Having a throbbing headache can be debilitating – you don’t feel like doing anything, and it feels like nothing is working to take the pain away.
But did you know what could be causing your headache?
There are many different types of headache with many different causes. Stress, dental or jaw problems, injuries to the neck, eye strain, muscular tension, high blood pressure, some medications, hormonal problems and disorders of the nose, ear or throat can all cause headaches.
It’s one of the most common health issues in Australia, with around 15 per cent of us taking pain-relieving medication for a headache at any time.
Here’s our easy tips to keeping headache-free. What other advice can you add?
When you take over-the-counter pain killers all you’re doing is smothering your symptoms and ignoring the real issue of what triggers the headache. Natural remedies for headaches may take a bit more thought than simply popping a pill, but don’t brush them off. They won’t wreak havoc on your body like other over-the-counter or prescription pain-killers do, and you’re less likely to become so dependent on them that you need them for every little ache.
Having something spicy may not sound helpful for your headache but cayenne is excellent at treating pain and inflammation. The secret is an ingredient called capsaicin, which inhibits pain receptors.
Put 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder in a glass of warm water and dip in cotton swabs. Apply to your temples whilst lying down and leave on for 20 minutes. You can also apply the moist swab gently to the inside of each nostril until you can feel the heat. It may be a bit unpleasant at first but the burning means it’s working.
Cloves can be used to ease tension headaches as it has a cooling and pain-relieving properties. Crush a few cloves and put them in a sachet or a clean handkerchief. Inhale the smell of the crushed cloves whenever you have a headache until you get some relief from the pain.
3. Apple cider vinegar compress
Apple cider vinegar has a multitude of health applications but is particularly useful when it comes to treating headaches. Pour 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar into a large bowl, and then fill the bowl halfway with boiling water. Place a towel over your head so that it drapes over the bowl, trapping the steam, and hold your face over it. Do this for 5-10 minutes.
Gingerroot, a natural alternative, is thought to inhibit inflammation, as well as nausea caused by a migraine. Simply sip a hot cup of gingerroot tea and relax while you wait for your headache to ease up.
5. Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil has a wonderful soothing effect when you’re suffering from a headache, easing the discomfort and clearing your mind. Massage the peppermint oil onto your temples, the back of your jaw, and forehead. You will feel a cooling sensation, and all you need to do is breathe deeply and drink cool water.
This is an obvious one but as caffeine is a diuretic, it rids your body of water – a big cause of headaches. Cut down your consumption of caffeine to see headaches subside.
7. Use a pencil
Hold a pencil between your teeth to help ease a tension headache. The physical action of holding the pencil between your teeth activates your “smile” muscles, relaxing your jaw – but make sure not to bite down. Make sure your jaw is relaxed and the pencil is held lightly between your teeth.
As soon as your head starts to hurt, drink a large glass of water, and then sip throughout the day. Gradually the pain will start to ease up. This is one of the first solutions you should try if you have a headache, as a large portion are caused by dehydration.
9. Lavender oil
Not only does lavender smell great — it’s also a useful home remedy for headaches and migraines and can either be inhaled or applied to the temples.