher, headaches occur.
It is best to drink still water or unsweetened teas. Juices and smoothies can also be useful. However, the body needs a lot of water to digest sugar. Therefore, if a lack of fluids is the cause, still water and herbal teas are more recommended. However, headaches can also result from a lack of vitamins. In this case, a supply of nutrients, for example, using a smoothie, is more helpful.
Heat as a Home Remedy
Depending on the type of headache, either heat or cold may be more helpful. Heat is an excellent option to treat tension headaches. First and foremost, a warm bath will help. However, a simple shower is less efficient. The heat can help treat the tension and, therefore, the pain. Initially, the water temperature should be 34 degrees. Subsequently, the temperature should be increased up to 43 degrees. The bathing period should be between 10 and 15 minutes.
Warm and moist compresses can also be used. These are placed on the shoulders and neck. Here, too, the heat can have a soothing effect. Alternatively, those who do not have compresses can use a hot water bottle to provide the body with the necessary heat.
Treating Pain With Cold
However, heat is not always helpful. In some cases, cold is preferred. In this case, one can resort to cold compresses, for example. Cold foot and warm baths can also be successful. This is because the cold stimulates blood circulation and relieves pain. The beneficial effect is then quickly noticeable. For example, placing a damp cloth on your forehead can bring quick relief.
However, it is not advisable to place an ice pack or ice cubes directly on the scalp. This is because doing so may cause a cold burn or else the so-called cold headache. If you use ice, you should always wrap it in a towel beforehand. If you don’t have any ice cubes or cooling pads at hand, a pack of frozen vegetables or similar can also help in a pinch.
Lemon Juice & Coffee
Another popular home remedy for headaches is coffee. In this, you can add a squeeze of lemon to enhance the effect further. This is because caffeine leads to the inhibition of certain hormones called prostaglandins responsible for pain, among other things.
Drinking coffee also causes blood vessels to contract. Thus, blood circulation is influenced in the short term, which also benefits the brain. Lemon, on the other hand, supports the entire immune system. Therefore, this home remedy is also very suitable for headaches during colds. However, vitamin C also helps to transport the caffeine towards the brain and, thus, increases the positive effect.
A cup of espresso or filter coffee with a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice is best. Of course, if you dislike the taste, you can take the two ingredients one after the other.
Relieve Pain With Peppermint Oil
Another trendy and helpful home remedy for headaches is peppermint oil. Studies suggest that the ten percent peppermint oil has a comparable effect to, say, a gram of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) or a tablet of acetaminophen. You can purchase such a 10% peppermint solution over-the-counter at a pharmacy.
Peppermint oil can be beneficial, especially for tension headaches. Namely, the levomenthol in the oil has a strong cooling effect, which blocks pain transmission. It also increases blood flow from the blood vessels of the scalp by up to 255%. Doctors suggest that increased blood flow can also relieve headaches.
To benefit from the beneficial effects of peppermint oil, you can massage your temples with a few oil drops. However, make sure that nothing gets into your eyes and wash your hands after the treatment. Otherwise, irritation may occur. You can also massage your forehead and even your scalp with the oil if necessary. However, the eye area should be generously left out.
Tip: Peppermint oil is a natural alternative to chemical tablets such as paracetamol or ASS. The positive effect can be seen after only a quarter of an hour.
Vanilla Against Headache
Another beneficial method to treat the headache without tablets is vanilla extract. If you also want to treat your children with this headache home remedy, you should use alcohol-free vanilla extract. Vanilla has been used since ancient times to treat headaches of all types and intensity. Namely, the section contains the essential oil eugenol, which has an analgesic effect. And the best thing is: it also tastes lovely!
To treat the headache with vanilla, a bourbon vanilla extract from organic cultivation is recommended. On the other hand, the well-known vanilla sugar has only a little aroma and, accordingly, is not helpful. For the application, half a teaspoon of vanilla extract is enough. You can simply add this to a glass of water or even add it to your cereal.
However, keep in mind that vanilla is more likely to help in the long run. While it can also be used for acute headaches, it takes about one to two hours to take effect. In return, vanilla can also help very well against chronic headaches and migraines.
Wrap Against the Aching Head
Wraps are trendy for pain and can, for example, filled with curd, onions, or even horseradish, which best help against headaches. They can be placed either on the neck or forehead but also wrapped around the head. Against the headache, depending on the circumstances, both cold and warm wraps come into question.
Mustard flour, for example, has proven to be very effective against pain. Pour hot water over 3 to 4 tablespoons of mustard flour and stir well. Then apply the mixture to a cotton cloth or a gauze bandage and place it on your neck or forehead. Finally, cover the whole thing with a second cloth. After about half an hour, you can remove the compress.
It can often also help simply soak a cloth in cold water and place it on the head’s painful part. The cold promotes blood circulation and also reduces the perception of pain. For cold compresses, you can simply use cold water or even cucumber slices and cottage cheese. Also helpful is a cloth soaked in vinegar. Depending on which area your head hurts the most, you can place the vinegar cloth on your forehead and neck or wrap it around your head.
In other cases, again, heat may help better. This can be the case, for example, with a tense neck. With the help of a warm, moist neck wrap, the tight muscles are loosened, and the blood supply is improved. You can simply use warm water or boiled potatoes for this purpose. Alternatively, warmed grain pillows, cherry pillows, or a hot water bottle are also very suitable.
Quick Help for Headaches
What home remedies for headaches help immediately?
Headaches can vary in intensity and often prevent us from any activity. Quick help is needed. Below you will find home remedies and tricks that can help incredibly quickly against headaches. Again, depending on the cause and circumstances, a different remedy may be more effective.
Fresh air & time out can quickly relieve headaches
Who suffers from tension headaches can additionally go to the fresh air. However, it is not yet clear whether the higher oxygen level is responsible for the discomfort subsiding. The short time out may also be a reason for the headache to subside.
However, insufficient oxygen supply is a possible trigger for headaches. So if you often spend time in poorly ventilated rooms, frequent airing may give you quick relief.
Restorative massages help quickly.
Massages can be very therapeutic for some sufferers. Tense muscles can also lead to headaches. Massages loosen them up, and the pain subsides. This should not be limited to a massage on the temples. Tension in the shoulders and neck can also lead to headaches. Therefore, a massage is also recommended here.
But an acupuncture massage between the index finger and thumb can also provide quick relief.
Darkening rooms can help quickly.
Brightness often makes headaches worse. Especially with migraines, light is a real enemy. In this case, it helps to darken the room you are in. Also, a short nap can not hurt to get rid of the headache.
Alternate temperatures for the neck
However, those who would like to avoid treatment with medication or do not tolerate it well can try running alternating cold and warm water down the neck. Here, too, relief can be a pleasant result.
Painkillers & Medication
If the home remedies already mentioned can’t help, you’ll have to reach into the medicine cabinet willy-nilly. Paracetamol and ibuprofen are trendy remedies to relieve pain. However, other medications can also be chosen. Here, only the active ingredient acetylsalicylic acid is relevant.
Also, the specified dosage should be observed to achieve an optimal effect. If you only take half a tablet initially, you run the risk that it will not develop its full impact at first. Often one reaches for another pill, which can then lead to a sometimes hazardous overdose. Therefore, medications should always be taken with caution.
For migraine & chronic pain
To treat chronic headaches, such as a migraine, drug treatment is suitable over a more extended period. Here, a doctor should be consulted in advance, as there are certain medications for specific clinical pictures. Also, not every patient tolerates every medication.
Headache With Cold
Those who suffer from headaches due to cold should first and foremost get some rest. This will allow the body to use its resources and energy in the best possible way to fight the hostile pathogens. A perfect home remedy for headaches with a cold is also the cold bath. But also, herbal teas, essential oils, and compresses are very effective. But also, alternative methods such as a pressure massage between thumb and index finger can achieve a good effect.
Headaches in Children
If your own children suffer from headaches, you should not take a personal hand. An examination by a family doctor is advisable. Often headaches in children are due to stress and overwork. Medicinal treatments would be out of place here.
Treatment with essential oils is also not advised, as there is a risk of choking & respiratory distress, especially in children under six years of age. The causes of the headaches should somewhat be clarified to be able to relieve the children permanently.
Overall, children should not experiment with medications or home remedies. However, some gentle home remedies can help against headaches in children. These include:
- Rest and sleep
- Gentle massages to the neck, temples, and crown of the head.
- Ensuring adequate fluid intake
- Taking walks in the fresh air
- Avoiding screens (TV, PC, smartphone & Co.)
- Alcohol-free vanilla extract
Headaches During Pregnancy
Pregnant women have to go through so much. They are not only plagued by nausea and vomiting; headaches are also common during pregnancy. Again, not every drug is allowed during pregnancy. But there is good news: usually, the constant headaches disappear from the twelfth week of pregnancy.
In principle, it is also possible during pregnancy to take a painkiller now and then. However, this should be done conditionally and above all after consultation with the gynecologist.
Permitted home remedies
What are home remedies for headaches allowed during pregnancy?
If possible, expectant mothers should first try to use gentle home remedies for headaches. Legal home remedies during pregnancy include, for example, compresses or poultices. For instance, damp and cold cloth on the forehead can be beneficial.
On the other hand, you should refrain from using essential oils or only use them in very diluted form. These can pass through the placenta into the baby’s bloodstream. For example, if you want to use mint oil against headaches during pregnancy, you should use a maximum of two drops of it and dilute it with a tablespoon of carrier oil (e.g., sunflower oil). You can then use it to massage your temples or even the back of your neck or forehead.
Prevention for pregnant women
- The following tips also help prevent headaches during pregnancy:
- Drink enough! (At least two to three liters)
- Get enough sleep (at least 6 to 8 hours)
- Regular walks in the fresh air
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet that is suitable for pregnancy.
- Avoid stress
Prevent migraines & headaches
You should pay attention to this!
Especially people who frequently suffer from headaches or even migraines can try to prevent them. For some, the pain is due to stress; for others, an allergy or intolerance may be behind it. Therefore, it is first and foremost essential to identify the possible cause.
Do without and prevent
If you do without the following, you can prevent the headaches.
Often, however, the culprits are more inconspicuous than one might think. For example, even perfume can cause you to suffer from headaches regularly. People who frequently suffer from headaches or migraines should therefore avoid intense odors.
But also, the permanent chewing of gum can lead to this symptom. This is because jaw and cheek muscles can become tense. This, in turn, affects the vessels and nerves in the head and, according to a study, can cause headaches.
Furthermore, insufficient oxygen supply can trigger headaches. Therefore, refrain from smoking and air the standard rooms regularly. However, tobacco consumption can also lead to constriction of the blood vessels, with headaches still being the most harmless side effect.
Tight hairstyles represent another reason. For example, a tight ponytail can strain the scalp and lead to headaches. Therefore, change your hairstyle more often and, if necessary, massage your scalp to relax it.
Also, pay attention to your posture. Sitting slouched in front of a computer screen, for example, often causes tension, which in turn triggers headaches. Therefore, always try to maintain a healthy posture and exercise regularly.
Whether it’s yourself or someone in your circle of friends, everyone probably knows a person who gets in a bad mood when they feel hungry. However, the feeling of hunger can not only affect our mood but also lead to headaches. This occurs significantly when blood sugar drops rapidly. An excellent way to counteract this is to eat fruits.
Possible causes you may not have thought of are:
- Perfumes and fragrances
- Constant chewing of gum
- Low oxygen intake
- Too tight ponytail
- Poor posture
- Being hungry